Using Compost in the Garden

Once raw composting materials have decayed into a dark, rich substance that looks and smells like humusy soil, you’re ready to start using the compost. But where and how? There are many ways to use this valuable material. A basic understanding of how compost benefits a home landscape will help you make effective use of your compost supply. Compost is an outstanding source of organic matter that can be dug into the soil to improve structure, aeration, water retention, drainage, nutrient quality, and other soil properties. A soil regularly amended with compost is easy to work, and—as home gardeners who regularly use compost can attest—it fosters healthy, vigorous plants. In addition to being dug in, compost can be spread on the soil surface to act as a mulch.

Most home composters don’t produce enough of this wonderful substance to use it everywhere they want to. Therefore, prioritizing its use is important.