Can I put down compost to help soil?

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I have a small yard with very poor soil. I have no tiller nor can use one. can I put down a layer of good homemade compost without tilling it in to improve the soil? How deep should it be? I would like to be able to plant flowers, etc. and reseed the small area of grass that I have.


  8 answers
  • Mix soil and compost using at a 1:1 ratio. I would use native soil from somewhere else in your yard (if it is good), otherwise I'd mix the compost with potting soil.

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Sep 22, 2018

    Never tried that, but can't see that it would hurt. Can you break up the soil by hand a little bit with a how or hard take? That would help. Maybe 2" or so to settle in over winter.


  • William William on Sep 22, 2018

    Dig in topsoil, peat moss, and compost as deep as you can go. A pitch fork would work the best.

  • Amanda Amanda on Sep 25, 2018

    HI Judith. You sure can. As a matter of fact when ever I plant veggies or perennials I mix in compost and cow manure. Dig your hole as normal and then add a few handfuls of each. Good Luck!

  • Jeanne Grunert Jeanne Grunert on Sep 25, 2018

    Yes, you can certainly layer compost on top of the soil and it will work well. I've also placed sheets of cardboard, like old boxes flattened out, on top of the soil and placed compost in a thick layer over that. As the cardboard decomposes, it also compost into the soil and helps the soil underneath improve too.

  • Within the Grove Within the Grove on Sep 25, 2018

    You can! And where you place it will make that area super healthy! We did this in an area before sprinkling grass seeds. The grass took off!

  • Cindy Cindy on Sep 25, 2018

    Hi Judith. I'm Cindy. Yes, compost would make your soil that much richer. I use a mix of soil, manure and sand. All equal parts. The sand would be a great addition to your mix because sand retains water. Try to hand til your soil. Any kind of tilling would be beneficial and help the roots of your plants easy to spread and grow. If the soil is hard and compacted, the roots will struggle to grow. I hope this info helps you. Come back to us if you have any more questions.