Q. Is compost, mulch, and fertilizer necessary?
Yes, compost is the black gold for soil, and mulch and fertilizer are helpful when used properly. Although, some flowering plants do not like too fertile an area and grow like weeds without compost, but that is rare. However, most garden plants benefit from amending the soil with compost. Apply two to 4 inches of compost and spread on the soil a couple times a year in spring, summer, and or fall, the soil will be conditioned each year, helping plants take up the nutrients they need. It’s a natural conditioner, like in the forest when leaves and other debris fall eventually will break down over time and nourish the soil. Using chemical fertilizer is overused these days, and most leach out into our waterways, not necessary. Although, organic fertilizer is okay, such as fish and or kelp emulsion is good early in the growth season, or other organic fertilizer is beneficial in the growth season. Use plant specific organic fertilzier, and always follow the directions on the bag.
And last but not least, leaf mulch is helpful to control soil moisture, and temperature. Apply mulch during summer before high temperatures begin. Remove mulch slowly in spring time to help warm up the soil and aid early plant growth. Leaf mulch can be made from fallen leaves, like oak, but takes a long time to break down.