My gardening experiment & experience

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Plants are generally grown in a mix of garden soil, cocopeat and compost. But for a change, I wondered, what if I could grow plants only in compost. So I went ahead putting my thought into action.

Compost is a mixture that is largely made of decaying organic matter like dried leaves and food scraps and is used as a fertiliser for plants. Mature compost is rich in readily available nutrients and is also lighter than soil. 

Inspired by Vani Murthy ma’am, the composting queen, also known as the WormRani (follow her on Instagram here, for a daily dose of motivation) in the gardening circle, I took to composting 4 years back. One year later, I was so obsessed with the process of composting and compost that I wanted to try and experiment with growing plants only on compost. 

In Bangalore weather and on an open terrace that gets a fairly good amount of sunlight throughout the day, growing only on compost did have a decent outcome. Mind you, I started with zero expectations and I always indulge in gardening just for the sake of it with not many expectations. 

Here are some observations from growing plants only in compost

Pros of growing plants only in compost

  1. Compost is lighter in weight compared to soil. Water drains through it easily thereby avoiding stagnation of water in potted plants. This in turn highly reduces the chances of root rots in plants. 
  1. The lighter nature of compost makes it easy to transfer or carry pots around while shifting. Trust me, it is something you may want to consider if you are someone who is into shifting houses, often.
  1. The lighter nature of compost always makes it easy to till up while repotting or sowing or removing weeds, unlike working with soil that gets hard and crusted, making it difficult to till. 
  1. As a lot of chopped vegetable scraps goes into the compost, the nutrient availability increases in the end product, i.e, the mature compost.
  1. Compost is something that is always in progress. It gets denser over time which means that the pot you might have filled to the brim with compost might have reduced in quantity in two weeks. This acts as an advantage as it gives more space to add more compost which in turn reduces any chances of excess wet waste from our households going to landfills. 
  1. Having compost in your pots or soil bed may surprise plants that might have grown from a seed from veg or fruit scrap that had gone into the compost bin and thrived to turn into a sapling. We had watermelons and papaya plants come that way. 

You might as well, like reading this:

Cons of growing plants only in compost

  1. As much as the lighter weight of compost is a plus, it is equally a minus. The lighter weight doesn’t help in providing firm support like soil, especially to climbers and some tender stemmed plants like tomatoes.
  1. Compost, if added prematurely, turns acidic which may harm plant growth. 
  1. Again, adding premature compost may also end up having the growth of unwanted plants (courtesy, the seeds from veg & fruit scars gone into composting & chosen to survive)  along with the ones you intentionally sowed. 
  1. Adding premature moist compost may invite grubs and affect the roots of the plants. 
  1. The easy to dig property of compost may have your furry friend dig it all away and have a good night’s sleep in the warmth of the pot (true story!). 

Have a look at the garden that thrived only on homemade compost.
The result may surprise you!

Click here:

Wrap up words

As much as compost is rich in nutrients and can be tempting enough to grow plants only in compost, we should know that it may not provide firm support which too is vital for healthy plant growth. 

So my key takeaway from the experiment was to have a mix of garden soil and matured compost, say in the ration, 4:6 and it has been working well for me till now with decent yields without the need for any chemical fertilisers. 

Happy garden, happy me!

Hope you find this helpful. Also, I am all ears to know about your gardening experiments and hacks. Indulge me!

Signing off with this interesting quote:

Kings and cabbages go back to compost, but good deeds stay green forever.

~Rick DeMarinis

“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.”