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Video:Adding Compost to Soil

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Adding compost to soil is an excellent way to give your garden much needed nutrients and extra moisture. Learn this simple technique & flex your green thumb today!See Transcript

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Transcript:Adding Compost to Soil

Hi, I'm Sam Barrett, owner of Sam Barrett Designs.  We are an urban landscape company here in New York City and I am here today for About.com to show you how to add compost to your garden soil.

Benefits of Compost

Adding compost to your soil is one of the best things you can do for your plants.  It gives them much needed nutrients.  It helps retain moisture in the soil, acting like a sponge.  Overtime, it helps to build organic material in the soil. 

Compost acts as a mulch, helping to insulate your soil from changing temperatures.  In the winter, it helps keep the roots warmer.  In the summer, it helps to keep the roots cool.
The compost we are using today is an aged manure. 

Spread the Compost

To spread compost, you need a few basic tools.  You need a shovel and some sort of rake to mix the compost into the soil. 

There's 3 techniques to spreading compost.  Three different approaches, one is side dressing, one is broadcasting, and the other is dumping and spreading.  I am going to start by showing you how to side dress.  We are going to side dress these two hostess here.

Have one shovel full at a time and I just spread the compost around the base of these shrubs, sort of around the drip line.  The drip line is just around the perimeter of the bush.  Spread.  You want to be careful not to put the compost too close to the plant.  We do not want to damage the stem or suffocate the crown of the plant.  Plants like to have air.

Now that it is summer time, this compost will help to insulate the roots, keeping the soil cooler, helping retain moisture, so the plants do not get too thirsty.  Now that is side dressing.  Now that we have the compost spread around the base, we are going to switch tools and we are going to mix the compost in with about 1-1/2 inches into the soil.  So we are just going kind of stir it over real carefully

Broadcasting

The next technique we are going to use is broadcasting and all we are going to do is take a shovel full of compost and we are just going to spread it around.  Usually you want to spread it out about 1/2 inch or 1 inch thick, all depending on how recently your compost would last and we are just going to stir it in, about 1-1/2 inches, 2 inches deep.  The great thing about compost is that its age and its slow release.  You are just building your soil.

Dumping & Spreading

Our third technique is dump and spread.  Now we’ve used a lot of this compost already in the bed showing you the other techniques, but it is pretty basic.  It is dumping and then we are just going to take our rake and spread this compost out.  We will rake it all around the bed to give a nice even coverage.  

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