When and How to Add Compost to Perennial Garden Beds

With the right time, care, attention and resources, your perennial garden beds can thrive in the next few years. What is one of the most important factors for planting healthy, lush and blooming plants? Soil health! Unfortunately, over time, the soil may compact, lose nutrients, or even change the pH value.

To sum up, there is a simple and convenient solution to restore your soil to life: compost! Adding compost to the soil will also provide sufficient nutrients for your plants.

Next, you'll find all the information about adding compost to a perennial garden bed, including details about the benefits of compost, when it should be added, and how the process works.

raised garden bed

Benefits of Composting

Adding compost to your perennial garden beds provides the soil with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This helps your plants grow, bloom and thrive. It should also increase the soil pH during the growing season. In addition, the material helps to maintain soil moisture and even prevent disease. Because of the nutrient content in compost, it is very suitable for killing possible problems.

Composting brings many benefits to your garden, but it is also environmentally friendly. By composting leftovers, shredded paper and cardboard products, even dead leaves and plants in the yard, you can reuse waste instead of throwing it into the landfill. Making compost yourself is also more economical because it reduces the need for large amounts of fertilizer. Not to mention, this is a more cost-effective option.

When to put compost in the garden beds

It is important to ensure that the compost is ready before it is added to the soil. Mature compost is dark brown, earthy, looks similar to soil, and the original material is no longer recognizable. Depending on the materials used, the size of the pile, and the frequency of rotation, it may take several weeks to a year for the compost to be ready for use.

Once you know the compost is ready, you can apply it in the fall. This will provide a strong basis for the growth of perennial plants, whether you plant them in autumn or spring. In addition, you can add compost to your perennial garden beds before the first frost as a form of insulation in winter.

For established perennials, it is not necessary to apply compost every year, but you should always test the soil to ensure that you are moving in the right direction. However, it is beneficial to add compost to the garden bed before planting new bulbs or shrubs.

Tools you need

Now that you know the benefits of composting and when to apply it, you need to collect some tools. Fortunately, necessities are the basic materials that many gardeners may already have.

Hand trowel
Gardening Glove

raised garden beds

How to add it

Step 1: Prepare the garden beds

The first step in adding compost to the garden bed is to prepare the area. Use a rake to remove any mulch. You can reuse the mulch or add it to the compost heap. Removing the mulch with a rake will also plough the soil.

If you do not have any mulch, it is still important to cultivate the soil to loosen the ground. If your plants have been established, please work around them and be careful not to disturb the roots.

This is also the time to plant perennial bulbs and shrubs to promote spring growth. Narcissus, tulips and crocuses are some good choices.

Step 2: Apply compost

Once you loosen the soil, apply a 2 to 3 inch layer of compost to the surface of the soil. You can add it to the top of planted bulbs and around the roots of established perennials. Cover it with a 3-inch covering, whether you choose straw, wood chips or other media.

Packaging the compost between the soil and the mulch will ensure that the compost remains moist, which is an ideal choice to attract beneficial insects such as earthworms. If there is enough time, earthworms will mix the compost into the soil.

Remember that too much fertilizer (compost) is given to established plants to make them grow longer legs and hinder growth. Use it wisely!

raised garden bed

Keep calm and compost!

Whether you choose to make compost yourself or buy it in the garden center, adding nutritious mixtures to your perennial garden bed is a simple and beneficial process.

You can finish the work in the autumn, or you can apply it as insulating material before frost, and compost it layer by layer between the soil and the mulch. Please remember to properly prepare the garden bed to avoid excessive use of the product.