The 68th UN General Assembly has declared 2015 as the ‘International Year of the Soil’ for good reason. Soil has many functions such as providing structure for plants to root and grow, holding moisture and nutrients and providing oxygen to the roots of plants. Depleting our soil can have devastating effects on our food supply and eco-system. So join us, as we celebrate and educate our clients on one of our favorite topics: SOIL!
Soil compaction can prevent root growth, plant growth and eventually kill all manner of living things. The good bugs will leave and the bad will invade your space leaving you with weeds and dead soil. To reverse this curse, add what it needs to cultivate and infuse it. Compost is organic matter decomposed into humus after a period of time. Ingredients include carbon (brown and dry-leaves and sticks), nitrogen (green or colorful fruits and vegetables + wet), oxygen for the decomposition and proper amounts of water. All these components allow the beneficial bacteria to heat up the pile and ultimately breaking down the matter. A good carbon:nitrogen mix is 30 to 1. Rich with nutrients, it makes sense to add it to the garden or landscape areas, which is why many gardeners refer to it as “black gold”. It conditions the earth, adding nutrients and lift to the soil so oxygen and water can flow.
Compost can be bought in bulk, which is most cost effective. Ask the supplier how much compost is in the mix and what it is made from (yard and leaf waste or mushrooms.) Leaf mold compost is the best and what you want for your lawn and garden uses. Also make sure it is 98% weed free and if it is screened. The soil pH should be as close to 7.0 pH (neutral) as possible however some plants may like it more acidic than others so check with your extension agent to be sure.
As a general rule, add compost into your garden beds each planting season. Depending on the type of soil you have and its fertility will determine how much you need. On average, a depth of 1-3 inches can be sufficient on garden beds and ¼-1/2 on the lawn. When applying to the lawn, be sure and rake evenly, not smothering or leaving large lumps. The nutrients from the compost will continue to nourish the lawn all season long as it breaks down and penetrates with each rainfall. Adding to the garden beds, mulch on top of the compost will hold the moisture in and keep the compost from eroding away.
Is it time to add some compost to your garden beds? Give your favorite landscaper a call to apply when they are mulching this season!