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Using Compost in Your Vegetable Garden

Date Posted: January 25, 2016

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Using Compost in Your Vegetable Garden
photo credit: Shutterstock

Using compost in your vegetable garden is the number one thing you can do to create nutrient rich soil that your vegetable plants need in order to grow and thrive. Using compost is very easy, and easier yet, is getting your hands on it.

You can make your own organic compost, with a compost pile (we’ll talk about more on that in a moment), or you can even find some compost for sale at your local home or garden center.


Defining compost is straight forward. Compost is what`s left after organic material has been broken down by organisms such as worms and/or bacteria. The end result is a rich, earthy smelling organic compost that can be used as a plant fertilizer.


How to make compost is very easy. If you have some extra space on your property you can start a compost pile,or create your own compost bin. Making a compost bin, or your very own homemade composter, is very easy. I will touch on that shortly.

Whether you have a compost pile or your own compost bin, the best way on how to make compost is save and use all of your kitchen scraps. You do not want to use meat or dairy leftovers as they can attract unwanted pests and rodents to your compost pile or compost bin.


A compost pile is as exactly how it sounds. A pile of compost. To create your own compost pile, you just simply pile on all of the organic material I talked about earlier. You can also throw in grass clippings, leaves, twigs and so on. These items are also great for creating a great compost pile.

Every few days just be sure to turn the compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel so you can keep it well aerated. This allows the good bacteria to do their job properly. Your compost pile will turn to a rich, organic matter that we gardeners refer to as black gold.


Here`s a quick video to show you exactly what should be going into your compost pile.

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Making a compost bin, or a homemade composter, is very simple. Actually, it can be very easy, but you can also make some advanced compost bins as well. We’ll keep it simple here for our homemade composter.

Take a plastic storage tub and drill some holes in the bottom, sides and lid. Start throwing your organic material into your new homemade composter. As a side note, I like to shred up some newspaper and throw it on top after I have thrown in my material. It helps keep the smell down, which can happen if you do not turn it regularly.

If you are keeping your homemade composter indoors, you will need a tray to go underneath of it to catch any liquids that escape through the holes in the bottom. You will also need to throw in some worms, preferably red wigglers, to help speed up the breakdown process. Also, do not simply throw this liquid away, pour it in your garden beds.

As with a compost pile, you will want to turn over your compost in your homemade composter to keep it well aerated.


Using compost is where the magic begins for your vegetable garden. Well, it’s not actually magic, just simply nature doing what it has always done since the beginning of time.

When using compost, be very liberal with it. The more the better I always say. The more compost you can mix in with your garden, the better your soil will be. Compost replenishes the nutrients in your soil that your plants need to grow. As you can imagine, using compost, and plenty of it, will give you the healthiest nutrient rich soil you will ever have.

But let’s say your garden is planted. Is using compost still possible while it is gardening season? The answer is absolutely yes! Take your compost and add a one to two inch layer of it around the base of your garden plants, about a half inch from their stems and stalks. Through rain and watering, the compost will work it’s way into your soil.


Yes, just like anything else these days, you will find compost for sale. This comes in handy if you live in a small apartment, condominium or have very little space to create your own compost.

I would recommend that you try and make your own first, since it is easy and virtually free, but if you simply cannot, try to find some good organic compost for sale, either at a local home or garden center, or online such as these compost varieties on Amazon.

Now get out there and start creating your own compost. Your garden will reward you for it!

Happy gardening!

Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!

Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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If you want to learn more about compost, check out these titles below:


best compost for vegetable garden, mushroom compost for vegetable garden, add compost to garden in fall or spring, how to mix compost into soil, when to add compost to perennial garden, best compost for garden beds, black kow, adding compost to lawn

Discuss Using Compost in Your Vegetable Garden on our Gardening Forum


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