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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old May 31, 2015   #1
gunrunner
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Default Compost question

This is the first year I have made my own compost. I plant my tomatoes in a small
flower bed and after planting I cover the area with mulch to hold moisture and keep down weeds. Is is ok to put compost on top of the mulch? Would it even do any good, since I can't work it into the soil?

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Mike
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Old May 31, 2015   #2
Labradors2
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Mike, I usually add my (aged) compost to the planting hole, but you can still use some. Hopefully, you have a hole in the plastic around each tomato stem. You can add some compost there and the nutrients will soak in with each watering. Hopefully, your compost is aged (should look like loose soil with no identifiable components).

Linda
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Old June 2, 2015   #3
Mike723
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Hey Mike (and linda =) )
I would move the mulch aside and put the compost on top of the soil itself and then replace the mulch.. It will benefit the plants more to be in contact with the soil.. If you have a small hand rake (three prongs) you can mix it in to the top inch or so but just be careful not to get to close the plants.. How long have they been in the ground? If they weren't planted more than a week or two ago you should be ok to disturb the top layer - I wouldn't any closer than 4-6" around the stem though..
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Old June 2, 2015   #4
gunrunner
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Mike723

Thanks for the info. Are you saying that the compost SHOULD NOT touch the stem of the plant? My plants have been in ground for over a month and are about 41/2 feet tall with several green tomatoes on them. Is the conpost too strong to touch the plants or is it something else?

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Mike
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Old June 2, 2015   #5
Mike723
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It's never a good practice to place things directly against plant stems.. By "things" I'm referring to top dressed fertilizer, mulch, compost etc.. Things like mulch and compost can cause decomposing issues when pressed right snug up against trees, plants etc... I always leave a small 1-2" gap around anything I plant..

At that size I wouldn't work the ground much (or at all) around the plants.. Simply hand spread the compost on the soil (from the drip line of the plant to 1-2" from stem) and then recover it with your mulch.. Between watering in and soil life, some nutrients should get down to the root zone soon enough..

Last edited by Mike723; June 2, 2015 at 10:44 AM.
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