Drought Conditions? Add Compost

January 12, 2016

California has been in the news since January due its drought status and governor-mandated cutbacks on water usage. But any area can experience drought. What happens when you’re having a particularly dry season (or year)? Is there anything you can do?

Actually, one of the best ways to safeguard against drought conditions (and to use less water, yet still have healthy plants) is to add compost to your lawn and garden. Compost helps retain water when it does rain (or when you run the sprinklers). At the same time, it provides aeration so that important lawn fauna can continue to survive, leave their casings and other important fertilizer materials and improve your garden’s health.

Adding compost or mulch is easy. Bank about 3 – 5″ of compost around the base of your plants (don’t pack it in) and as it spreads out due to time and the elements, scoop it back gently with a shovel or rake, or simply add more. For your lawn, sprinkle compost right on top – it will settle over a period of weeks and will provide the perfect “water catch” – and fertilizer – for your grass.

During drought conditions, we don’t recommend starting a worm colony in your compost (known as “vermicomposting”). Worms may naturally be attracted to your compost, but in dry conditions, things may simply not be moist enough to support a large colony of these beneficial creatures. Instead, wait for wetter times before actively adding worms to your compost pile.

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