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Welcome to the the Composting, Mulching, and Soil Building Discussion Board

Mike Quinn
Sprout Admin
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 0
Topic starter  

Have questions about enriching your soil? Composting? Mulching? Or want to show off one of your projects? Create a new thread in this forum and share with the community.

Sprout Registered
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 3

I have a newly constructed home in the mountains of NC that is surrounded with fill dirt.  We mulched in April and the mulch has broken down nicely.  We'll plant in the spring and we're thinking we will add about 3 inches of compost now to further enrich the "soil."  I've sent off soil samples and I'm thinking the results will be pretty grim.  To till or not to till when we spread the mulch?  Any other suggestions?

Western NC

Rose Kennedy
Sprout Staff Gardening Expert
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 13


Hello BlueRidgeLady and welcome to the GP forum!

I live somewhat close to you, and my soil here in East Tennessee may have even more clay and tendency to compact than yours!

If you are coping with clumps, I'd recommed straw for mulch, and leaving it on top without tilling until the spring. That way it will supress weeds over the winter while it breaks down.

Also, another tip! If you're adding compost at any point, make sure it doesn't have pesticides or herbicides sprayed on it. And don't add it to the garden until it breaks down. Otherwise, it's going to attract pests and it may just lie on top of the soil instead of decomposing.

And leaves are great, but they take a lot longer to break down than other organic material, so let them decompose in a separate pile before adding them to the garden.

I hope you get a pleasant surprise on the soil test, but... The good news there is that it's fairly simple to balance the pH in your garden and may take just a growing season or so to get it right. If you plan to grow vegetables, you'll always want to keep mulching and adding other organic matter for aeration and nutrition, even once the pH is perfect.

Good luck! Can't wait to see the photos.


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