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Should You Use Homemade Compost as Mulch?
And that’s about perfect. That’s a really nice consistency. There’s no smell to it. So that’s good. It squeezes together, so it’s going to hold more moisture. And also, it’s quite crumbly now.
It’s broken down almost to soil state, there’s still some bits of straw and stuff in there. But this compost is absolutely perfect for spreading as a mulch over your flowerbeds and your vegetable beds. It’s clean to touch. There’s no diseases or anything in it, so it’s not going to hurt anybody.
And to think that that’s all come from this sort of material, this is what we’ve been putting into it this year. Paper shreddings, leaves, teabags, but 18 months ago, that’s what this compost heap looked like and we’ve turned it over, as I say, three or four times and given it compost accelerator just to speed the thing along, get bacteria into there. It’s actually getting better the deeper down I’m getting.
Why Use Homemade Compost as Mulch
So this is a bed, that we’ve had squash plants in and because the squash plants are quite greedy plants. We need to rejuvenate the soil. I’ve not dug over it, I’ve just taken the plants out.
So what I’m going to do is just going to cover it over with a layer of compost. This was full last spring and because of the goodness that the squash plants have taken out, it’s actually used up quite a bit the compost. There’s not a lot of nutrients in here now. So we don’t have to keep buying new compost every year, which is expensive… And if you do use peat, which we shouldn’t be doing now, it’s not good for the environment.
So making your own compost, it’s cheap because all this is just waste and it’s better for the environment as well. And that will feed the compost that’s already in there for next year. And you’ll find that any worms or anything that’s in the raised bed will come up and they’ll feed on that and take it down into the soil for you.
They’ll do the work for you, and you can actually plant straight through into the compost because it’s well rotted.
When Not to Use Manure as Mulch
If you put just straightforward manure on it, what you find is it will burn any plants that touch it. Squash plants, courgettes, that sort of thing, are quite robust and they’ll take it but, other plants won’t. And another reason not to put manure straight onto your garden as well is if you’re going to grow things like parsnips or carrots, it tends to make them fork because the soils too rich, so you are better off letting it rot down. All the nutrients are released quicker as well. And it puts bulk into your into compost, which is again, good for the plants.