"Should Compost Be Applied To Gardens In The Fall?" By Jim Hole

I was speaking at the Compost Council of Canada’s ‘Organics Recycling’ Conference in Calgary on Monday. It was great show and I learned a lot about what is happening in the world of composting highlighted by the opening of the City of Calgary’s massive new composting facility.
 
Yet, while these enormous are impressive, the conversion of organic "waste" to compost always operates at a microscopic level. A presentation on the microbiology of soils and composting reminded me that healthy soils are teeming with life. For example, a single teaspoon of soil holds more individual microorganisms than then the total number of people on earth! And one quarter of all of the earth’s species live in soil.

 So when you enrich the soil in your yard with compost, an incredibly diverse, an huge group of beneficial microbes team-up to improve your soil quality. The result is the plants in your yard are much healthier, more productive, and more resilient.

I’m often asked if compost should be applied in the fall to gardens. The answer is a resounding yes! Compost should be worked into the soil in the fall to increase soil organic matter so that it is available for plants to utilize first thing in the spring.
 
I like to add a 5 cm layer of SeaSoil compost to my garden in the fall. Even if I don’t find the time to work it into the soil, it’s rich, brown colour looks great as a "mulch". Besides, surface applied composts will still eventually work their way below the soil surface.
 
Remember that soils never rest. Soils lose organic matter if it’s not added regularly. As the saying goes, "nature abhors a vacuum" which, with respect to soil, translates to "nature abhors bare soil". Adding your own compost or great alternative composts, like SeaSoil, to your garden keeps Mother Nature happy!
 

-Jim Hole