Compost is packed with nutrients that are super beneficial to plants, making it a great addition to any garden or landscape. If you’re new to working with compost, you might be wondering how exactly to add it to soil. In this video, garden and landscape designer Ben Barkan explains how to incorporate compost into soil so you’re getting the most benefits. He also shares some tips on how to make sure you’re using the best compost possible.

Key Takeaways

  • You can mix compost directly into soil or “top dress” the soil by spreading compost right over the top of it.
  • You can add compost to your garden any time of year.
  • Always use compost that’s really well decomposed—it shouldn’t smell or have any big pieces in it.

Video Transcript

Compost can be mixed right into the garden. It can be what's called “top dressed,” meaning you can spread it right on the soil surface. So you can already have an established garden and you can add the compost right to the surface. It benefits the plants. You can add compost in the spring, you can add compost in the summer, in the fall, even in the winter if you want to. Compost is very nutrient-rich. It has a lot of nutrients. It has a soil sponge effect, meaning it absorbs water and releases that into the soil. So it's really good for plants. You just want to make sure that your compost is well broken down. It shouldn't smell a lot. You shouldn't be able to identify a lot of things in the compost. It should be really well decomposed. You can grow in straight compost. So if you're filling raised beds, for example, you can grow in straight compost as long as it's really well decomposed. Mixing it with loam is recommended. If you're building raised beds, for example, you could put some sand as well into the mix. But generally yes, you can mix compost with soil, you can add it to the surface, you can apply it while the plants are growing, you can apply it before you plant. It's a very versatile organic source of nutrients and it's ideal for growing organically.