Compost and mulch are two essential ingredients for a healthy and productive garden. Compost is a nutrient-rich organic matter that improves soil structure and fertility, while mulch landscaping products help to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and moderate soil temperature.
What is compost?
Compost is made by breaking down organic materials, such as food scraps, yard waste, and manure. It can be made in a backyard compost bin or pile, or purchased from a garden store like Kilgore Landscape Center.
Benefits of using compost
Compost has a number of benefits for your garden, including:
- Improves soil structure: Compost helps to loosen clay soil and improve drainage, while also helping to retain moisture in sandy soil.
- Adds nutrients: Compost is a rich source of essential plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Increases microbial activity: Compost helps to increase the number of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which can improve plant health and productivity.
- Suppresses weeds: Compost can help to suppress weeds by blocking out sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating.
- Reduces erosion: Compost can help to reduce erosion by improving soil structure and increasing water infiltration.
How to use compost in your garden
Compost can be used in a number of ways in your garden:
- Amending soil: Compost can be added to the soil before planting to improve fertility and drainage.
- Mulching: Compost can be used as a mulch around plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and moderate soil temperature.
- Topdressing: Compost can be used as a topdressing around plants to supplement their nutrient needs.
- Side dressing: Compost can be used as a side dressing for vegetables and other plants to boost their growth and yield.
What is mulch?
Mulch is a layer of material that is spread over the soil around plants. Mulch can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood chips, bark, straw, and leaves.
Benefits of using mulch
Mulch landscaping products have a number of benefits for your garden, including:
- Retains moisture: Mulch helps to reduce evaporation from the soil, which can help to conserve water.
- Suppresses weeds: Mulch can help to suppress weeds by blocking out sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating.
- Moderates soil temperature: Mulch can help to moderate soil temperature by keeping the soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
- Protects roots: Mulch can help to protect plant roots from extreme temperatures and physical damage.
- Improves soil fertility: As mulch decomposes, it adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
How to use mulch in your garden
Mulch can be used around all types of plants, including trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. To apply mulch, simply spread a 2-4 inch layer around the base of your plants. Be sure to leave a few inches of space around the trunk of trees and shrubs to avoid suffocating the roots.
Types of mulch
There are a variety of different types of mulch available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some common types of mulch landscaping products include:
- Wood chips: Wood chips are a durable and affordable mulch that is good for suppressing weeds. However, wood chips can slow down the warming of the soil in the spring.
- Bark: Bark is a more expensive type of mulch than wood chips, but it is more attractive and decomposes more slowly.
- Straw: Straw is a lightweight mulch that is good for retaining moisture and suppressing weeds. However, straw can be unsightly and can blow away in the wind.
- Leaves: Leaves are a free and easy-to-obtain mulch that is good for improving soil fertility. However, leaves can mat down and block out air and water if they are not applied correctly.
When to apply compost and mulch
Compost and mulch can be applied to your garden at any time of year. However, the best time to apply compost is in the spring or fall, when the soil is cooler and more moist. Mulch can be applied in the spring or fall, or even in the summer to help keep the soil cool and moist.
Here are a few tips for using compost and mulch in your garden:
Choose the right type of mulch landscaping products for your needs. Consider factors such as cost, appearance, and durability when choosing a mulch.
- Apply mulch correctly. Be sure to leave a few inches of space around the trunk of trees and shrubs to avoid suffocating the roots.
- Reapply mulch as needed. Mulch will decompose over time, so it is important to reapply it every year or two.
- Use compost to improve soil fertility. Compost can be added to the soil before planting or used as a topdressing around plants.
- Side dress vegetables with compost. Compost can be used to side dress vegetables to boost their growth and yield.
- Test your soil regularly. Soil testing can help you to determine the nutrient levels in your soil and identify any areas that need improvement.
Here are some additional benefits of using compost and mulch in your garden:
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Compost and mulch can help to improve soil health and plant resistance to pests and diseases, which can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- Promotes a healthy ecosystem. Compost and mulch provide food and habitat for beneficial insects and microorganisms, which can help to create a healthy ecosystem in your garden.
Improves the appearance of your garden. Compost and mulch landscaping products can help to improve the appearance of your garden by covering bare soil and adding color and texture.
How to make your own compost
Composting is a great way to reduce kitchen and yard waste while also creating a valuable amendment for your garden. To make your own compost, simply collect organic materials such as food scraps, yard waste, and manure. Place the materials in a compost bin or pile and turn them regularly to aerate the mixture. Compost will be ready to use when it has turned brown and crumbly.
Where to buy compost and mulch
If you do not have time or space to make your own compost, you can purchase it from most garden centers. Mulch can also be purchased from garden centers, as well as from landscapers and other suppliers.
If you don’t have time or space to make your own compost, you can purchase it from most garden centers. Kilgore Landscape Center is your one-stop shop for all your backyard needs. Visit our store online or in person today to purchase high-quality compost and mulch landscaping products for your garden. Our compost is made from a variety of organic materials, including food scraps, yard waste, and manure. It is a rich source of essential plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Come by today!