I bought 10 yards of compost from a contractor to fill my raised beds partially. I had some of my own homeade with leaf matter, vegetable scraps etc. ai mixed it all up and added perlite. My question is, can I grow in straight conpost, or is it advisable to add sand, etc.
The compost was hot when I got it, but nothing in it was recognizable. When you dig to the middle it's warm and smokey.
My natural thought is this stuff would be better served ontop of the soil. That being said I can't afford a load of regular topsoil.
Do you have wood chips you can add to it? If it's still steaming, it's likely to sterilize any seeds you plant into it. If it's cooled down to say 90F, that's the perfect temperature for starting watermelon.
I plant in compost all the time. If it's still hot, I'd turn it a few times and let it finish before planting seeds into it. Turn it twice a week and it'll be ready in a month.
My standard potting mix is 40% finished and screened compost, 40% sharp river sand, 20% normal soil from the garden. It drains well, has a ton of microbial life, and doesn't cost me anything. I've got a source for river sand where I get about 10 big 5-gal pails of the stuff (the outside curve of a river). That usually lasts me for 2 years.
It may be too hot because there was too much manure in the compost mix. If that's the case, it'll burn your baby plants, even if the compost is cool to the touch. You might be smart to scratch it into your soil and inch or two before planting into it. You'll still get all the benefits of the compost (microbial life) but it'll be integrated into the soil that the plants will eventually root into.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
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