View Full Version : compost
05-23-2006, 06:41 PM
i am going to apply about a 1/2 inch of compost on a really hard clay/rocky soil in a week. should i wait until right after it rains to apply it so it will absorb into the soil better? or should i apply it right before it rains? does it matter? the lady doesn't wanted to aerate or i would do that.
also, on a previous thread i read to follow a compost application up with protein sources. do you have to do this even if i just applied an organic fertilizer today that contains soybean meal and alfalfa meal?
05-24-2006, 10:13 AM
i know someone that reads this forum has applied compost.
05-24-2006, 06:16 PM
Personally, if you are not going to be incorporating the compost, it probably wont make much difference whether applied before the rain or after. While soil needs to contain organic matter, in the real world, the compost comes in the form of leaves and debri and is simply laying on top of the soil. Over time and with the help of biology, the material is decomposed and the nutrients are leached down into the soil and made available to the plant roots. Over a period of years this organic layer can get pretty thick, but when you dig down into the soil, you still find plain dirt. This dirt is where the plant roots are located, altho many will also be in the decomposed organic material. The decaying roots of the plants, as well as the dead microbes, are what adds the orgainc material to the soil. A good soil will contain about 6 3/4 inches of soil and organic material. Dont ask me where or who came up with that number, I dont know. This 6 3/4 inches of topsoil usually consists of 45% minerals, 5% humis, and 25% air, and 25% water. This is considered Ideal conditions for microbial activity as well as nutrient exchange. Not all soils are ideal or even anywhere close. Just because the soil is 45% minerals doesnt mean you have the right nutrients present for optimum plant growth. These minerals or nutrients can be tweaked by the addition of compost, (which will contain minerals and nutrients), and fertilizers. Simply adding compost by itself doesnt insure that you are getting the right nutrients in the correct amounts since the compost will only contain the nutrients from the compost source. Using the same compost from the same source over a period of time will lead to nutrient imbalances in your soil. These imbalances will contribute to plant decline the same way over applications of chemical fertilizers will. The use of orgaincs should be monitored with soil testing of the soil as well as your compost source to insure that you are getting what you want to get with each application and not adding something that your soil already has an abundance of.
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