Adding MOre Compost in the Garden

Long Beach, CA

Hello all,

A year ago I had new flower beds made for the back year. I had to pull all the plants out to have it made. I thought since I had to pull everything I you loosen and enrich the clay soil I have by adding sand and compost. After may days of shelving, moving, turning and Vicodin they plants were really to go in the flower beds again.

My question is how often should I add in more compost? Will it work just as well if I spread it on the top instead of working it into the soil?

Thanks Bunches

Thumbnail by Rhapsody616
Virginia Beach, VA

If your soil is loose and looks fertile then I would just put it on top or around the plants.

After my plants are established I normally add around my plants that is why I do not have weeds in my garden. We always have tons of compost because composting is is a way of life for us.It is on going all year round.


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

You can add compost around plants any day of the year.

I work ours into the soil during Spring and Fall because that's the most convenient for us.

Long Beach, CA

Thank you HoneybeeNC and bellieg for your replies! I add my worm compost regularly. The bin just gets full and heavy so a scoop or two goes into the flower bed or a potted plant!~ I am very life conscious. I know it might sound odd to some but I just can not make compost tea knowing I am killing baby worms. So I wet the target area first then sprinkle the worm compost on top so the worms can find their way into the soil.

But the compost I buy in the bags seem to have a lot of wood like substance. Do you find one kind more beneficial then another?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Rhapsody -

But the compost I buy in the bags seem to have a lot of wood like substance
Wood chips are good for your garden. They help aerate the soil and break down into usable soil. Just don't add too many at one time because they use nitrogren as they break down. Small wood chips make a great mulch.

I haven't needed to purchase compost for several years because we make our own, so I don't know which brands are best.

Long Beach, CA

HoneybeeNC, good to know. I did not know the compost needed that much nitro. Thanks for that!!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Always seemed to have some trouble with killing my new or baby worm population myself. Earlier I was moving bags of last years compost and there were hundreds maybe thousands of new worms under them.They dried and died when I moved the first couple of compost bags so I left the others set for a while.

It;s difficult even to keep a good healthy worm population anymore without killing them to no purpose.

Virginia Beach, VA

Something is in your soil for the worms to die.

my garden has tons of earthworms. I give them as treats to my kois.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

The earth base in my garden is ancient ash and swamp mud , the worms don't like it much better than sand . Only with improvement and compost that they are there really, it's not as much to do with poison or pollution as natural PH.

Virginia Beach, VA

It takes time to amend the garden soil so the worm can survive. It will get there just keep composting. We have tons of compost and we use it all.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Some neighbors just contracted to have two trees cut down. I asked the guys dsoing the cutting (this morning) if I could have the chips, and they said YES!

So this year I'll have a few cubic yards of "browns" - now I just have to find some greens. If it's true that you compost a mix as lean as 20:1 C:PN, and 2 cubic yards are 54 cubic feert, I only need 3 cubic feet of greens.

Heck, I can bring home 10 bags of "manure-compost mix" for $13 and start hitting Starbucxks for grounds again. Score!

Virginia Beach, VA

Good for you and you are lucky!!!


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I was grumpy aboput losing the nice trees, since their roots weren't bothering ME, and they didn't cast MUCH shade in my direction, but then suddenly it was as if Christmas came early.

I'm guessing there will be plenty of big chips for mulching and supressing weeds (and slowly sheet composting), plus finer stuff for composting right away in a heap.

Long Beach, CA

Right on with the wood chips... but poor trees! I just hate to cut down a perfectly good anything!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Ric, if they do all the branches it may come in more green than you're thinking--all those leaves...
Like hitting the lottery

mulege, Mexico

This is the time of year that seaweed washes in on the beaches and I pay a friend to bring me truckloads of it. I don't wash it as that removes the potassium. In a workshop I did (where I learned abou the potassium) I was told that if your soil has worms, you are doing fine. The soil to which I had added a lot of seaweed had lots of worms. I have moved since then and have been building up the soil at my new (and permanent) home for several years now.

I agree, Rick hit the lottery wth the trees.

