Community Education on Environment and Development

Building healthy soil

Feed your soil with compost

Dig in or roto-till in 2–10 centimeters (1-4 in.) of compost when you're making new beds or planting lawns. Compost works on any soil: it helps sandy soils hold nutrients and water, and loosens clay soils. Compost feeds the beneficial soil life, so it can feed and protect your plants. Healthier soil with compost means healthier, more easily cared for lawns and gardens.

See also:

To get a compost bin in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area, please contact the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society at (604) 463 5545.

Mulch it!

"Mulch" is a layer of organic material such as leaves, wood chips, compost, or grass clippings that you spread in spring or fall around your plants. Keep it about 2.5 centimeters (1 in.) away from stems. Mulch conserves water, inhibits weeds and feeds the soil for healthier plants.

Use on:

  • Flower beds and vegetable gardens. Use 2.5 to 8 centimeters (1-3 in.) of leaves, compost, or grass clippings.
  • Trees, shrubs and woody perennials. Use 5 to 10 centimeters (2-4 in.) of woody mulches, like wood chips or bark. Fall leaves also work well.
  • Lawns. Mulch your lawn? Yes, you can use a mulching mower on your lawn (leave the clippings) and spread compost. See the guide to Mulching Lawn Mowers

More mulch information:

Need fertilizer? Go organic!

Overusing chemical pesticides and fertilizers can damage beneficial soil life, leading to soil compaction and unhealthy plants. Chemicals can also wash off through sewers into streams and lakes and harm salmon and other wildlife.

Most trees and shrubs get all the nutrients they need from the soil and annual mulching. But annual plants, vegetable gardens and lawns sometimes need extra nutrients.

If you're going to fertilize, look for the words "natural organic" or "slow release" on the bag. Unlike "quick release" chemicals, they won't wash off into streams so easily, and they'll feed your plants a "square meal" that will keep them looking good longer. 

Organic fertilizers.

Also, check here for lawn fertilizing.

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