How to Apply Compost


When it comes to organic gardening, the best fertilizer that you can find is compost. Compost is decomposed organic matter that resembles nutrient-rich, black soil. It can be used as a mulch above the soil, turned into the garden as a soil amendment or watered down to make a nutrient-filled compost tea.

Finished Compost

Step 1

Wait 1 month before planting to amend finished compost into the soil.

Step 2

Spread compost onto the surface of your garden with a shovel or garden fork.

Step 3

Turn finished compost into the soil to a depth of 1 to 3 inches with a rototiller.

Step 4

Spread compost evenly over lawns to a depth of 1/4 inch thick.

Unfinished Compost

Step 1

Time your compost application for fall when the unfinished compost is still fibrous.

Step 2

Spread unfinished compost directly onto the ground of your garden with a shovel.

Step 3

Apply unfinished compost around the perimeter of perennial roots rather than directly over the roots of the plant.

Compost Tea

Step 1

Place finished compost in a burlap bag.

Step 2

Place burlap bag in a 5-gallon bucket.

Step 3

Fill the 5-gallon bucket with water from a garden hose.

Step 4

Let tea solution sit for an hour.

Step 5

Remove burlap bag from bucket and dump the finished compost out in your garden.

Step 6

Use compost tea on potted plants, or as a spray for roses.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not till unfinished compost into the soil. The microbes present in unfinished compost can damage growing plants. Do not place unfinished compost directly on the stems of plants. Doing so can damage plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Finished compost
  • Rototiller
  • Unfinished compost
  • Shovel
  • Burlap bag
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Water


  • Florida's Online Composting Center
  • Applying Compost
  • Compost Application

Who Can Help

  • Compost Tea Brewing
  • When Should Compost Be Applied?
  • What Is Recycled Mulch and Compost?
Keywords: compost tea, preparing beds, amending soil

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.