Keeping your yard, flower beds, gardens, and trees healthy and happy in Texas is no easy feat. In fact, both wild and cultivated plants suffer in the hot sun, high temperatures, dry conditions, and occasional heavy rains that dominate the weather here. Protecting your plants and trees from the elements and providing them with adequate food is imperative. Gardeners often rely on compost to help keep their Ennis, TX organic gardens in top condition. It's no wonder. Compost improves the soil, provides nutrients, holds in moisture, minimizes erosion, and helps deter pests.
What Is Compost?
The simplest definition of compost is that it is decomposed organic matter. Composting is a natural process that occurs whenever organic material such as leaves, plant materials, fruit and vegetable scraps are left to decompose. Over time, they are broken down and converted into a rich soil amendment full of nutrients, macro-organisms, and micro-organisms. In other words, it feeds the soil. It's often referred to by gardeners as Black Gold because of its value to the plants.
Is Compost Fertilizer?
One might argue that compost does add nutrients to the soil, it is not fertilizer. The distinct difference between the two is the simple fact that fertilizer is meant to feed the plants directly. That said, the two can, and do, certainly work together in the garden to benefit the plants. The organic matter in the compost soaks up the nutrients present in the fertilizer, releasing them when the plants need it most. Additionally, compost adds trace amounts of nutrients, such as boron, into the soil, further enhancing it.
Key Benefits of Compost in Ennis, TX
Adding compost to a garden, flower bed, or around trees provides the soil with rich organic materials that improve the soil quality. In turn, plants that grow in the soil receive higher levels of nutrition so they're able to grow stronger and healthier. Gardens benefit from compost in several key ways:
Incorporates Organic Matter
Decayed plant material releases organic matter into the soil that feeds micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and algae. It also provides food for macro-organisms like earthworms, arthropods, nematodes, and even mollusks. Together, these two important components ensure the health of the soil.
Adds Nutrients to the Soil
Compost is an amendment that improves the soil and makes it easy for the plants to make use of the nutrients it contains. It does contain low levels of plant nutrients, which contribute to plant growth, but its primary role is to improve the soil so that plants can easily feed themselves.
Improves the Soil Structure
Soil comes in all types and not every soil is capable of producing healthy plant growth. Compost helps improve the structure of all soil types. It's especially helpful for sandy and clay soils, which are common here in Texas. Compost helps to break up clay to promote drainage and improves moisture retention in the sand.
Reduced Soil Compaction
Hard, compact soil is difficult to work and nearly impossible for plants to grow in. What's more, nutrients and moisture have a difficult time making their way down into packed soil. When compost is added, the soil becomes less compacted, plant roots can penetrate deeper, nutrients seep in and the soil becomes productive.
Slows Soil Erosion
Wind and water runoff can cause the topsoil to erode, leaving nothing for plants and trees to sink their roots into. Over time, that topsoil loss translates into barren soil with no potential. A good layer of mulch, applied annually, helps to slow and even prevent erosion from destroying the soil.
Deters Pests and Diseases
While there is some debate among gardeners as to the effectiveness of compost to deter garden pests, it has been shown to indirectly help with the problem. Perhaps the biggest reason that plants and trees that have been composted resist infestations and diseases is because they are healthier and better able to cope.
Slow Nutrient Release
Compost slowly releases nutrients into the soil every time the garden is watered, when it rains, and as the material further decomposes. Typical commercial fertilizers, on the other hand, release their nutrients quickly and not all of it can be instantly absorbed. Slower release means fewer nutrients leach away and plants benefit.
Stops Weed Growth
Weeding the garden is a tedious task, but an important one. Weeds will take full advantage of any nutrients in the soil and eventually take over the garden plants if left unchecked. A layer of good, organic compost, however, helps stop most weeds from growing, making gardening easier and more productive.
Improves Garden Aesthetics
One of the reasons that people apply compost to the base of their trees, flower beds, and vegetable gardens is the fact that it improves their appearance. Healthy plants have more leaves and flowers, grow bigger, and ultimately produce better fruits than those that are struggling to survive.
Composting Tips for Gardeners
The best compost comes from dead leaves, plant materials, as well as fruit and vegetable peels and parts. Many gardeners prefer to make their own compost by simply piling plant material in a spot, or in a compost box, and turning it over on occasion. The heat produced from decomposition creates a beautiful, rich compost that can be added to the garden anytime. Always avoid adding anything that is not plant-based. For example, do not add meat scraps, pet waste, or human waste to the mix as these things can attract pests and release toxins into the soil.
Visit Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape in Ennis, Texas
Your yard and garden are important to you and you'll do whatever it takes to make sure the plants, trees, and shrubs in your Ennis, TX yard get the best of everything. At Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape, we share your passion for gardening and we invite you to contact us, or stop in to take a look around. We have an excellent selection of organic compost and potting soil that is locally sourced so you can rest assured it's suitable for your soil. If you're just beginning, we'll be happy to mix up a rich soil and compost blend that will get your project off to a great start.
Visit the Premiere Garden Supply Store in Ennis, Texas
We love our garden supply store, and we think you will, too. Visit us at the following hours:
Give Us a Holler!
If you want to learn more about organic gardening in Ennis, Texas, or you need some organic gardening supplies, come on in and talk to us. At Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape, we believe that providing the best products, hometown friendly atmosphere, and superb customer service is what good neighbors do.
Or, you can always contact us online and we'll get back to you.
We're passionate gardeners ourselves and we understand how important your organic garden is. From bagged top soil to organic fertilizers, plants, trees, and gardening tools, we've got everything you need to get going. And, if you ever have a question, or need some help, we'll be happy to lend a hand.