Skip Navigation
Department of Public Works
Print this page.


Step four: Using your finished compost.

Once your compost is ready, it is time to begin using it around your lawn and garden. You’ve set up your system, added all the right materials, and fixed any issues that popped up along the way. Now it is time to reap the benefits! Finished compost is dark brown or black, crumbly textured, and has a rich earthy smell.

Finished compost can be used in seed-starting mixes or to cover seed rows in vegetable gardens. Compost can also be used to enrich flower gardens and improve the soil around trees and shrubs. When spread around garden plants, shrubs, and trees it can help retain moisture. 

You can make compost tea by steeping a shovel full of compost in a five-gallon bucket of water for a few days. You can then pour this nutrient-rich “tea” on plants, vegetables, and flowers. 

Finished compost can also be used as a soil amendment by placing it into the soil two-four inches below the surface throughout the year or at planting time. Everything around your lawn and garden will benefit from the compost as it releases its nutrients over a one to two year period. 

Return to the Composting Overview.

Revised March 24, 2014

Was This Page Helpful?
Fields marked with * are required.
Page Rating*