Spring is the perfect time to get outside and work on your garden. If you have compost that is not finished breaking down and still has large pieces there are still lots of ways you can use it.
Use unfinished compost in spring to mulch flower beds, mulch establish trees, keep moisture in the soil around new vegetable seedlings and to feed worm in your worm farm. Unfinished compost should not be mixed into your soil because it can absorb a small amount nitrogen from the soil and slow plant growth.
This article will explore 5 great ways to use unfinished compost in your yard in spring and 3 things you should avoid.
How to use unfinished compost in spring
Unfinished compost is a fantastic ingredient you can use in your yard. There are some great ways to use unfinished compost in spring to feed your plants, keep water in the soil and stop weeds. Here are my favorite ways to use unfinished compost.
1. Mulch flower beds
Spring is the perfect time to get out into your yard and mulch your flower beds. The warm weather will bring with it weeds so take some unfinished compost and layer it on your flower beds as mulch. You can mix a small amount of aged manure such as chicken manure pellets to add back nitrogen.
Unfinished compost is fantastic for your flower beds because they will help to stop weeds seeds from growing, will gently feed the soil and the plants and will help to hold water in the soil.
Layer unfinished compost 2-3 inches thick on top of the soil. You can mix it together with bark mulch for a great layer to protect your soil.
2. Put extra in your worm farm
Unfinished compost can be put into your worm farm as extra worm farm bedding. The worms will feed on the compost and break it down further into worm castings. They will eat any brown materials or food scraps together with the soil bacteria. Worms will break down the compost completely and the castings are great for your soil.
I like to use old compost to cover food scraps in my worm farm. This layer can help to stop ants and flies from visiting your worm farm. Cover the compost with your worm blanket and help your worms to feel safe to dig up and eat the unfinished compost.
3. Mulch established trees
Unfinished compost is great for mulching large, established trees. These trees are not sensitive to the final breakdown process that the compost will do on top of the soil. You can mix in some pelleted chicken manure to add back nitrogen.
Large trees are hardy and will love a cover of your compost. Cover this with a thin layer of bark mulch to help it to keep water in.
4. Mulch new vegetable seedlings
Unfinished compost can be mixed together with some hay or straw and use it as mulch around your vegetable seedlings. Keep the mulch 2-3 inches away from stems of your seedlings. Spring is the time to be planting new tomato seedlings, peppers and basil plants. Use compost to cover the soil and keep the soil moisture in.
5. Put it back in your compost bin
You can always take unfinished compost and return it to your compost bin. This can form part of your new compost mix and will actually help the food scraps and brown material to break down quickly. This old compost will be full of good soil bacteria which will help to break down the compost materials fast.
3 Things you should not do with unfinished compost
It is important to know what to avoid doing with unfinished compost. Unfinished compost will continue to break down so if it is mixed into the soil, there can be a temporary absorption from nitrogen from the soil by the soil bacteria as it breaks the compost down.
Here are 3 things not to do with unfished compost
1. Avoid mixing it through your ground soil
Avoid mixing unfinished compost through your soil in your yard. The unfinished compost will be broken down in the soil by soil bacteria. The soil bacteria will draw a small amount of nitrogen from the soil which can take it away from plant roots and slow their growth.
2. Avoid mixing it through your raised garden beds
Avoid mixing unfinished compost through your raised garden or vegetable beds. This will continue to break down can dry out the soil, absorb nitrogen and affect your vegetable growth.
3. Avoid leaving it in thin layers to dry out
It is important not to layer it on soil as mulch in thin layers. This will dry out and will break down slowly. Layer it on top of the soil as mulch 2-3 inches thick, cover with some bark mulch and sprinkle on some pelleted chicken manure to add extra nitrogen.
How to Use Unfinished Compost in Spring | Summary
Unfinished compost is the perfect mulch for garden beds large trees or your vegetable garden in spring. Mix through some pelleted chicken manure to add extra nitrogen and replace any that may be absorbed from the soil as the compost continues to break down.
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.