Add Compost to Start the Gardening Year

Allison Fortner
Read posts by Alison Fortner on the Super-Sod blog.
March 13, 2019 3 minute read

Adding compost to your soil is one of the best things you can do for your plants, and late winter or early spring is the easiest time to amend your soil.

Right Now Is Perfect to Amend Your Soil

Many of your cool season veggies have long been harvested or you're ready to plant the last round of them as winter is on the downswing. Your warm season seedlings won't be ready to plant outside for many weeks. These scenarios mean there’s a clean slate in many areas of your garden as you transition from one planting to the next.

new compost in old garden beds

Late winter and early spring also make perfect shoveling weather - it's like chopping wood - twice warmed. I’m betting the jacket will come off once you really start digging in! However, you’ll be happy to know it’s always easier to clear those old plants while they’re dormant.

While you’re outside, you’ll catch a glimpse of tree leaves starting to show for the season. The perennials will be beginning to bloom, and you’ll come alive along with them as your stiff winter body gets back into the swing of garden work. Change is in the air, and it’s the perfect opportunity to change your garden soil for the better. 

Ways to Amend Your Soil

Several opportunities for a fresh layer of soil are at your fingertips, and you can take advantage them all! We’ve listed some of our favorite ways to add nutrients to your landscape so that you’re ready to grow when spring is here to stay.

1) Start a Fresh Bed 

That colorful flower and shrub border you’ve been dreaming of is within reach, and you know just the spot! Amend the area where you’re planting a new bed with Soil3 to ensure your plants’ success with the help of fewer weeds and more nutrients. We recommend using 1 cubic yard of compost per 500 square feet in a new bed.  

soil3 with roses

If you need help determining just how much soil your bed needs, use our handy Soil³ Compost Calculator tool.

When establishing a new flower bed or shrub border, spread the compost over the entire bed and plant right in it. No need to till it in.

2) Topdress Existing Plantings 

Early spring is the ideal time to topdress established plants that thrive in rich soil.

flower beds with Soil3Amending rose beds by topdressing with Soil³ at a North Carolina lake home.

Most plants that grow in the Southeast benefit from topdressing and now is the easiest time to topdress all perennial beds with compost.

Shrubs also love a layer of compost. The nutrients trickle down from above and slowly improve the soil at the same time. The following woodies especially love a rich soil, thus a yearly topdressing with compost:

  • Blueberries
  • Buckeyes
  • Clematis
  • Dogwoods
  • Figs
  • Hydrangeas
  • Anise trees (Illicium spp.)
  • Rhododendrons/Azaleas
  • Roses

3) Create New Raised Beds Filled with Compost 

Few feelings compare with that of preparedness. Think of your future self and how you’ll benefit by being ready when spring in all its glory finally arrives in your growing zone.  

new raised beds with BigYellowBagsBe prepared by constructing new raised beds. Then, start stretching those gardening muscles by filling them with fresh bulk compost, ready to help your plant starts thrive once you finally get them outside.

Raised Bed BonusFinally, when you’re really itching to get a new plant in the ground (or bed), consider planting another round of cool season plants if your growing zone allows for it. 

Rather not build raised beds out of wood? Consider our Root Pouch kits.


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Waking Up Your Raised Beds with Joe Lamp'l

From Alaska to Florida and all the growing zones in between, Joe Lamp'l visits gardeners across the U.S. to tell stories of both innovation and inspiration. Joe documents these impressive growers as part of his publicly broadcast television show Growing a Greener World TV. However, he always comes back home to his own piece of land at the GardenFarm in the outskirts of Atlanta.

Joe Lamp'l waking up raised beds with Soil3Joe knows that waking up your soil is a key aspect of any healthy vegetable garden and uses Soil3 to amend his raised beds for the spring. He asked us to come out and be part of an episode on “Waking Up the GardenFarm” to explain the benefits of amending your soil before you begin spring planting.

You’ll see the entire Soil3 delivery process and how Joe uses compost to wake up his raised beds from 13:39 to 14:18 in this episode.

Thanks, Joe, for explaining the benefits of adding quality, bulk organic compost to your raised vegetable garden – whether raised or in the ground – this spring.


add compost to start the garden year


Did this help you out? Have any questions for clarity? Leave a comment below!


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