Compost

THE BASICS OF COMPOST

Compost promotes healthy microbe growth within the soil itself. It feeds the soil food web and increases the health of the natural soil. Over time, this creates a more nutrient rich soil that is beneficial for the grass that you place in it. This is because compost is actually made up of microscopic fungi and bacteria. Other organisms like crickets and earthworms are also present in compost, which further benefits the soil. The end result is soil that allows the plants and vegetables to feed themselves.

Composting also helps the soil retain much needed moisture, and research has also shown that composting can also assist in enhancing the disease resistance of some plants. This can reduce the amount of grass that you lose to disease, which often leads to wasted expenses.

APPLICATION

To a Current Lawn - Spread it around in piles on the lawn with a wheelbarrow. Sling it from the piles onto the grass with a shovel. Then use a push broom to sweep it off the grass blades and down into the turf. Water it in to activate the compost microbes and wash them onto your soil. Apply compost to grass at a rate of no more than 1 cubic yard per 1,000 square feet. This results in a thin layer about 1/3 inch deep when spread out uniformly.

To a New Lawn - Plans for a new lawn should specify that compost be mixed with the top 4 inches of top soil, half-and-half, when the land is renovated for grass seed or sod planting. This insures that the microbes will be in the root zone as the grass seed germinates.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is there such thing as too much compost?

It is possible and happens to people who get bad advice about applying compost and manure. Unfortunately, you can easily smother many grasses by putting too much compost on. That is why the recommended rate is 1 cubic yard of compost for every 1,000 square feet. This will result in application of 1/3 inch of compost if spread out uniformly – a very thin layer. The overuse of compost on turf is one of the main reasons people get discouraged by an organic program.

Does compost carry disease?

No. Aerobic composting with a good heat cycle kills off the disease causing microbes in the compost. If compost smells sour, rotten, rancid, or bad in any way, it is not finished cooking. Fluff it up to let more air in and let it sit for another few weeks. Read more about disease suppression at www.soilfoodweb.com.

Does organic compost smell bad?

As long as they are properly maintained, compost piles never smell bad.