Spreading compost in Fall or Spring??

flowersnhens(Maine 4)July 19, 2009

HI there,,,I have been making my own compost for a couple years now. I had very good luck with my first try. I ended up with Black Crumbly Moist Soil. I was quite pleased. I now have a big compost bin made with wooden pallets that I started last fall,,Started with all the leaves from the yard, and grass clippings as well as all the kitchen scraps, old straw and chicken coop manure. I just turned it completely over for the first time,,and it is really starting to look great, but not quite ready yet. My question is this: Is it best to spread it on the veggie garden this fall??? Or should I wait until spring??? I am wondering if I spread it on this fall,,will it be just as fertile after overwintering in the garden all winter?? (temps go down to subzero here). Should I let it stay in the compost bin and add to it through winter?? or spread it when it is done this fall????? How long will it provide a good balance of nutrients to my garden???

AND: This particular bin is in mostly shade. Is that ok?? Or should I move it to a more sunny spot??? My last one sat in part sun/part shade. I have this one out of sight from the road,,so it is in a shadier spot this year. Any comments are greatly appreciated.


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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Congratulations on having such a nice batch ready to use. Spread it whenever its convenient for you. It will do the garden good no matter what.

An advantage to spreading it in the fall is that you can go out in late winter to get a soil sample and have it tested. Then you'll have time to do any adjustment your soil needs before spring planting.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 10:29PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

I'm going to spread mine in the fall mainly because it takes forever for a large pile to unthaw in the spring and I like to get going as soon as I can
And any runnoff of nuitrients will be in the garden at least
Wish we could play with the dirt in the late winter(:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 10:45PM
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jbann23(6 RI)

Well, Mom Nature spreads her stuff in the fall and I guess that's the way to go. Organic growers try to imitate nature's way since so much grows around us with no attention whatsoever. No shovel there. Put your compost on the surface and let it work itself in - it will. It'll keep the weeds down, keep the soil cool, feed the lower soil, and it looks quite OK. Yes, it takes time, maybe a year, but you'll have some very healthy plants in the future.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 11:53PM
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Since the nutrients in compost are fairly stable you can spread your compost anytime you have it ready to spread and it would make little difference since the nutrients need the activity of the Soil Food Web to be made available to the plants. Spring, fall, now, then whenever you have some to spread.
If your compost pile freezes during the winter it may be too wet.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 7:21AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I also spread it just whenever it's finished or close to being finished. I used some this week just to make more room in my bins for new materials.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 8:25AM
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Don't worry about sun or shade for a compost heap, unless you are planning to grow something in it - put it where it is most convenient for you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 2:03PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Wow,,,Thank you for all the great comments. I appreciate it. I guess I will give it a little more time and spread it on the garden in late september or early october before everything freezes.

Thanks again, Courtney

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 7:50PM
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