This week we will be discussing how to use compost as a fall garden amendment. In particular, we're going to talk about it how you can use compost to improve and protect your soil over the wet winter months.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- What is compost and why is it good for your garden?
- What’s the difference between compost and soil?
- What is mulch?
- When cleaning up your garden in the fall (or at the end of your growing season), we recommend applying a 2-3 inch layer of compost to the top of your beds.
- Compost is essentially another word for decayed organic matter. And organic matter is one component of soil.
- A typical natural soil is made up of about 45 percent minerals, 25 percent water, 25 percent air, and only 5 percent organic matter.
- In a garden, organic matter content can be much higher. In fact, in many gardens we use a soil mix that is 50% compost and 50% sand. Other growers will plant into 100% compost. Generally speaking, an organic matter content of 10-50% is appropriate for a vegetable garden.
- If you'd like to learn the make-up of your soil, get a soil test! Here are two labs that we use on a regular basis:
Heard on the Episode:
“High quality compost will have been managed so that it reached a temperature of at least 160 degrees during the decomposition process. This high temperature kills the pathogens and the weed seeds in the organic matter. This is crucial because there's nothing worse than top-dressing your garden just to have it sprout in the spring!” - Hilary Dahl
“Don’t throw your food scraps directly into the garden!” - Kellie Phelan
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Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food.
Hi, my name is Kellie Phelan, and I've been gardening for about 3 years. I started with just a few containers, growing lettuce and peas and cherry tomatoes. I loved shopping in my backyard! Just a few steps out the back door and I was harvesting food for dinner. So, it seemed only natural to expand my garden and I'm working on fitting as many fruits and veggies as possible into my small city lot. I've made a lot of what I'll call 'valuable' mistakes - learning as I go, and Hilary has been an awesome resource. I am honored and excited to be a part of Encyclopedia Botanica, where I'll be chatting with Hilary, asking questions, and helping all of us get better at growing food.