I don't think I've ever really thought about whether there are good or bad times of the year to add compost to the garden - until this past weekend. I have always focused on how great fresh "home-made" compost is for an organic garden and just added it whenever it became available.
This weekend I was delighted to find that I had a lot of compost ready so I began top dressing some of my garden beds. Much of my pile behind the garden had fully broken down and the batch of organic matter that I put in my new compost tumbler at the beginning of the season was completely ready!
As I happily added my new compost to the garden, I started wondering if I'd be better served to wait until Spring to add it. That way it would still be "fresh" when the tender new plants were ready to be fed. What do you think? Does it matter when you add the compost as long as you do add it? This may be a stupid question, or maybe everyone but me already knows the answer, but here are my initial thoughts:
1. If you garden in raised beds it is okay to add compost anytime, but if your garden is just a flat "field", the nutrients may be leeched away if you add it too soon.
2. If the compost is not fully decomposed you should NOT add it when you plant new young plants because many of the nutrients are "locked up" during the decomposition period and therefore will not be helping the plants.
Are these crazy thoughts? I'm really not sure where I got these ideas and began to ponder it while working in the garden. Sometimes the peace and solitude you get while in the garden can do that. I know this post is a bit unusual but help me out. Any fellow composters out there? Are there right and wrong times to add the wonderful stuff to your garden?