Compost Mini FAQ Part 2

Here's a continuation of my mini FAQ on the benefits and concerns and all things to do with compost.

7. Can I put leaves on a compost heap?

Of course, as long as you mix them up with other plant matter to form a good mixture of different types of organic debris. Leaves on their own will rot down but take a long time.

Alternatively, if you wanted to produce leaf mould, which is a type of compost that can be used in many different situations, the easist way is gather all the leaves you sweep up and place them all together in a large black plastic bag and tie it shut. Poke some holes in the sides with a garden fork and then leave the bag in a corner of the garden for a full year.

In that time it should have rotted down nicely into a good pile of humous-rich leaf mould.

8. Should I dig compost into the soil or leave it on top?

You can and should do both, especially if your soil is in poor condition and in need of some TLC. Digging compost into the soil a few weeks before planting starts is a great way of enriching and feeding the soil.

The amount you dig in really depends on how much compost you have and the general condition of the soil. A rule of thumb is that the poorer the soil the more compost you should dig in.

Once you have planted out your crops, mulch them with a layer of compost. This will help the soil retain moisture and protect the plants from the worst infestations of pests and diseases as it naturally strengthens plants boosting their own natural defences against these.

9. Can I use compost for pot plants?

Yes, absolutely! You should mix compost with equal amounts of sterile soil and sharp sand to make a great potting mixture. To sterilise soil, place some on a baking tray about an inch or two thick but no more and place it in a hot oven for twenty minutes or so to kill weed seeds and soil-bound diseases.

Make sure the cook of the house doesn't find out though!

That's it for this part of the mini FAQ. I'll post more at a later date, or if anyone has any questions not covered, leave me a comment and I'll respond and even put your question with my answer in the next part of the mini-FAQ.