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Art Knapp
So Much More Than Plants
Art Knapp

Art Knapp Articles

Compost Vs. Fertilizer: Uses and Applications

in Tips and Tutorials, Informational

Compost Vs. Fertilizer Uses and Applications.jpg

In today’s blog, we would like to talk about compost versus fertilizer. They are not the same thing although a nutritious, well-rotted compost can definitely improve the quality of your soil’s chemical make-up and texture.


Compost is the material that you set aside and allow to break down over time, such as grass clippings, vegetable skins, dried leaves, and/or manure. If you allow these items to pile up—some of us have special boxes for this—over time, they break down and yield a wonderful quality of rich soil.

These materials are not ready to incorporate into the soil you are growing in until they are broken down, and that takes several months. The quality or chemical composition of your compost depends on what went into it and will vary considerably from one heap to another.


Fertilizers are the chemical components or nutrients that we add to our flower beds or vegetable gardens, for example, to provide essential nutrients for what we are growing. We fertilize our indoor plants because they are growing in the same soil for a long time and will deplete the soil of what they need to grow well.

We fertilize vegetable beds to get the best crop possible. There are all kinds of fertilizers available that you can add more or less frequently depending on the type. In order for your plants and trees to be healthy, they need all the appropriate nutrients. This is why you will find different fertilizers for different plants. Indoor plants perform best with a fertilizer that is different than for vegetable crops.

How and when you fertilize depends on what you are growing. Similarly, how and when you incorporate compost into your beds depends on the season and the quality of the compost. When your vegetable growing season is over, you might till in some green matter like a cover crop which will break down over the winter. However, if your compost is full of kitchen leftovers, that needs to break down someplace else before adding it to your soil.

Stop by our flagship store in Surrey, and we will be happy to talk to you about compost and fertilizer best practices, and get you outfitted with whatever you need. 


Art Knapp has 15 locations across British Columbia and is well known as the go-to garden centre for everything garden-related. Art Knapp, himself, began the business in the 1940's, and now, 80 years later, you can find more than he ever dreamed of in our stores. Come and see us on King George Boulevard in Surrey.


If you have any questions about this article or want to talk to us about gardening, just give us a call at (604) 596-9201.

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