Composting in a garden near a lake


This spring I added cattle manure and cedar mulch to my garden. I generally do this every 2 years. I thought that manure was better than chemical fertilizers. Now that I have done some research, I realize that manure contains phosphorus, just like the chemical fertilizers, which can run into the lake and cause lake eutrophication. We do compost our vegetable matter and add it to the soil, but this does not produce nearly enough to cover the garden.

What are the best methods to amend soil and provide nutrients to perennials and shrubs in a garden which is near a lake?


You are correct- the best method to safely amend soil and provide nutrients to your garden near a lake is to use compost.  Compost can help prevent nutrient pollution in at least two ways, by preventing run-off and by retaining nutrients. Both are made possible by its ability to provide attachment sites for nutrients.

I am assuming that because you do not produce enough compost from vegetable matter that you have a sizeable garden.  Does this include trees?  If so, is there an opportunity to compost the leaves?  You did not specify where exactly you are located, but another option might be to use the services that deliver large quantities of compost made from organic matter to your home.

Other suggestions to reduce the likelihood of eutrophication include when feasible, to plant a shoreline of shrubs, bushes and trees. These plants utilize phosphorus and nitrogen and act as a buffer zone or filter before groundwater and run-off pass into the lake.  Also, ensure that there is proper drainage on and near your lot so that erosion will not take place.

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