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GardenSMART :: Build Soil with a Fall Feeding of Compost

Build Soil with a Fall Feeding of Compost

By Suzanne DeJohn, Gardener's Supply Company
Photographs courtesy of Gardener's Supply Company

Show all your gardens some love this autumn by treating them to a dose of compost. Even as the air gets chilly, the soil stays warm so the compost feeds the still-active beneficial organisms. You'll be building a healthy soil ecosystem that can support thriving plants next spring.

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Put The Veggie Garden To Bed

As you remove spent vegetable crops, loosen soil and mix in a 3" to 4" deep layer of compost. Then cover bare soil with shredded leaves or straw. The soil will be refreshed for spring planting.

Pamper Your Perennials

As you tidy up perennial gardens, keep a bucket of compost at hand so you can spread a 1" to 2" layer of compost around the base of each plant. Keep the compost a few inches from the stems to prevent rot.

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You can purchase compost, or you can make your own. A composter makes it easy!

Nourish Shrubs And Trees

Don't take them for granted—they're your biggest landscape investment! Spread a 3" layer of compost in a wide band extending well beyond the edge of the canopy. Keep the compost 6" inches away from stems and trunks. The compost will work its way down into the soil over time.

Give Bulbs A Boost

Add a trowelful of compost into each bulb planting hole. Alternately, you can prepare a large bed by mixing a 3" to 4" layer of compost into the top 8" of soil before planting.

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If you want beautiful daffodils next spring, you'll need to plant them this fall.

Lawns Are Plants, Too!

Apply a 1/2" layer of compost over your entire lawn in fall and spring. If soil is compacted, rent an aerator first to open up the soil so water will wash the compost down to grass roots.

Learn how to build healthy soil for a flourishing and abundant garden and watch our animated video about the fascinating world of soil science:


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