Is It OK to Plant Vegetables in Compost Only?


For the vast majority of people, dirt is just dirt. Dirt refers to everything that can be found outside, is often brown in colour, may be gotten under the fingernails, and is the medium in which plants grow. However, think of the crumbly, nearly black substance that emerges from the compost bin after it has been left to rest for a few months. Is this also soil, and if so, do plants need anything else to grow in it? Compost is not the same as dirt or, more accurately, soil. Compost is an entirely other substance. If the compost being used is of extremely high quality, planting directly in the compost rather than in soil could be viable.


Instead of using compost as the soil growth medium for plants, you will receive the greatest results by using compost as an addition to the soil.

Check Nutrient Load Before Planting

Have the compost taken from the bin in the backyard analysed for its nutritional content, since this is the only way to know for certain whether or not it is acceptable to plant in alone, without requiring any additional soil. The gardener, on the other hand, may undertake some simple checks to verify the fundamentals.

Using a portable pH metre, check the acidity of the compost to make sure that it falls within the range of 6.0 to 7.0. This is the ideal pH range for growing a wide variety of vegetables. Examine the compost by giving it a sniff. It should have a pleasant scent that is earthy and sweet, and it shouldn’t have a strong aroma, since it often signals fermentation or the presence of dangerous ammonia chemicals.

Examine the compost using your sense of sight. It ought to be crumbly all over and a consistent dark colour. If you look in the compost pile and see anything that belonged to you from many months ago, it isn’t ready for planting yet and you shouldn’t utilise it.

Critical Compost Components

The kitchen wastes that would otherwise be carried off to the landfill may be disposed of in an elegant and efficient manner via the process of composting. Simply throw them into a mound someplace in the yard, give it a stir once in a while, and you’ve got yourself some black gold. The majority of “good” compost consists of organic matter that has decomposed, and this material may originate from sources such as kitchen scraps, animal manure, fallen leaves, and grass clippings.

Compost, according to research conducted by the University of Massachusetts, contains a little amount of several nutrients. The true value of compost lies in its capacity to improve the workability of soils to which it is applied. Compost may do this through enhancing soil structure and the soil’s ability to retain water, as well as by providing trace levels of minerals and micronutrients. Compost is among the most beneficial organic soil amendments; yet, it is not the most effective growth medium on its own.

Planting in Compost Without Soil

Compost by itself is not as good at retaining water as compost that has been combined with topsoil from the area. Topsoil contains minerals and particles that cling to one another and help compost do the same. Since pure compost has a tendency to dry up more quickly than compost-soil combinations, you may find that you need to water your plants more regularly if you put them in compost alone rather than mixing it with soil. Additionally, due to the fact that it is far lighter than dirt, plants may be more prone to toppling over since their roots are embedded in a fluffier substance.

Nutrient Imbalances in Compost

Compost may include high amounts of nitrogen, which can be hazardous to plants, as well as an excess of micronutrients, which are beneficial to plants in small quantities but can be dangerous at large levels, such as boron. Some compost also has high levels of nitrogen, which can be poisonous to animals. According to Helena Agriculture, compost that was prepared with a significant amount of animal manure is often prone to include high amounts of salt. Because of this, the compost must be flushed with water in order to remove the salt before it can be used for planting.

Again, the only way to determine the precise composition of completed compost is to have it analysed in a lab; this is the only way to know for sure what it contains. If you combine compost with soil, you will have greater outcomes in terms of the health of the soil and the amount of water that is retained by the soil.