Compost: How to use.
Fully processed compost
Completely composted compost is similar to light and porous mud soil. Fully converted compost is used as fertilizer as the plants can immediately absorb the nutrients in it. Therefore, you should also use only fully-grown compost in the garden in the spring. In winter, the plants do not absorb the nutrients and therefore do not use because the nutrients are washed away by the rain.
It is very different how much nourishment is in compost. It depends on what you threw on the compost pile. Ordinary garden compost can usually meet the plants’ needs for phosphorus, potassium and lime, while it may be necessary to give the plants extra nitrogen fertilizers, especially the very nutrient-demanding and fast-growing plants such as vegetables and summer flowers. If you use only compost to fertilize your plants, nitrogen deficiency will develop over time and your plants will slowly gain yellowish leaves and lose some of their growing power. Nitrogen acts as fuel on the plant engine.
You can increase the nitrogen content in your compost by adding animal manure, such as the waste from chickens or some other form of barnyard manure.
As a rule of thumb, add a layer of compost of approx. 4 cm in the beds every 3-5. year or approx. 1 cm every year. If the compost is very nutritious, for example because it contains animal manure or larger amounts of green kitchen waste, you need to use half as much – i.e. only approx. 0.5 cm per year. Mix the compost into the upper soil layer with a grip or similar.
You will benefit most from your compost if you put it out in the early spring when the plants start to grow.
In the kitchen garden and in beds with summer flowers you can mix the top soil layer with 4 cm garden compost before planting or sowing. You should never sow in compost as the seeds can then have a hard time germinating.
Semi-digested compost is coarser, smells a bit acidic and still contains residues of not fully digested plant parts.
Semi-processed compost you can put in the beds on top of the soil. Here, the compost eventually forms completely and the nutrients are released at the same time so that the plants can absorb them. Semi-digested compost also improves soil structure and retains moisture in the soil.
You can put semi-processed compost in the beds in the fall. The nutrients are not washed out during the winter. They are bound in the compost and are released only when the temperature rises in the spring and the decomposition starts again.