In the past, we have discussed Compost and Mulch separately. But sometimes people get confused over the two. So in this article, we are trying to give you some comparison so that the concepts never get mixed.
Compost is called gardeners gold. For preparing compost, you need to mix different ingredients together in the proper ratio. Then the mixture is left for decomposition.
Many plants have a particular requirement of nutrients. You should keep this in mind while preparing your compost. They are mixed in a particular ratio to get the ultimate nutrient mixture for the plant.
The main function of compost is to fertilize the soil. You can use the compost by mixing with the garden soil or with the potting mix (in the case of container gardening).
For a good compost, it is essential that the ingredients are decomposed properly and should not be smelly like manure. Some people add water to the compost to make ‘compost tea’ which is then added to the soil for enrichment.
Mulch, on the other hand, is used to create a barrier between the soil and the environment. It works as a protective cover for the soil. It increases the soil temperature during those cold winter seasons and helps to prevent excess heat from reaching the soil during hot summers.
Mulch helps in keeping the moisture level of the soil intact. You would have less wastage of water and certainly less frequent watering schedule.
It works as some kind of a blanket and thus used to keep weeds away.
It differs from compost over the fact that it doesn’t require any particular ratio and combinations of ingredients to work. It doesn’t need to get those ingredients composted before using.
Though it is better to use organic materials as much as possible, it is not compulsory; and sometimes other materials like plastic etc., are also used.
Mulch can increase the nutrients in the soil in the long run if prepared from organic materials, but that is not its fundamental feature. It is more concerned with preserving water and working as an insulator.
All compost can be used as mulch but not the other way around. Both serve particular functions in gardening and they both can be used as soil conditioner. Though it would be foolish to use a nutrient-dense material like compost as a protective coating and not enriching the soil.
Compost and mulch are two age-old concepts of gardening that improve the soil quality tremendously. If used properly, these two concepts can change your garden soil from unproductive sterile one to a growing heaven.
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