Compost is the reduced remains of leaves, grass, vegetables, fruits and other good things. Farmers and gardeners have been using compost since Biblical times to improve their plants.
As a houseplant grower you probably don’t have your very own compost pile but you can now buy compost at your favorite plant supply store or online.
Compost holds about 20x its weight in water, helping to prevent over watering problems and you’ll need to water your house plants less frequently. It is a natural way to balance the nutrients your plants require for healthy growth. It breaks down soil, making it easier for roots to grow all through the pot. It recreates the microbiology in the soil your plant needs but won’t get from store bought potting soils. You won’t have to repot as frequently if you have compost mixed into your potting soil.
When you repot your plants mix about 20% compost into the new potting soil.
For existing plants take a pencil, poke some holes in the soil and add some compost. Then place a thin layer of compost on top as well.
Your plants will thank you.
I tried doing some composting once when I lived in New England. My neighbors came and took away my leaf pile while I wasn’t home. Guess they were not as keen on the concept.
Compost is considered to be the best organic substance you can add to your garden. The Bible and Shakespeare both make references to composting. Composting is something that has been known about for a very long time. Bette Midler said
“My whole life had been spent waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God’s presence, the kind of transcendent, magical experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap.”
Compost holds about 20xs its weight in water. This can help sandy soils retain moisture and help clay soils absorb water so you will have less run off. Compost is sticky, due to the bacteria in it, and helps prevent erosion. Your lawn and plants will need much less water if you put compost on them.
Composting also helps keep down the amount of waste sent to landfills. Almost a third of waste sent to Texas landfills is yard waste. In The Woodlands our yard waste is picked up separately and sent to ‘Nature’s Way’. You can buy the composted waste back from them or make your own.
The nitrogen run off from farms, lawns and gardens is what creates the dead spot in the Gulf, composting will help prevent this runoff.
Use of compost increases the soils ability to hold nutrients and moisture. It will be full of living things which help dissolve plant nutrients. As little as 1/3″ of compost can greatly reduce watering needs. Your first lawn cut of the year you should leave the clippings on the lawn. They are very high in nutrients. Use a rake to work in your clippings or compost to the lawn. Composting is best done in the spring or the fall.
The Woodlands has free composting classes every Saturday Oct->March at 8203 Millennium Forest Drive, next to The Woodlands High School. ( Call 281.210.3900 for more information )