Q. What is the purpose of compost in the garden and can it replace fertilizers?
Compost is used as a soil additive when planting new trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers and lawns. Its rich, organic content improves soil structure and nutrient holding capacity, gives the soil a rich, dark color and supplies most of the micronutrients required for plant health.
Compost cannot really replace fertilizer but it does enhance its effectiveness. Fertilizer primarily contains the major plant nutrients, nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K), in varying ratios. Each nutrient plays an important part in overall plant growth and vigor. Nitrogen contributes to overall general health and foliage production and growth, Phosphorous promotes a strong root system and boosts flower production and Potassium enhances fruit production.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service