Gardening Myths: Compost

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Gardening Myths: Compost

Even the most experienced gardener has mistaken gardening myths for facts.  It’s a part of being human.  We take advice from others and assume they are wisdom!  Even more, the Internet has made it very easy for gardening myths to be presented as fact!  Here are some gardening myths about compost and the facts to counter them!

Compost is eco-friendly, sustainable, and rich in beneficial microorganisms.  It comes from the natural decomposition process of waste that would otherwise end up in already overcrowded landfills.  Like many things, however, there are many myths about compost that aren’t true.  It’s important to separate myth from fact.

Compost is Soil

This popular myth is both untrue and potentially dangerous for your plants.  Compost is not soil.  It is a soil amendment.  What does this mean?  Well, unlike soil, you should not plant directly in compost.  Instead, mix compost with a healthy topsoil to increase its nutritional value for your plants.

Compost is Humus

Compost and humus are two terms that are often used interchangeably.  This, however, could not be further from the truth.  Compost is organic material that is in a state of decomposition.  Humus, on the other hand, is the finished state of decomposition.  In other words, compost is “active” and humus is “inert.”  Compost contains humus, but it is not the same thing.

New Plants Only

Another popular myth is that compost is only to be used with new plantings.  This is simply not true.  Compost can be used in a variety of ways.  Mix compost into existing soil to add nutrition.  Use compost as a topdressing to nourish your lawn.  Regardless of how you use compost, it will be very beneficial for your soil and both new and existing plants.

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