Building healthy soils is the single best investment a gardener can make. Adding organic matter helps soils drain in heavy rain and retain water during drought. Plants grown in soil rich in organic matter absorb nutrients more easily and benefit from the living microbes that inhabit the soil environment. Unlike chemical fertilizers that act more like a fast-food meal, compost delivers its nutrients gradually, with little chance of “burning” plants. Always water well after applying compost to provide the moisture microbes require to work their magic.
Blend 1 part compost to 4 parts potting soil.
Evenly apply a 4-6 inch layer of compost over the surface of the new bed. Work compost into soil by hand or with a tiller to a depth of 6-8 inches. Beds can be planted immediately. You may add more to very heavy clay or sandy soil.
Gently work a 2-4 inch layer of compost into the soil, using care to avoid disturbing perennial plants roots.
Evenly apply a 1-3 inch layer of compost over garden beds to suppress weed growth and conserve water.
Blend 1 part compost with 3 parts native soil from the planting hole. Place plant in hole and apply amended soil around the spread roots, tamping soil to remove air pockets and assure firm footing (water can be added to help firm).
Evenly apply a 1-3 inch layer of compost around trees and shrubs, from trunk to drip-line, leaving a 2-4 inch gap around the base of trunks.
Evenly apply a ½ inch layer of compost over existing lawn as a top-dressing and rake in loosely. Repair bare spots by lightly raking compost into soil. Reseed, and water regularly until new grass is established.
Evenly apply a 1-2 inch layer of compost (3-6 cubic yards per 1000 sq ft). Work compost into soil to a depth of 5-7 inches, blending until mixture is uniform. Plant seed and water regularly until well-established.
For example, you’d need one cubic yard to cover an 8×20 ft. garden bed (160 sq. ft.) with 2 inches of compost: 160 sq. ft. x 2” x .0031 = .992 cubic yard of compost (about 1 cubic yard)