3 Things to Do with Finished Compost

Transform scraps into soil-enriching fertilizer for your garden

One of the easiest ways to go green is to start a compost pile. All you have to do is throw your coffee grounds, leftover food, grass clippings, eggshells and other biodegradable matter into a compost pile or bin -- instead of the trash. Pretty simple, right? Once heat and worms work on this pile of nature’s goodness, it will turn into a nutrient-rich “soil” that you can use to feed different areas of your home landscape. Here are three things to do with your finished compost pile.

Use compost fertilizer as a lawn additive

According to Hillary A. Rinaldi, a landscape industry professional for over 20 years and a certified organic grower, you should add compost to your lawn two to three times a year as fertilizer. Just water your lawn after spreading the compost, and skip mowing it for a week afterward. Other benefits of using finished compost on your lawn as opposed to chemical fertilizers, according Rinaldi, are that it won’t burn your grass if you accidentally use more than is recommended, it won’t affect the color of your brick walls or walkways and it works quickly without harming the environment.

Use finished compost as a flower bed base

Barbara Martin, a professional gardener and member of the Garden Writers Association, recommends using six inches of finished garden compost for your flower bed. She says to just spread it out where you want your flower bed, and then plant your bulbs right into the finished compost. If you don’t have six inches of your own compost ready to go in time for planning season, you can also mix store-bought compost with the homemade stuff.

Use compost to plant a garden

Donald E. Janssen, a horticultural agent from the University of Nebraska, says that homemade compost fertilizer improves the structure of soil by keeping soil loose and improving drainage, thus creating the ideal environment for a garden filled with fruits and vegetables. Janssen also notes that in addition to improving soil structure, using your homemade compost fertilizer allows the nutrients in the soil to release slowly, giving the plants in your garden the optimum conditions for absorbing as much goodness as they can from the soil.

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