I've been known to stop by the roadside to salvage a dead palm tree.

We gardeners are a weird bunch.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Sad to say, my neighbor must have come home between the time I left for work and the tree-choppers left. The guys doing the work were happy to leave me the chips (and all the munched-up grren pine needles!) but she must have told them not to.

No wood chips for Rick. If that was Early Christmas, all I got was coal in my stocking. :-(

She also got the park management to send me a lawyer's letter tgelling to put all the "rubbish" into my little shed. By "rubbish", they mean bags of soil and bark, coir, garden tools and pots.

Her yard now looks like a barren desert, and she's working on my yard.

Are you SURE that 120 or 150 pounds of meat and bones would be bad for a compost heap? I could add some quicklime ...

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Isn't neighborly love and conservation a grand thing. (YEAH RIGHT, huh?)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Before movng in, she TOLD me she wanted to garden, and "eat raw vegetables". I thought she was a GARDENER.


Her first move was to kill a big lovely azealea just as it was coming into bloom.
Thenh she had two big trees taken out, and bushes on the other side of her house.
Then she got me to move my perennials ... I guess I'll find out how they do in pots!

Now it looks like the Gobi desert.
Except for some big ceramic pots that don't seem to have drainage holes - and it rains 8 months of the year here.
And she stuffed so many store-bought plants into the first two pots that they were crowded on Day One.

I sertiously wsonder whether she isn't a plant-sadist. She's certainly a serial killer!
And her husband looks shell-shocked, like a zombie.

And she's not like the best gardener in the neighborhood, whom I call "Atilla the Gradener". Atilla has a LOVELY garden, becuase she a policy of giving every plant two chances. It can thrive in the first place she puts it, or the second place. After that, it's "out with the old and in with the new". I couldn't do that, but she doers get beautiful results, and knows how to CULTIVATE plants, not just pay people to chop them down.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Bugs, gophers, moles , and various, small animals, are still mine,As they really do most of the gardening anyway,while making me have to replant something everyonce in while.Oh yeah I almost forget to say anyone of them makes a great executioner,But I think I will let you keep yours,and beware of assasains they are everwhere.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm, which is worse, a trouble-making human neighbor, or moles?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I think the bad neighbor is more frustrating than a mole!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

The mole would only dash a few of your plant hopes(painful to a days hopes)A neighbor can damage your spirit(forever disheartning).The neighbor by far and away.

mulege, Mexico

The neighbor. No one will mind if you killl the mmole but some will feel obliged to interfere if you kill the neighbor. kb

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Rick, wish I could tell you how to handle such a miserable neighbor. The only thing I can suggest is that you put up a wooden fench, or plant something (edible?) that will grow tall enough that she can't see into your garden.

Kiwi comes to mind ^_^

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Well, I built the long narrow raised bed along the sidewalk (on her side, which the prior tenant liked) so I could grow 6 Lavatera, that would have been 4-6 feet tall all summer and part of the fall. She made me move them ... currently in much-to-small pots.

I do have one bamboo (Fargesia rufa) between us, and one Rhododenron. But the F. rufa droops, looking like a graceful umbella or tiny willow. It's only three years old, so it MAY eventually get taller and have thicker stems. Right now, around 6-7 feet while the culms are shooting up, but then they droop to 4-5 feet.

I tried to negotiate - including "you can use the bed to grow what you want as long as you leave the Lavatera there", but no. My cynical theory is that she saw how much I wanted to keep the plants alive, and she could get awayh with demanding her rights.

Hopefully I won't think so ill of her if she ever DOES anyting with the yard, besides revel in it being a lifeless plain!

In just one way, I'm glad she made me take back the soil and the pavers that made the walls. I made two beds out of them, (or three if you count the really shallow bed that suddenly got improved with about 4 more inches of gritty and root-clutterted soil dumped on top.

And, in one place she nagged me about, I chopped out the grass and put in a third bed with poorer soil that is only partly amended, but any soil is better than my clay! Now I may take advantage of that one to grow two Lavatera next to my bamboo. Or invest in an F. robusta, which claims to be taller and have thicker stems.

