According to the traditional viewpoint, the compost soil is ready as soon as all the waste has decomposed to dark brown, scented organic matter. This takes 1-3 years from the start. Depending on the application, you can, however, use the compost much earlier.
From a well-functioning household waste composter you can empty valuable product already after 6-8 weeks: cover soil, by which we mean the semi-mature compost mass In it the decomposing has proceeded far enough for household waste and yard waste to have already decayed. Wood splinters, needles and other harder waste have not yet decomposed. At this stage, the compost has already passed the hot phase. Cover soil is a quite coarse, stimulating soil conditioner. It still contains a lot of non-decomposed matter and attracts the natural soil micro-organisms to your vegetable plot. While using cover soil, it is important to keep in mind that it still requires oxygen for completing the decomposing process. You must not bury it too deep, for example, at the bottom of a flowerbed. A non-mature compost may also contain substances that are harmful to the plants, so it must not come in contact with the roots of the plants.
In spring and in summer semi-mature composts makes an excellent cover on the soil surface. After the soil has warmed up, spread a layer a few cm thick of it, for example, around the roots of the bushes. The cover keeps the soil moist and activates the soil micro-organisms, in particular the earthworms.
In the autumn you can spread cover soil on the vegetable plot and mould it into the soil using a garden tiller.
Compost to be used in the growing media must be well-matured. Mature compost is dark and smooth and it has a pleasant scent. At this stage you may still be able to spot, for example, eggshells or branch bits in the compost. They do not hamper the use of compost. If you want the compost to be spread, for example, on the lawn to be absolutely neat, screen off the coarse matter using a screen of about 10 mm and return the refuse to the compost.
Not even a mature compost is good for growing medium as such. You can improve its properties by mixing 3 parts of fertilized horticultural peat with 1 part of mature compost. An easy way to accomplish the mixing is to use, for example, a garden tiller on the vegetable plot or at the flowerbed to be created. As essential nitrogen fertilizer you can add Biolan Natural Fertilizer granules in accordance with the instructions on the bag.
If you wish to make the most of the compost soil, do not let it mature too long. The organic matter in the compost keeps decomposing. Therefore, the compost does not improve, but on the contrary, it loses its vital force and nutrients as it gets old.
The fertilizing qualities of the compost soil depend on its raw materials. Compost that primarily consists of household and garden waste is usually quite poor in nutrients. The nutrients it contains are slowly soluble and have a long-lasting impact on the soil. This kind of compost is best suited to be used as long-term soil conditioner or slowly soluble nutrient storage for plantations, such as trees, bushes and perennials. In addition, the essential fertilization of each individual plant also needs to be taken care of.
Many garden plants, such as cabbage, cucumber, tomato, leek etc. need strong and quick-acting fertilization in order to grow and produce a good yield. They should be fertilized using, for example, the rich-in-nutrients Biolan Natural Fertilizer. Using the compost soil intensifies the benefit gained from the Natural Fertilizer by stimulating the activity of the soil micro-organisms. This means, the plants are able to make efficient use of the nutrient reserve in the soil and organic fertilizers during the growing season.
To achieve a good impact as soil conditioner, it is best to spread the compost on the soil in connection with tilling in spring. Then the nutrients of the compost will not run off from the field with rain in the autumn and spring. In spring, the compost to be moulded into the soil must be mature so that it will not disturb the germination of the seeds. You can apply 30-50 litres of compost per square metre in one go, i.e. a layer 3-5 cm thick.