We had a mild winter here in Wisconsin and sad to see it but I have no nice black compost, just a layer of apples on the bottom..rotted of course and then layers of leaves and food scraps from the winter months. Is there anything I can do to make this still work for me? Any ideas would be appreciated.
Again, I think it depends where you are and what your soil is like. Here we have nothing but sand, and if you don't add organic material all it does is hold the plant up until it dies. Water and nutrients whiz through without hardly slowing down.
When I plant I start with an extra big hole, since it's so easy to dig. I mix compost with the soil from the hole, then top-dress well out so that the organic stuff works down, then mulch. I also top-dress every spring because the compost breaks down so fast in our moist hot summers.
Sorry, but I think it's a bit irresponsible to make such a blanket statement that you should never add compost when planting. It's different everywhere!
If you are planting in sand - and not on the beach - life if too easy for you :)
Plus, you have almost all year long to grow your stuff.
Yeap - too easy and ye shouldn't complain.
I gardened for 20 years in clay and rocks, moved to the bay area in Michigan and O Lordy - I planted five acres and it was a breeze.
Then I moved back home, and the first thing I did was plant some shallow blueberries, but I had forgotten how hard it was and - it liked to have KILLED ME. Almost died of a heart attack, face all red, felt like my blood vessels were going to pop through the top of my head.
I am okay now - I'm use to it again.
But what was said about filling in the hole with good easy loose dirt was so very - very true in hard rocky soil. The tree and plant just does not do good. Mulching is a different story though!
Now with blueberries in rocky soil mulch the dickens out of it so the roots can grow in that and not fight the rock and clay, and tilling in a bunch of peat or saw dust is a good idea too.