Using Compost

Above set of photos shows how compost as part of an essential cycle of living soils and nutrient rich foods grown on those soils.

Compost can be used in multiple ways to provide optimal health and resilience to your plants. Using compost increases soil organic matter, adds mineral content, improves soil structure and porosity, and increases drought resilience of plants.

 

TOP DRESSING:   For a lawn, pasture or cover cropped field, top dressing in the most efficient application.  Just as it sounds, you simply spread the compost on top of the existing grasses, etc. For effective top dressing, your finished compost should be screened to particle sizes of 3/8-inch or less, free from weed seeds, spread when grasses are actively growing, and the layer of compost about ½ inch thick. If you do core aeration of your lawn, spreading afterward is recommended. Water well upon application and watch your plants plump up!
SOIL AMENDMENT:   Spring or fall, pre-planting or post harvest, amend your existing ‘soil’ to 50-70% compost. (This is the recommendation for NM, where sand/clay is the prevalent soil. In an area of richer natural soil like the Midwest, a lower percentage may be recommended.) Add 4-6 inches of compost on top before tilling, and then add another layer, again, on top to create rows and furrows for a traditional rowed field.
MULCH:   Use as a beautiful mulch, 2-6 inches deep. This stops weeds, saves water and nourishes your plants gradually with each rain or watering. Over time, the compost will work its way in and improve soil structure and health without any heavy turning or tilling. Deep mulching with compost is optimal for home gardeners, as well as no-till farmers.
IN CONTAINERS:   Healthy, living compost is the main ingredient in potting soil blends. Reunity Resources has a custom blend (as a mix for planting containers) available for sale.
For DIYers, a standard recipe for homemade potting mix is: 2 parts compost, 1 part ‘fluff’ to lighten the mix for additional porosity (we recommend something renewable/sustainable such as coconut coir, rather than peat moss from endangered bogs) and 1 part ‘chunks’ to increase drainage required by container gardening, such as pumice, perlite or sifted sand/gravel.
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