Compost can help plants to grow fast by increasing the good soil bacteria balance, gently releasing nutrients to plant roots, improving their access to water and oxygen and allowing their roots to grow strong. Compost will improve soil over time making it the ideal environment to grow plants fast.
Compost has many benefits and if it is added in the right amounts with the right ingredients, it can help plants to grow faster. Good quality, well broken down compost that is dark, crumbly and full of nutrients will support new and established plants to grow well.
This article will explore the top 7 ways that compost will help plants to grow faster at home.
7 Ways compost helps plants grow faster
Compost will make vast improvements to soil over time which can support fast and healthy plant growth. Here are the top ways that compost can help plants to grow faster.
1. Compost increases the soil bacteria balance
One of the amazing things that compost does is to increase and improve the soil bacteria balance in the soil. Soil that is bioactive and full of good bacteria is better for plants. These bacteria digest plant material including the organic matter in the compost and make the nutrients available to plants.
Once the soil bacteria have broken down and released the nutrients, the plants can absorb hem to grow fast. Nitrogen is an important nutrient needed for fast plant growth and to support the development of chlorophyll in the leaves. This allows the plant to make its own food and grow faster.
2. Compost improves drainage
Compost added to soil, particularly heavy clay soil will help to improve drainage. Compost is made up of partly broken down organic matter which will create air pockets in the soil. This allows water to drain through quicker and helps to break up the clay particles.
Heavy soil can be a problem as it drains slowly and can lead to wet roots and root rot. Adding compost will help with this drainage and allow the plants to grow faster.
3. Compost helps with water holding capacity
Compost can help to improve poor, sandy soils that drain water away fast. The compost will hold moisture in the soil for longer to help plant roots to get the water they need. Compost is an amazing ingredient that can improve clay and sandy soils and keep the soil moisture in perfect balance.
Add compost to sandy soils, up to 1/3 of the mix and dig it through. Add it each year in spring as a top dressing around established plants to help to improve the soil over time.
4. Compost add nutrients
Compost can be considered a mild fertilizer as it will add essential nutrients to the soil slowly over time. Compost will contain the broken down nutrients from the ingredients used to make it. If you are making compost at home then include a variety of ingredients so the compost contains lots of nutrients.
Food scraps, coffee grounds, weeds (without seed) and old vegetable crops make perfect compost materials. They will be broken down slowly over time by soil bacteria, insects and worms to look like a soft, crumbly soil material. This is when it is ready to add to your garden.
Plants will grow faster when they have the nutrients they need when they need it. If they are already in the ground in the compost then the plants can access them with their roots and grow fast.
5. Compost adds organic matter to the soil
Compost is perfect for improving the organic matter component of your soil. Soils higher in organic matter will support faster and healthier plant growth. They contain a wide range of nutrients, drain well and support the wide and strong growth of plant roots.
Compost can be made with animal manures, can be made by worms known as vermicomposting or can be pre-bought in bags from your local garden center or online. All composts are great for soil so I like to mix it up and add different compost types when I can.
The best compost by far is homemade because you know what is in it, it is easy to transport and free to make.
6. Compost encourages worm activity
Compost mixed through soil or applied as a top dressing helps plants to support local worm populations. Worms will dig their way up from deeper soil to digest the organic matter in the compost and the soil bacteria.
Worms release nutrients in their castings which are easy for the plants to absorb and help to aerate and mix the soil to support good root growth. Compost helps to keep the soil moist and makes it an inviting environment for local worms.
7. Compost improves aeration of the soil
Compost will add extra air pockets and increase the oxygen available in the soil. This allows good root growth and supports the aerobic decomposition of organic matter in the soil by bacteria. This is a fast break down process that turns larger organic matter pieces into smaller ones, incorporating them into eh soil and releasing the nutrients for the plants to absorb.
How often should I add compost to my plants?
Compost can be added to soil when you are preparing to plant something new, to get your vegetable garden ready for a new season or when your soil is getting too dry or too wet. For new garden beds compost can be dug into the soil to allow it to mix through quicker.
Compost can be laid on top of cardboard or newspaper for an easy no dig garden bed ready to planting in a few hours.
For more on this check out my previous article here: How long it takes cardboard to break down in soil (Guide for No Dig Gardens)
You can top dress established plants with compost to give them a nutrient boost and help to add extra organic matter into the soil. The best time to do this is in spiring. You can repeat this again in fall to help to protect their roots from the cold weather. Cover the compost with mulch and water it in well.
Avoid digging compost in around plants that are already growing because this can damage the roots. Top dress plants with 2-3 inches of compost and 2-3 inches of bark mulch instead. This will speed up plant growth in the spring, provide a mild fertilizer and prepare trees to grow flowers and fruit.
How Compost Can Help Plants Grow Faster | Summary
Compost will help plants to grow faster by improving the soil slowly over a time. It is a gentle fertilizer and will feed worms and soil bacteria which will break it down even further. Compost will allow plant roots to grow strong, wide and access the water and nutrients they need. Compost will add oxygen to the soil and help plants to grow lots of leaves, fruit and flowers.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.