Compost – Growing In

Q: I use the free compost from DeKalb County in my landscape. Could I actually grow things in the compost by itself?

A: I wish more counties would see the benefits of composting yard waste to give to their citizens. It is described as “mulch” by the county but I often use this material to amend clay soil in my landscape. It contains lots of undecomposed wood chips, so the fungi which break down wood fiber “steal” nitrogen from any nearby plant for at least a year. I add a handful of extra fertilizer to beds where I use it and that seems to suffice. If you want to experiment with a bed full of it, add a cup of 10-10-10 to each cubic foot of material, mix thoroughly and plant a few flowers or vegetables in it. After a year’s time all of the wood chips should be nicely composted and additional fertilizer won’t be needed.