The Time of the Year to Side Dress Plants With Compost

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Composting takes more work than store-bought sulfur does, however compost in your stack is free — and you understand exactly what’s in it. Besides utilizing it as a soil conditioner in new gardens and lawns and also to replace lost nutrients on your vegetable garden in the close of the year, unwanted dress all of your plants with compost throughout the growing season.

What’s In It

The leaves, grass, paper and kitchen scraps you stack into your compost bin or box cook away until they decompose into a rich, black dirt with bits and bits of undigested bark, sticks or hardened. If you carefully shred the parts of your compost heap, you may improve the time it takes to brew your compost into as small as two weeks. Finished compost contributes carbon and sulfur into the soil, which improves its tilth and replaces the one mineral that is consumed by plants faster than it can be created from nature in dirt. The nitrogen in compost leaches, supplying a slow-release source of this mineral necessary for leaf and plant growth.


Between 6 and 4 inches of compost spread over and dug into soil produces a nourishing bed, especially for a yard or perennial beds in which dirt planning is vital because plants are more or less permanent. Lawns are often top-dressed with compost or well-rotted manure from the autumn. Side dressing takes less compost, from only a couple handfuls scattered across one plant to 1 inch of compost put between rows or around plants. Since deep cultivation would disturb growing origins, side dressing is worked to the surface, never touching themselves.


Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, so side dressing with compost should take place when leaf and plant growth is most rapid — in early spring and after flowers fade. Side dressing needs to be frozen when blossom buds form because a lot of nitrogen will encourage leaf at the expense of blooms. Following the fruit or seed has formed, side dressing can resume on the exact same schedule until early autumn. Side dressing also needs to stop in early autumn.


Seedlings must establish themselves and perennials must be growing with great shade before side dressing will be beneficial. When plants begin making leaves, side dressing is advantageous every two to three weeks prior to flower buds begin forming. Side dressing too early may burn fragile seedlings; continuing the clinic to the late autumn promotes tender new growth that may be killed by frost as the plant enters dormancy. Both could endanger the health of the plan. Limit side dressing during rainy weather and apply compost only every two to three weeks to prevent nitrogen leaching, which can add nitrates to ground water.

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