Composting – Adding compost to the garden

Q: I just started composting last year and have been amazed at how much stuff I’ve kept out of the landfill. I have no idea when I should start adding the compost to my garden bed. Does the material need to be completely composted before adding?  

A: My rule of thumb is to start taking compost from a pile when you can barely tell what the original components were. In other words, when you can no longer distinguish plant stems, banana peels and individual tree leaves in the mix. Remember that you need a lot of compost to make a difference in your soil: typically one to three inches of organic material spread on a bed and mixed ten inches deep.

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