5 ways to use compost

compostUsing compost at the right time and in the right place is an important aspect of organic gardening.

Many people think you just use it in the odd container or dig it into your vegetable beds during autumn, but compost can be used in far more ways than you might think!

Today we’re talking about using compost for houseplants, the lawn and for trees and shrubs!


For those with small gardens, I maintain you can still enjoy some self sufficiency and you can even grow food without a garden! Many crops can be grown in containers very successfully – try salad onions, lettuce and radishes in a sheltered window box or other container. Adding some compost to the mix will provide moisture retaining soil which your plants will love.


During spring it’s time to repot any pot bound plants. Choose a pot one or two sizes larger than the ones you have, add some drainage materials in the bottom such as gravel, and place some potting mix in the bottom. Repot the plant, water and apply a fine layer of compost over the surface of the soil.


Tomatoes love rich compost as a growing medium, so use it for your seeds. If you grow potatoes, add some compost, or a product such as manure from Compost Direct to the potato trench and mix it in for a bumper yield. Potato trenches are usually a foot deep and you can add 2 -3 inches of compost to the bottom of the trench.

The squash family such as marrows, courgettes (zucchini) and pumpkins like rich soil so dig a hole and fill the bottom with compost before refilling with soil. In fact they love rich soil so much you can actually grow them in your compost heap where they will thrive!

Runner beans can be planted in the same way to potatoes and will benefit from putting compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.


If you have bare patches on your established lawn, a sprinkling of compost before you sow the seed will be beneficial and establish healthy, strong roots.

If you are sowing a new lawn then do a final dig over and rake the surface of the soil. As you dig the ground, add some compost.

If your lawn needs some maintenance then add a fine sprinkling of compost on top of the lawn after cutting. Use 1/8 – ¼ inch and leave it to work into the ground to improve the health of the grass roots.

Trees, hedges and shrubs

Any young trees and shrubs love a dressing of compost on the soil around them to retain moisture and keep their roots cool. Don’t push it right up against the stem or trunk, but apply generously in a layer around the plants. Using grass clippings or mulch (Compost Direct again) is the perfect solution.

If you are planting a new hedge this year, put lots of compost in the bottom of the hole before planting.

If you have container grown trees and shrubs, you can carefully remove the top 5cm of soil and replace it with fresh compost during spring.

What about you – how do you use compost in your garden?