Boost your garden with compost

Plants and soil are inter-dependent existing in a beautifully mutualistic relationship where one flourishing community provides for and is reliant on another equally flourishing community.  When systems are functioning well in both communities, prosperity is created.

Applying compost to your flower beds twice a year will nourish and replenish the soil and keep your plants looking good. Healthy plants with robust root systems will keep the soil functioning at its best.

Beneath the ground surface micro organisms are hard at work decomposing organic material, fixing nitrogen and making mineral nutrients available to plants. Composting increases and encourages populations of beneficial microorganisms that sustain soil, and therefore plant, life.

Decomposer microbes work on organic matter to produce nutrients and the humus that keeps soil aerated, improves water holding capacity and gives it good structure. Compost also encourages the larger scale macro organisms, beetles, bugs and earthworms.

There can hardly be a gardener alive who does not welcome the sight of earthworms, those wonderful workers of the soil that cart organic material down from the surface layers, aerating and excreting fertiliser as they go.

Gardeners who look after their soil microbes use less fertiliser and less water, have fewer weeds to pull out and fewer diseases to worry about. Organic expert Paul Sachs who specializes in organic lawns for athletic fields and golf courses has this to say; “When you feed the life of your soil, growing populations of micro organisms begin to accomplish many jobs that now consume great amounts of your time, money and energy.”

For more microbes the gardener puts down compost – the organic material that microbes love.

Nurserymen advise that compost is spread around the plants in a layer of 3-5 centimeter thick. The layer of new compost will sift into the bottom soil gradually (by the help of the micro organisms).

Some gardeners make their own compost in protected corners of the garden but good quality compost is generally available from nurseries.

If time is a constraint, buying compost is a practical solution.

If you haven’t done it yet, now is a good time to spread that layer of compost in your garden.