One of the things that usually comes to my mind when planting in containers, pots or in raised beds is if the soil still contains the right nutrient for the plants to grow and give good produce, do I have to change compost every growing season ? or maybe can compost be recycled and reused ? or is it possible to add more to it and still be okay? for that we have analyzed all the possibilities that came to our minds to give you an honest response to all of these questions :
Do I have to change compost every year ?
Depending on the plants that you are growing are they heavy feeders (tomatoes, pepper …) or not , the actual mix that you are using and the size of your growing space but as a rule : compost nutrients will be majorly consumed in the end of the growing season, you need to change it with new compost and use the old one for a different purpose or revive it.
Now let’s watch this video and go into much more details below :
What will happen if i leave the compost for too long?
Even thought the compost will continue it’s degradation phase for long after being used as a source of nutrients but most of it’s components will be used by the plants during one growing season and if you keep using the same over and over without any added resources your plants are going to suffer from a lack of ingredients which will limit the growth of them making it easy to catch diseases and won’t be able to produce the healthy veggies you’re used to have, they might even grow and don’t give you any produce.
How to revive old compost ? to use it again.
there are several ways you can revive the old compost and use it in different forms in your garden but before you can do those, you have to make the necessary check to make sure you are not harming your new plantation :
Make sure that your compost isn’t infected : ( do a check )
Disease are really harmful to your plants especially the new planted seedlings, if your precedent plant have died from some sort of diseases or it has been infested with insects then this should be a sign that your compost might be also infected so make sure it doesn’t have some harmful insects or escargots in it.
if it is in perfect condition and just has a lack of nutrients, begin by removing all sorts of roots that must stick in it
(this might be a good chance to verify if some sort of insects or fly has been hidden inside of it).
Introduce some nutrients to it :
There is two main ways to do that :
You can mix the old compost with new freshly produced compost, and they should work fine providing the right nutrient for the plants, as we said even the old compost is still decomposing but in a slow pace so mixing it with a ratio of 50:50 should make a great resource for the plants during their growing cycle.
You can add a balanced fertilizer to your old compost to reintroduce nutrients to it (make sure they are slow release organic fertilizers) read carefully the instructions on the fertilizers because you don’t want to over feed the compost and that could damage your plants.
In what frequency should I change compost ?
this will depend on the surface you are planting in if you plant in a large field separa
ting the plants from each others or growing heavily in small size containers with a limited soil, you know your garden best but generally in both sides try to add some nutrients in order to get satisfying results
Should I change the compost for my indoor plants ?
For indoor plants, changing the compost to revive the soil is favorable for the plants to grow more and improve their health , you can do this operation once a year for potted plants but try not to shock the plants by removing all the soil from it which will kill the plant, you can do this operation by moving the soil in the pot and adding a extra layer of new compost, most indoor plants aren’t heavy feeders so this should be fine.
How can I recycle compost that is no longer usable ?
If by now you judge that your compost if fully used and it doesn’t have much of nutrients, there are other ways to recycle the compost and still make use of it :
- you can use it as mulch : compost has the ability to store water and could be a great resource
- cover your garden from the frost with it
- use it in parts of your garden that doesn’t need much nutrients
Can I reuse compost from my diseased plants ?
if your compost is tired and begin to catch diseases it’s preferable to get rid of it and do not use it again, because it’s doing to cause you problems and won’t be easily fixed, so we suggest putting it aside from your planting.
Is the compost good for preventing diseases ?
Compost contain some good bacteria that help decompose it and are good for the soil but compost isn’t a cure for plant diseases, it can prevent the plants from catching diseases simply by providing the necessary ingredients for them to grow healthy and be able to resist and face those obstacles, but if the plants are catching some sort of diseases there is no point on putting some compost trying to cure them, it’s a waste of resources and it isn’t going to work.
To summarize it all :
- Using compost for too long could make your plants suffer from a lack of nutrients
- Before trying to revive your compost , make sure there’re no diseases or insects that can harm your plants
- you can revive it by either mixing it with new compost or introducing balanced fertilizers
- if you have taken all sorts of nutrients out of your compost and doesn’t want to add fertilizers you can use it as mulch and cover your beds from the frost
- you can add layers of compost to your pots and bring up the necessary nutrients for them
- compost from diseased plants isn’t usable
- compost isn’t a cure for plant disease it just make them sufficiently healthy to face it.
If you want to know the best technique to make good quality compost on your own check Our Ultimate guide on composting HERE