Now that you’ve made your own compost, the next obvious question is how to use compost. Below, I’ll go through the different things you can use compost for and what you need to do before you being using it.
How Do You Use Compost?
Once your compost is done, it’s ready for use.
That said, don’t expect it to look like those you see in videos or books. Yours will look coarser and not as nice looking.
It’s because they sift theirs.
Screening Your Compost
Before starting, it’s worth noting that sifting isn’t necessary. You can use the humus as is when it’s done.
But, there are a few reasons you may want to screen the compost.
- It looks better
- Sifting makes it more uniform. The fewer the clumps the easier it is to use as a potting or planting medium.
- Putting the humus through a sift aerates it and splits the particles that are stuck together.
Screening or sifting your compost is just what it sounds like. It’s putting the end product into a screen to sift the bigger chunks and coarser pieces.
To give you some imagery, you’ll put the humus through a screen or sifter and slowly let it go through as you would flour before baking.
How you sift really depends on you.
- You can use something as simple as a bucket or barrel and place a screen or galvanized hardware cloth over it. Then use your fingers to slowly push the pieces through.
- If there’s a lot and you don’t like carrying it after, do the same setup on top of your cart or wheelbarrow. This way, the sifted humus is ready for transport as soon as you’re done.
- Types of Compost Bins
- What is Composting and How Does It Work?
- Composting 101: How Does Compost Decompose / Break Down?
- Equipment for Composting – What Do You Need to Start Composting
- How to Make Compost at Home
Ways to Use Compost
Here are some ways you can apply compost to help your lawn and garden.
- Grow plants right on top of the compost pile. One of the best things about compost is that you can immediately use it. You can do this by planting right over it. If you don’t have enough, you can buy some from the garden center and combine it with what you have.
- For flower beds and vegetable gardens. If you grow vegetables or have beautiful flower beds, you can incorporate compost into the soil. This improves soil quality and helps it retain moisture better.
- Spread it over trees and landscape plants. Here, you’ll be using compost as mulch. This helps your plants grow without the risk of introducing disease. Additionally, compost also breaks down much faster than other kinds of mulch.
- Topdress lawns with it. You can likewise sprinkle the compost over your lawn. Here, it’s important to sift the compost beforehand. This ensures that there are no big chunks that can cover some of the grass are left.
- Incorporate the compost into your garden as you prepare the soil in the spring. Cover the area with 3-4 inches of soil and till it into at least the upper 6 inches of soil. Add compost to the soil in vegetable gardens, annual flower beds, and around new perennials as they are planted.
- You may also use compost as mulch around flower beds, vegetable gardens, or around trees or shrubs in landscape beds. Apply a 3-inch layer. But, be careful not to apply mulch close to the main stem or trunk of the plant.
Now that you know everything there is to know about composting, all that’s left to do is get started. The best part about that is the materials are right there in your home and backyard.