“Compost material regulates and stabilizes PH levels in soils for optimum nutrient availability”.
–City of Monterey Recycling Division
What is compost?
Compost is a natural biological process, carried out under controlled conditions, which converts organic material into a stable humus-like product called compost. During the composting process, various microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic material into simpler substances. Composting is an aerobic process, meaning that the microorganisms require oxygen to do their work.
Is compost a fertilizer?
Compost can contain varying amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. However, the concentrations of these nutrients in compost are usually lower than those found in common fertilizers. Compost is more properly described as a soil amendment which returns valuable organic material to the soil. In addition, compost does benefit the soil by improving soil structure, aeration and water retention.
Why do you what an organism-rich soil?
A healthy soil is alive, teeming with microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and yeast as well as larger creatures like earthworms. They depend on the availability of air, water and nutrients in the soil to live. In return, they are the ultimate recyclers - breaking down organic matter to release nutrients for root development and plant growth. They also mix up the soil to improve aeration, texture and structure.
What’s in a fertile soil?
A fertile soil is comprised of both macro- and micronutrients. Plants require both to thrive. The macronutrients include nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). They provide the main nutrients for plants. The first three - N, P, K - are used in the largest amounts by plants, each providing specific benefits including leaf and stem growth (N), root growth (P and K), flower and fruit development (P) and overall vitality (K).
Plants need micronutrients, also called trace elements, such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn). Their presence in very small quantities is essential for plant life. The balance and level of these micronutrients is critical as excesses are harmful to plants. Compost provides an available, balanced supply of these micronutrients. The Essential Ingredient to Healthy Soil is Compost.
What does organic matter mean to my soil?
Compost is aerobically decomposed organic matter, and this organic matter is the soil’s conditioner and food supply.
How much compost do I need?
Remember the Essential Ingredient to a Healthy Soil is Compost
For best results, aerate the entire area before topdressing using a commercially available aerator. For topdressing, spread ¼” (1 cubic yard/ 1000 sq/ft) of Black Tea Compost evenly over the area using a rake. Water thoroughly. The water helps the compost move through the thatch layer to the soil surface and into aeration holes where it can help retain valuable moisture.
For existing beds, add about 1” (4 cubic yards/1000 sq/ft) of Black Tea Compost and work it into the soil using a rake, hoe, shovel or rototiller. Water until the entire root zone is saturated. For best results with new beds, add 1” - 2” (4-8 cubic yards/ 1000 sq/ft) of Black Tea Compost and rototill to at least a 5” depth. Plant and water accordingly. Most annuals and perennials perform well in compost amended soils.
Rototill an area about 3 to 5 times the diameter of the rootball of the tree to be planted. Add about 30% Black Tea Compost by volume to the area and mix thoroughly outside the hole with the native soil. Place the tree into the hole and use the compost amended soil mixture as a backfill around the rootball. Remove excess soil and water thoroughly.
Apply about 1” (4 cubic yards/ 1000 sq/ft) of B.O.S.S. Compost and incorporate into the soil to a depth of 5” with a rototiller or by hand. For poor soils, you may need to apply compost on a yearly basis until the soil has improved to your satisfaction. Do not over apply compost because many vegetables will not produce high yields if excess nitrogen is in the soil. Compost used as a mulch can be turned into the soil prior to replanting.
For lawns that are going to be seeded or sodded, apply 1” - 2” (4-8 cubic yards/ 1000 sq/ft) of B.O.S.S. Compost and rototill to a depth of 5”. For seeded lawns, apply seed and then a slight dusting of compost to cover seed. For sod and seeded lawns, thorough irrigation is necessary. Compost helps increase grass seed germination by providing adequate seed to soil contact, moisture and balanced nutrients. A regular fertility program should be established once the lawn is about 8 weeks old or when it has been mowed for the second time.