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Spring composting

Hi everyone, sorry for spamming the forum with questions over the last couple of months! All your advice is always so helpful

I've had my garden for about 6 months now and it was just lawn - no beds, and not a single tree or plant.  In late summer/autumn I dug some beds, added some MPC and compost-enriched topsoil, and planted a bunch of plants & shrubs. That was mistake #1 - obviously I should have dug in plenty of organic matter throughout the whole bed *before* planting.

My soil texture is not good - it's pale and clumpy, so I'm thinking it must have clay, while also being shallow and sitting above solid chalk? I'd like to improve it. I was thinking of adding lots of good compost into the soil in Spring (this one:, but I can't seem to figure out the answer to some of my questions:

1. Can I let the compost sit on top of the soil for the worms to work down? The garden is tiny so it'd be placed around the relatively dense planting I've already got. I don't think I could dig it in without disturbing my young plants.

2.  I'd like to plant some more perennials, annual seedlings & direct-sown annuals. Can I compost first then plant into that?

Alternatively I could just plant in Spring and wait until Autumn to place compost over all the beds


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199
    You can just add organic matter around your existing plants @puschkinia and it'll get worked in. No need to dig. It's just slightly trickier when there are plants already there, but will benefit your soil over time. You can add a thin layer at regular intervals, which will be easier than doing one thick layer. 
    Of course, the problem with that is your annuals, so it really depends which matters most to you, but if you only add thin layers, you would still be able to plant your annuals or perennials into the borders  :)

    You can certainly wait until autumn, and just add a thick layer at that point.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ok lovely, thank you! A thin layer at regular intervals sounds perfect :)
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