Compost is sometimes called "black gold" for its microbial benefit to the landscape. Creating leaf mold is an easy approach to composting. If you have ever walked through the woods, that earthy smell is decomposing vegetation. Or you my choose to develop compost from ecomposing leaves, some meal scraps, and grass clippings. By creating your own compost, you reduce products that would otherwise go to landfills. Homemade compost can save you money since you will not need to purchase soil-enhancing products from your local garden center. My lawn gets a boost from leaves that have been shredding by the lawn mower, which is a form of compost. I have found three common uses around the yard for compost.
Compost as a soil amendment
Compost contains nutrients and helps retain soil moisture. Add the nutritional benefits of compost to your soil before planting flowers or vegetables. First, remove grass, weeds, and debris from the planting area. Next, spread a layer of compost about 1 inch think across the soil. Use a shovel or rototiller to work the compost down to a depth of 6 to 8 inches into the soil. The compost releases nutrients that are absorbed by plant roots.
Compost as mulch
The dark color of compost makes it visually appealing as mulch around plants including flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs. Mulch helps to block weed growth and helps reduce erosion. Mulch helps to retain moisture and keeps the soil cooler as it blocks direct sunlight from hitting the ground. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost around plants. Keep the mulch about 2 inches away from the stem or trunk of plants. Any kind of mulch, with its moisture-retaining properties, has the potential of rotting the plant if it touches the stem or trunk. If you already have a layer of mulch on the soil, rake the mulch to loosen it up before applying a new layer on top.
Compost as part of potting mixture
Create a 50/50 blend of soil and compost to make potting mixture. Because of the organic aroma of compost, it is best to limit the use of this potting mixture to outdoor pots. Each year, toss the mixture into the garden and create a new mixture for the pot.