Compost is your soil's best friend | Garden blog

Hello friends,

Time to get out there and tidy up the garden. It’s time to cut, divide, transplant or plant.

As the soil temperature rises, the soil microbes start working, coming out of their winter state. It is a great time to add compost and feed the soil. You may want to get your soil tested to see what it lacks in nutrients. But if you add compost every year, it is a sure way to keep things happy.

There are many mulches out there, from bark mulch, fish compost, compost with different ingredients. Ask the supplier what’s in it. You wouldn’t want to put compost made for lawns in your flower bed or woody mulch on your lawn.

In my garden I make my own. I have a couple cold piles where I put yard waste, and many bins for my kitchen scraps. Boy, the earthworms love that! The finished product is something I would love if I were a plant.

Being a green gardener or organic one has many challenges with weed and disease problems that occur in my business as well as at home. I just took some classes for my continuing education credits for my applicator license and it went over IPM, or Integrated Pest Management.

This is a great tool that everyone should follow. It starts with identifying the problem and taking the appropriate actions to battle that problem, eliminating the use of pesticides or at least making pesticides a last resort.

You start with a plan, go out there and do some CSI. Take notes of the different elements in your yard, like how much sun, does water make things too wet, did that sun garden suddenly turn to a shade garden? I can tell you that a healthy garden will keep insects and weeds at bay.

A healthy environment starts if everyone chooses to be patient. Don’t just put pesticides down, it disturbs the good biology in the soil as well.

A great movie to watch is “Dirt! The movie.” I watched it at my class and just watched it again. A must-see! The hummingbird in the movie is me.

In my last blog I went over pruning. Now that you have the rules in mind while pruning it is very important to disinfect your pruners before moving to a different plant. I have rubbing alcohol that I wipe my tools with. There are other ways, just make sure you understand the proper ways and always use safety first.

Things to prune now in the garden are your deciduous grasses. Your evergreen grasses you want to comb them. Use a horse comb or heavy rake. Your roses can get pruned, I will go over that next time. It is very important to keep things sanitary in the rose garden. Disinfecting pruners is a must! Compost the beds when done.

Q. I have moss in my lawn. Should I keep the moss or how to get it out?

A. Moss is opportunistic to the high power in the Northwest. Lawns need to be more alkaline and we are very acidic. It is a bit early right now to do something and I will go over what to do in my upcoming blogs. You must always start by getting a soil test. I will talk about lawn care. For now, get in those beds and feed the soil.


• Joe Machcinski is owner of Pangea Garden-scapes, a natural and organic yard care business  that offers design, education, consulting and care. He is active in Washington  Association  of  Landscape Professionals. He can be reached at (360) 990-3035 or

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