Compost Series – Part III – You have compost, now what?

You now know the basics, you have your system and you are making your wonderful compost. What are you going to do with it? The answer to that depends on your needs and your personal situation, but I will provide  you with a few ideas of common uses.

If  you have a garden, add your compost to the garden as a soil amendment. You shouldn’t be adding very many weed seeds since your compost process should have cooked them out. You will be adding a material that will help retain water for your garden plants. It will also have plenty of nutrients that will help your garden grow and be healthy. A word of warning though, make sure that your compost is completed before adding to your garden. If you don’t, the bacteria in the composting process may be competing with your plants for food and actually harm their growth rather than help it.

If you have a lawn and want it to look green an lush, you can simply rake your compost in to the ground and it will provide the same benefits to your lawn as it would for a garden. If you want to provide an even better method to apply it, you can rent / borrow / buy a tool that will pull plugs from the ground. Then you place your compost over the lawn and let it work its way down into the holes naturally. This will provide aeration for the grass and let the compost work at a deeper level.

You can also do the same concepts above with your pastures and not have to worry about the parasites since you killed them in your hot composting! Ideally you would pull plugs in your pastures and spread your compost over them when there are no animals on the field for a few days. How are you going to spread all this compost your beautiful alpacas are making over your vast pastures? Again, if you live in Clark County, Washington, you can borrow – for free (!) a compost / manure spreader from the Clark Conservation District (Check it out).

If you have been at almost any hardware or grocery store, you have seen the bags of compost there for sale. While you probably won’t make enough to sell in those venues, you can sell it or simply give it away if you are in a generous mood, to your friends, neighbors or a few gardeners.

Compost is a great fertilizer and should be applied in the Spring or Fall months when the plants are most able to use the nutrients it is going to provide. If you apply compost, you shouldn’t need as much or any commercial fertilizer to make your plants grow, however a soil sample sent to a lab is your best bet if there is ever a doubt about the ideal conditions for your particular situation.

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