The importance of composting in autumn

Autumn is a crucial time for preparing your garden for the following year. One of the most effective ways of ensuring that your soil is fertile and ready for new plantings is by adding compost. But why is this so important, and what does it actually involve?

Adding compost has multiple advantages. On the one hand, compost is rich in organic matter, which encourages the growth of beneficial soil micro-organisms. These contribute to the decomposition of organic waste, releasing essential nutrients for plants. As a result, compost-enriched soil provides better nutrition for your plants, making them more resistant to disease and pests. 

Compost also improves soil structure. When mixed in, it promotes aeration, water retention and root development.Forestry compost is particularly beneficial for clay soils. Clay, while rich in nutrients, has a very fine, compact structure that can restrict the circulation of water and air, making the soil heavy and not conducive to root development. Forestry compost helps to lighten it, providing an ideal environment for roots. At the other end of the spectrum,manure-based compost, rich in organic matter and nutrients, is ideal for sandy soils, which tend to drain water quickly. It improves water retention and enriches the soil with essential elements.

Fall amendment is strategic, as it allows the compost to gradually integrate into the soil over the winter months. With freeze-thaw cycles, nutrients disperse evenly, ensuring optimum availability in spring, when plants begin to grow actively.

Autumn is also the ideal time to divide or move your perennials. Take the opportunity to give them a good quantity of compost for transplanting.

How much to use?

If you simply wish to maintain soil fertility, apply a 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inch) layer of compost to the surface of your garden or flower beds each year. For soils that have never been amended or are particularly poor, consider adding a thicker layer, from 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches). Then incorporate it to a depth of 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 inches) using a fork or cultivator.

In conclusion, adding compost in autumn is not only a recommended step, it's essential to ensure the health and productivity of your garden. It ensures that your soil is alive, rich and ready to support a new growing season.