okay to top dress 5-1-1 with compost?

njitgradApril 30, 2014

5-1-1 newbie here. I'd like to know if anyone here adds compost to their 5-1-1 mix either before planting (mixed in) or afterwards (top dressing) throughout the season? I never thought about this until now and I hope that the large amount of compost I started last year is actually going to serve some purpose.

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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

From the University of Vermont Extension:

"Issues with compost in potting mix. "In some ways, compost is like snowflakes" no two batches of compost are exactly alike. So while compost usually adds value to a potting mix, it can also add a measure of uncertainty about performance that is not the case with conventional mixes. Immature compost in particular can harm seedlings by releasing ammonia, or tying up nitrogen, or stunting growth because of organic acids that have not fully decomposed. To avoid these problems it is important to use only mature compost, and to buy it from a reputable source or to carefully make your own using a consistent supply of high quality ingredients."

More at the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/pottingmix.html

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:24AM
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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

(I do like, and use, compost myself for large outdoor containers, But I recognize those caveats. Most old gardening books talk about "well aged" compost for those reasons.)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:31AM
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I'm doing containers with 5-1-1 for the first time this year, but in the past I've used compost as top dressing on tomatoes and peppers, in amended soil, and they seemed to always pop out with more blooms for about 3-5 days every time I add it. But I'm not sure we're even talking about the same thing - I use compost from worms, so it's pretty consistent, not like a compost pile in the yard or bags from a store. This is kitchen scraps and shredded paper, cardboard, egg cartons, that kind of stuff. I only use the well finished, um, poop. :)
Lynn T

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 7:23PM
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