Did We Buy Too Much Compost?


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Any experienced gardeners out there that have thoughts and advice on whether we used the right amount and the right technique for amending our brand new garden? We'd really appreciate any help!
Thank you!!!
 
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Any experienced gardeners out there that have thoughts and advice on whether we used the right amount and the right technique for amending our brand new garden? We'd really appreciate any help!
Thank you!!!
Your garden soil, if 6 inches deep, is 64 cu. ft. You added 15 cu. ft of compost or about 1/4 the volume of the soil. You could have doubled the compost. For long term soil additives add GreenSand and Lava Sand. Green Sand is full of minerals and will last 2 or 3 years and after that only a small amount is needed each year. Lava sand lasts forever. It helps maintain oxygen and correct moisture levels. I use only organic fertilizers. There are many nationwide organic fertilizers such as Espoma and Fox Farm. If the bag has OMRI on it, it is a good fertilizer. Fertilize the soil in advance of when you plant. There are many other soil additives that one would use for a specific purpose but they are normally used after planting. Compost breaks down and should be replaced next year. Compost and fertilizer is broken down into nutrients by soil microbes and these nutrients are made available to the plants by these same microbes so it makes sense that one would want as many of them as possible. The best way I know of to increase microbial numbers is to use molasses. Horticultural molasses supplies carbohydrates needed by all of the micro-organisms in the soil and greatly enhances their numbers. Please update your profile as to where you are located and your hardiness zone so if you have any questions we will be better able to help.

Having said all of this what you have done so far is outstanding. Successful gardening is not easy but getting off to a good start will make it a very enjoyable experience. If you have any questions don't hesitate...................
 
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Wow! Great information, thank you @Chuck !
I updated our profile as you suggested.
Thank you for the advice and also for the supportive comment!
You seem to be very knowledgeable! We hope you will consider subscribing to and following our video series all growing season long and helping answer the questions that arise. We think this video series could be a great resource for other new gardeners down the road. We hope you'll consider it!
Anyway, thanks again very much!!
 
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You need to incorporate the compost down deeply in the soil, "VERY DEEP" below the surface and mix it well. You need to turn it very often to get it working for you, just piling it on top of the ground will not help you. The compost WILL NOT be feeding the plants in the beginning because the microbes have to break the compost down first. If you mix the soil and compost very well the soil will feed the plants until the compost is broken down later.

After mixing the soil with the compost its time to take a soil sample, and have it tested at the University. The test will tell you what pH you have the CEC, and different nutrients to see what you have in your bed to work with. That way you won't be guessing and you will know exactly what you have in your Grow. Soil test will cost you about $25 to $30 and you can get a recommendation from the pros at the Lab.
 
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Thanks @oneeye !
We incorporated it about six inches; sounds like that might not have been deep enough...
$30 seems like a reasonable investment in order to have some definitive information, something we will definitely consider.
Thanks again for the information and advice!
 
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It would be irresponsible to advise gardeners and other plant enthusiasts to apply anything , or any chemical, without regard to soil conditions, plant needs, and environmental health.
 
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You're fine with the amount of compost you've added (not sure its possible to add too much) and don't worry about the tilling depth. There are tons of successful market gardeners (and home gardeners) that grow directly in compost that is simply piled up on the undisturbed native soil (Youtube Charles Dowding, Josh Sattin, and others to see what its all about). Worms and soil microbes will work the organic matter into the soil more effectively than a tiller and with less damage to soil structure.

That said you should absolutely get a soil test from a professional lab, if your state has an extension service you may be able to get this done inexpensively. This will allow you to address any issues that compost won't address in the short term.
 
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