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10 messages
17/09/2012 at 22:01

Hi all,

        im quite new to gardening and still learning so please forgive my ignorance.

My question is this....what does everybody do with the previous years compost ? I know that many put it on borders and raised beds but surely if you have a small garden, you can only do this so many times before soil levels reach there limits ? Is it ever possible to reuse it?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or answers.

17/09/2012 at 22:16

In answer to the first part of  the question for some reason you can keep adding compost, particularly if you grow annuals and pull them out for composting.

Now I do reuse some of my compost and this is where you will need to do a bit of research. It seems that this is not advised for veg growing but if you are growing flowers there are less diseases that spread. I do sieve my compost in the spring and look for vine weevil grubs, also I add extra fertilizer.

Additionally I add spent compost to my compost bin.

17/09/2012 at 22:26

Hi, rovnos

Not sure why beds don't over flow if you keep adding compost, the thought had crossed my mind but after 3 years off adding compost the level is pretty much the same now as it was then It's had bags of horse and mushroom compost added over the years along with leaf mould. The term 'rot down' is used lot so presumably it does just that and reduces in volume.

I reuse some of my compost from pots, not always advisably though, as there might be pests in it which when reused could contaminate your fresh pots, a risk I'm prepared to take. Old compost is also lacking in nutrients to feed new plants so needs fertilizer adding. I add this when reusing it and also mix with home grown compost.

I'm sure others will have different advise.

17/09/2012 at 22:43
I think levels do rise when you add compost. Just as in the compost heap the levels fall dramatically during decomposition but you still get high percentage of volume remaining. I top dress my lawn regularly and when I cut out parts of the lawn....to increase my borders....you can see the layers of compost in the grass turves. As long as there are no pests etc., I think it is fine to use old compost in the compost heap. It's difficult though because I think a lot of pests n diseases are spread by multipurpose composts. Vine weevils love these composts.
18/09/2012 at 07:49
rovnos wrote (see)

Hi all,

        im quite new to gardening and still learning so please forgive my ignorance.

My question is this....what does everybody do with the previous years compost ? I know that many put it on borders and raised beds but surely if you have a small garden, you can only do this so many times before soil levels reach there limits ? Is it ever possible to reuse it?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or answers.

Interesting point-take this as an example-if you added just an inch mulch to the beds each year in 12 years in theory you beds would be a foot higher-they are not and some add a good 2/3 inches-and there beds are not 2/3 foot higher

Or-if you consider that a farmer does muck spreading ever year and that bit of land may have been farmed for over 300 years we would all be living on our roofs by now.

Basically any compost or organic matter just gets worked into the soil and over time disappears much quicker than you can imagine so off you go again-so adding some spent compost to beds is not going to raise the level by any measurable amount

As regards re-using- some do just by adding fertilizer-I find that it is full off roots and not worth the hassle so spread that around or add to the compost bin and start afresh - the choice is yours

18/09/2012 at 09:33

I have an old plastic bin with lid that stands in a very hot corner near the garage (aka my potting shed). All old pots are emptied into the barrow until I have a heap then with a spade and fork knock back to soil, riddle the roots out with a large riddle and the soil then goes in the bin with a hand full of fertiliser and a wave over with the watering can.
It fills over the summer is left till spring and then mixed with good compost used as a mulch or to fill the base of a pot before topping off with good compost and the plant put in, this works for me.
I sieve some of it when I run out of JI and put it in the old Micro wave for a few minutes in my "err" potting shed that sterilises it so mixed with sand and grit becomes seed compost one third of each, seeds do not need nutrient at that stage just a medium to strike in then move them on.
My borders have been mulched for the near thirty years I have lived here and are no higher than they were?

Frank.

25/09/2012 at 08:07
A bit like Frank I riddle used compost but keep it in a spare dalek bin. I use it much as other posters have suggested, hadn't thought of sterilising it for seed sowing. Good tip Frank, thanks!
25/09/2012 at 11:17

I have taken all used compost down to my allotment hopefully it will help the soil down there as it is rather clayey ( is that a word?) Before i have always put it on the garden and it doent seem to have made the borders any deeper.

25/09/2012 at 14:23

Thanks to all the people who have taken the time to reply. Not only has it answered my questions but i've also picked up some useful tips 

Anyone wishing to add further, please do.

THANKS.

 

28/09/2012 at 17:56

http://www.ehow.com/how_5770689_rejuvenate-potting-soil.html

Found this and thought it might be of interest. Am waiting for a microwave to turn up on Freecycle so I can use it for sterlizing - apparently it's a bit of a smelly process.

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