Using compost at this part of the season #406237 - Ask Extension

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Using compost at this part of the season #406237

Asked June 11, 2017, 5:02 PM EDT

Dear experts: As they say, we should all have this problem. We planted maybe a week late in good-quality topsoil that has compost mixed in. Indeed the topsoil looked great, but we don't know how much compost is in it. Our plants are a little smaller than some in our community garden. I just bought some compost that is composed of worm casings, I think they are called. My understanding is that this is very high-quality stuff. Would it be a good idea to use this at this point in the season? Would it be a good technique to side-dress our plants, and if so, how often? I have heard of compost "tea". Is this a better idea? If so, should I just soak some of the casings in an excess of water and use thtat? Lots of questions, I know! Thanks as always.

Howard County Maryland

Expert Response

You did not mention what vegetables you are growing. Take a look at our Vegetable Profiles for care and fertilizer recommendations for each plant. http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable

If you have added compost this season, see how your plants are growing. If the plants are smaller you could be dealing with other issues like spacing, drainage, low soil pH, hot dry weather, excessive rainfall, etc. See our website for more information http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable

If the plants are growing well, you do not need to add the castings.  When replanting you can incorporate the castings into the existing soil at that time or you can side dress with the castings. 
Look at each Vegetable Profile for information on side dressing your crops. 

 mh
Dear mh - thanks for the advice. It is very helpful. I am probably just an anxious gardener and I will be more patient. Last year we incoported some composted horse manure that was given to us that the plants seemed to love. We have a variety of vegetables. Again, thanks for the information. I really appreciate it. -Jim
The Question Asker Replied June 12, 2017, 2:12 PM EDT

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