Compost for perennials


I live in south east Etobicoke near the lake, The climate tends to be more humid near the lake with occasional fog. It is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than Toronto by a couple of degrees, spring and fall are both a couple of weeks late arriving, My gardens range from part sun, to part shade to light shade or full shade depending on the spot in the garden.   The soil is 5 to 6 inches deep and loamy,

My question is how about composting, I really need it to get my flowers growing but I have hundreds of perennials buried in the soil. I couldn’t dig it in more than a couple of inches without disturbing them and i wonder if they will make it up with a lot of compost over them. Perhaps I should add half in early spring then wait until the perennial are all up to add the second half. What do you think?


Most gardeners will tell you the ideal time to add compost is in the fall.

You won’t lose or smother your perennials because you can see everything that has come up in the garden.  Spread your compost around the stems and trunks of your plants, being careful not to cover the crowns.

The greatest benefit to composting at this time of year is that you don’t need to dig in at all! Over the winter and into the early spring, the compost will mix naturally with your existing soil, aided by all the micro-organisms and worms.  In some schools of thought, digging in will actually disturb the complex workings of the earth.

I hope this helps you decide when to compost in your beautiful garden.

For more information about composting, I have included a link to a fact sheet developed by the Toronto Master Gardeners with and for the City of Toronto: