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Question: timing

 
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Hello, Kate! Just wondering, is there a problem with using compost that isn't all the way broken down yet? Will it burn my plants or something? I've noticed nothing grows in the area where I turn my compost, so I thought maybe the young compost makes compounds that hurt plants?
 
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Why not use the unfinished compost to mulch around plants?

As long as the unfinished compost does not touch the plants there is no chance to burn them.

When it come down to timing that unfinished compost could be used to jump-start a new compost bed.
 
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Rebekah Harmon wrote:Hello, Kate! Just wondering, is there a problem with using compost that isn't all the way broken down yet? Will it burn my plants or something? I've noticed nothing grows in the area where I turn my compost, so I thought maybe the young compost makes compounds that hurt plants?



what method of composting are you using?  What are you composting?  What's your climate?  What's the weather like THIS year?  What is the goal of the composting?  If it's food, how's your rat situation?

For example, heat composting has a goal of not only making soil, but killing seeds and pathogens.  So if the goal includes the latter, then it's probably best to wait until it's finished breaking down.

Trenching composting has the compost matter dug into the garden fresh.

Mulch composting has the compost matter added to the garden fresh or after a bokashi method - either on top of the soil or beneath the mulch.  My grandfather favoured this method and we are still dealing with the rats it attracted.  

The electric composter we had in the apartment provided extra heat and ariation than the compost can produce on its own.  The instructions suggested applying it as a top dressing two inches away from the stems of the plants after one week - when the seeds and invisible beasties are dead, but the compost not fully broken down.


Then there's the climate and critter to consider.  Here if I apply compost as mulch in the summer, it dries out and creates a crust on the soil that prevents water and dew from getting to the roots.  Then we have mummified organic matter which takes forever to break down.  That is if the rats don't decide to help.

Other places have water that falls from the sky in the summer and can do this method of mulching with unfinished compost with great results.

Sorry.  The answer is "it depends, try a small sample and see if it works for your garden."
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