>> some will feel obliged to interfere if you kill the neighbor

YES! And it would get me talked about. Maybe even damage my reputation for a sunny disposition. And they say that putting too much meat into a compost heap can attract pests and flies. I should ast least give her a few more months to antagonize everyone in the park. Develop a concensus!

I think Ambrose Bierce said it well:

"There are those who would object that this is akin to condoning acts of violence. It is subject to that criticism."

mulege, Mexico

Rick - Remember bokashi and EM (Effectivemicrorganisms). Both help to compost milk products, fish and MEAT,

Also, you might study what music she finds repellant. Not to play too loud; just loud enough to be annoying. Some testing may be necessary.

While I would hesitate to recommend this for anyone less obnoxcious, there are some good books about handling anoying people. Many can be found under the name George Hayduke (the hero of one of Abbey's books). I have auite a collection of them which I keep kind of hidden as I would not one anyone to suspect me if/when mischief occurs. I love to read them if I'm mad at someone and imangine indulging in some of the pranks.

Could you coomplain about the dust coming from her barren plain?

Could you take up sculpting large penises?

There are some opportunities here.


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Rick - I could put a hex on her for you ^_^

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Katie, you are fiendish! My suspicion is that "she wants a fight", and that she's better at being obnoxious than I am.

I like the 'sculpting' idea: I haven't seen that kind of lawn ornament and perhaps the time has come. From pink flamingos to penises ... hmmm.

I thoguht of waiting unrtil she had guests, going up to them an d gushing about how cool she was, that they ashould ask to see her m eth lab: "it's REALLY well hidden!"

Honeybee, I appreciate the offer, but I'm wrestling with the same kind of idea myself. So far, the farthest I feel OK doing is to visualize a barrier to fend her off. Her husband is such a zombie he might be about to snap, and I WOULD feel bad if I meddled and then read that he had stabbed her 99 times and buried her out back.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Yeah, really. After the first dozen stabbings the rest are soooo spiteful...

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

"crimes of passion" "adding to the compost" kinda goes together with the backyard 99 thing. (GRUESOME)!!!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

RICK I couldnt resist it sounds like your "grimoire" side got to you.All those wood chips to mulch with,then adding nitrogen, "blood meal" maybe.Then thinking about the wood chipper and meat products to compost, and then the neighbor comes to mind,H mmmm.
Even though I don't think we are going to,I hope you don't become one of those "the old guy " "that lives down the street" stories. Remembr those from younger days?.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Just sayin'

mulege, Mexico

One a more cheerful note, you could probably find the wod chip suys (or others) who would be happy to drop ff a load f chips when they are in the neighborhood. If you check www.craigslist,org for your area you might find posting under the free stuff. In your area they might have trouble getting rid of them. kb

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hunting on craigslist or becoming a telemarketer asking yardwork companies if they would donate chips is on my loist of things to do ... but not right near the top even before my new neighbor brought her PhD in nagging to the neighborhood.

>> "the old guy " "that lives down the street" stories

Not sure ... but I can imagine. Unfortunately, I have several knife holders worth of kitchen knives, so if any police ever walk through my kitchen, their eybrows are likely to pop up.

mulege, Mexico

Could you ask "her" for the name of the tree company so's you can call them for several truckloads of chips? Ask nicely, now. kb

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

1. I'm not talking to her unless I CAN'T avoid it! The last time she ambushed me wshile I was worki9ng oputside, I ground my teeth for days. she really has a talent!

2. I don't want to give her satisfaction by acknowledging that she made them NOT leave any chips.

3. If she can find a double-talking excuse to refuse to give the name or number, I would be tempted to strangle her (heck, I'm tempted right now!) And that WOULD give me a reputation as hard to get along with.

I begin to see how the Hatfields and McCoys got into their feud.

Long Beach, CA


I like that hex thing! A girl has to do what a girl has to do!


Thumbnail by Rhapsody616
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Rhapsody616 - ^_^


Rickcory, If i understand you correctly, you planted on her property. Is this correct?

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