Compost Seven: Separate the fine from the coarse

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Humus-rich and nutrient-rich compost is indispensable during bed preparation in spring. The fact that most of the compost worms have retreated into the soil is a sure sign that the conversion processes are largely completed and the compost is "ripe". For beds with fine-grained seeds such as carrots, spinach or beetroot, you should sieve the compost beforehand, because the coarse ingredients cause larger cavities to emerge in the seedbed and can thus in places inhibit the germination of the fine seeds.

A compost place with three to four containers is ideal. So you can schedule one as a stock for the sieved compost. As a compost screen is a simple wooden frame, which is covered with a matching piece of rectangular wire with about ten millimeters mesh size and placed over the container for collecting the compost earth. Alternatively, you can place the strainer directly on a wheelbarrow to transport the sieved compost to the beds. The disadvantage is that the coarse ingredients remain on the screen and need to be scraped off or shaken down with a shovel or trowel.
If you have enough space, you can also use a so-called Durchwurfsieb to sift the compost. It has a large, rectangular sieve surface and two supports with which it is placed at an angle. Now you throw the compost against the sieve from one side with a grave fork or a shovel. The fine components fly through a large part, while the coarse slide down on the front. Tip: It is best to place a large piece of fleece underneath the sieve - so you can easily pick up the sieved compost and transfer it to the wheelbarrow.

Step by step: seven composts

Distribute compost on sieve

Separate components of the compost

Place the sieve over the compost bin (left) and separate the ingredients with a trowel (right)

Place the compost sieve on the storage container and spread the over-dried compost on top. With the trowel or a hand shovel press the fine material through the stitches. Take care that you do not push the coarser components over the Siebrand - ideally this should be slightly increased.

crusty compost soil

sieved compost residues

The fine crumbly compost after sieving (left). The coarser constituents are re-composted with fresh waste (right)

Scoop the sifted material into a wheelbarrow and bring it to the bed, where it is then spread with a rake. The coarser residues are tipped back into the other compost bin with the sieve. They are mixed with fresh waste and put back on to start a new rotting.

Distribute compost in the bed


In mature compost no plant remains are recognizable. It smells spicy like forest soil and disintegrates into fine dark crumbs when sifting

Finely crumbled compost can also be used for flowerbeds and ornamental shrubs. Spread three to five liters per square meter and spread with a rake. He is easily eingarkt and so mixed with the garden soil. A deeper tillage would do more harm than good in already planted beds, because many plants rooted flat and the root system could be damaged. In addition, earthworms and other soil organisms ensure that the humus gradually mixes with the topsoil. Tip: If you want to prevent the humus treatment of ornamental shrubs from sprouting weeds quickly, cover the compost with a layer of bark mulch about five centimeters thick.

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