Should You Add Fertilizer to Your Compost Pile?
Posted on January 23 2018
"What are you using for compost?"
"That compost pile is coming along nicely."
"I never start planting without a compost pile."
Whether you've been planting for years or you're tilling rows for the first time, composting and fertilizing never fail to come up in conversations about the ins and outs of gardening.
But what exactly is composting? Is the talk of fertilizer simply hype?
If you've ever wondered about compost or fertilizer and what they can do for your garden, then you'll definitely want to keep reading.
What is Compost?
Although most have heard of compost, if you were to ask 100 people what compost is, you would probably get 100 different answers.
Isn't compost the same thing as fertilizer? Isn't it basically dirt?
Compost is generally defined as organic, typically plant-based, matter that has decomposed. Since compost is added to dirt and often mixed with fertilizer, it can look very close to dirt while being mistaken for fertilizer. Despite initial impressions, however, compost is its own distinct entity.
How Does Compost Benefit a Garden?
To fully answer this question, let’s draw a quick parallel to a process that happens naturally in your body.
Your body relies on Calcium to strengthen bones and to keep your heart and muscles healthy. But although Calcium gets all the positive press, the body struggles to process and absorb it without Magnesium.
Compost is considered a soil amendment, or a product that improves the condition and structure of the soil. The improved soil texture and the indirect promotion of healthy garden soil offered by compost is what makes this soil amendment the "Magnesium" that allows your plants to absorb more nutrients and water.
Why Should Non-Compost Users Consider Composting?
Composting is a proven method of promoting healthy garden soil and yielding larger harvests every year. There are at least three reasons why beginner and veteran gardeners alike can't go wrong with using compost.
Compost Improves the Soil's Structure
Dirt consists of both organic and inorganic elements. Healthy soil shouldn't stick together too much and it should be "breathable" by providing space for water and oxygen. This in turn allows the plant roots to grow and thrive.
Compost introduces proteins to the soil that offer this binding quality, while allowing the soil to hold essential plant nutrients and absorb more water.
Grow Healthier Plants
When your immune system is compromised, have you ever noticed how easy it is to get sick again?
Similarly, dry or unstructured soil gives insects and diseases the opportunity to harm your plants. However, by improving the soil's texture with compost, your plants are protected from disease and pests. That alone makes composting a good idea for your garden.
How Does Fertilizer Improve Compost?
You may be thinking that with compost, fertilizer isn't necessary. After all, they're close enough to the same thing, right?
Well, not exactly.
As we said before, compost is what's known as a "soil amendment." Fertilizer is different from compost in that fertilizer adds nutrients directly into your soil.
There are at least a couple of reasons why you should add fertilizer to your compost:
1. Fertilizer Brings Nutrition to Your Soil
Sometimes even with drastically improved soil structure, your plants may still lack certain nutrients. Fertilizer directly delivers nutrients like Calcium and Magnesium, among others, directly to your plants.
2. Compost and Fertilizer are Complementary
The improved soil structure that comes with using compost combined with the additional nutrients from fertilizer make for a convenient loop.
You can control how many nutrients go into your soil by using fast-release fertilizer, which quickly supply those nutrients to your plants. You can also opt for slow-release fertilizer, which offers measured, consistent delivery of nutrients.
Whatever the case may be, fertilizer and compost together make for a powerful 1-2 punch.
What Fertilizers Can You Use to Boost Your Compost Pile?
Here at Greenway Biotech, we've developed several fertilizers that you can use to boost and amplify the results of your composting. These include:
When most people hear the words "volcano" or "volcanic ash" fertilizer probably isn't what immediately comes to mind.
Yet between increased crop yields, better plant health, and its ability to deter pests when used on plants, Azomite is well worth the purchase.
If you have a problem with acidic garden soil, Dolomite could be exactly what your plants need.
This is a slow-acting fertilizer that allows you to prepare the soil ahead of planting season and enhances your compost by helping with the decomposition process. For gardeners who are growing fruit trees, you can't go wrong with this one.
Do you have a problem with rabbits nibbling on your produce? Are deer becoming an issue in your garden?
Touted largely for its effectiveness as a natural pesticide, Blood Meal is ideal for gardeners who want fast growth and more acidic garden soil. Equipped with 13 percent Nitrogen and designed to operate quickly, this fertilizer works well with compost.
This fertilizer is unique in that it contains 24 percent Calcium, 15 percent Phosphorus, and 3 percent Nitrogen.
The Nitrogen promotes greater protein intake, while the Phosphorus encourages root growth and seeding. Considering how Calcium promotes strong budding and blooming while nipping blossom end rot in the literal bud, Bone Meal fertilizer is a fantastic choice for flowers or fruits. Cucumbers and tomatoes in particular are known to benefit from Bone Meal.
Alfalfa Meal is a steady and solid option for gardeners who want an effective, all-purpose fertilizer that encourages toughness while discouraging worms. Its ability to enhance organic material, growth, and compost stimulation, make it an ideal partner for your compost pile. The Nitrogen and the drought preparation make this an excellent choice as a soil amendment if you have soil in need of refreshing.
All our fertilizers are made with organic ingredients. When you make a purchase from us, you don't have to worry about chemicals compromising the long-term health of your garden and your household.
Heavy Metal Free
At this point, we all know about the health risks associated with heavy metal-contaminated soil. With our fertilizers, your soil is in good hands because all of our products are made without heavy metals.
If you want your garden to thrive, grow, and produce more, then you need healthy garden soil. Compost, and its ability to improve soil structure is a key part of the puzzle. Fertilizer, when used in conjunction with compost, can take your gardening efforts to the next level in almost no time at all.
Our organic, heavy metal free fertilizers include Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Dolomite, and Azomite. As part of a full and comprehensive plan for improving or maintaining the quality of your garden soil, our fertilizers will produce results.
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