This year’s theme for International Compost Awareness Week (May 3-9, 2020) is “Soil Loves Compost”. Composting transforms your yard and garden trimmings—grass clippings, leaves, and pruning material—into a dark, crumbly, sweet-smelling beneficial soil amendment material that naturally enriches the soil.
As we enter another week of staying at home, many of us have turned to gardening to help manage our stress. Whether you are growing a victory garden or taking care of houseplants, adding compost to soil can improve the overall health of your plants.
If you are new to backyard composting, don’t fret. Backyard composting is easy and only requires space, time, and yard trim materials.
After you designate an area or obtain a composting bin:
add your chopped materials that are high in carbon (brown materials) and nitrogen (green materials);
turn and mix the materials every week or two, and;
add moisture when necessary.
After 6-9 months of active composting, you will have your own beneficial soil amendment to mix in your garden and potting soil. Any finished compost will be at the bottom of your compost pile.
If You Can’t Make It, Buy It
If you can’t make your own compost, a good alternative is to purchase Leafgro®, Montgomery County’s own soil amendment made from grass clippings and leaves recycled by residents. The grass and leaves collected in our recycling program are taken to the compost facility where it’s processed to create Leafgro®, an organic, nutrient-rich compost product. You can purchase bags of Leafgro® from several home improvement, gardening and nursery stores in the County.
Using compost is great for your soil because it:
improves the soil structure and increases drainage by creating spaces for roots, water, and air, reducing run-off;
provides the nutrients necessary to maintain healthy plant growth; and
minimizes the need to use extra water during the growing season.
Here are ways to use your compost:
Annual and perennial beds: Spread 1–2 inches of compost on top of perennial and annual beds in the early spring or fall.
Vegetable garden: When preparing your garden bed, add three inches of compost, mixing it in the top six inches of soil. When planting, put a handful of compost in each hole. Once plants begin to grow, you can add a half-inch layer of compost around the base of the plants. Plants such as tomatoes, corn, and squash need about half-inch of compost every month.
Potted plants and planters: To replenish nutrients, add 1 inch of compost to potted plants or planters twice a year.
Potting mix: Make your own potting mix using two parts compost to one-part sand or perlite.
Help improve your soil by adding compost! Want more information on how to compost? Visit our website.
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My Green Montgomery is a project of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. It is a service to help Montgomery County residents think and live in a way that safeguards and sustains the health of our people, our county, and the planet.