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Does Compost Have Nitrogen and Phosphorus?

Compost is essentially an organic mixture used in soil to optimize the growth of plants. Compost contains a combination of organic matter and yard waste, which leads to nutrient and micronutrient content. But, does compost have nitrogen and phosphorus?

Compost primarily contains three nutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three nutrients are the most important to make plants grow, and there are several ways for you to increase the nutrients in your compost.

Before you mix and match materials to make your compost, make sure which nutrient you primarily need. Some composts are well-balanced, but some gardens might need a higher level of one or the other nutrients. The information below will provide you with the essentials on how each nutrient functions, how to increase them, and other micronutrients in compost.

Does Compost Add Phosphorus?

Compost usually provides little content of phosphorus. Therefore, compost is usually not the best when seeking a balanced fertilizer for your garden that requires more phosphorus. Adding manure to compost can increase its phosphorus content.

Several components make up a balanced fertilizer for your garden. On top of nitrogen and potassium, phosphorus is another important content in your compost that makes up a balanced fertilizer as well as in your garden’s compost.

Phosphorus primarily helps plants, especially roots, flowers, and fruits, to grow and thrive. Phosphorus is essentially a bloom-booster for fertilizers, typically used for a lot of fruit plants, flower plants, and root plants so they can bloom even better. But you have to make sure that all the components are balanced out to grow better for the plants.

Does Compost Produce Nitrogen?

You can easily increase the nitrogen content in your compost simply by recycling from decaying leaves or by mowing the lawn. Nitrogen is primarily responsible for the growth of plants. When your plants are lush and turning green, that means the nitrogen is doing its job correctly.

Composting with nitrogen will help in the growth of healthy plants. This will allow your garden to keep growing, flowering, and blooming, preserving a beautiful aesthetic. Nitrogen is particularly important for any plant with green color. So, plants, including grass to a variety of flowering plants, rely on nitrogen to grow.

High-Nitrogen Compost Materials

It is not difficult to find ingredients and materials that are high in nitrogen. Instead of the common dry, woody, and plant materials, which have more carbon content than nitrogen, most materials and ingredients that are high in nitrogen content will be a wet, organic animal, and plant-based products.

Below are a few examples of composting materials and ingredients that have high nitrogen content:

  • Blood and bone meal
  • Manure
  • Fresh leaves and grass clippings
  • Fruit and vegetable leftovers
  • Tea leaves
  • Coffee grounds

Here’s a quick video about carbon/nitrogen ratios:

Probably one of the easiest ways to give your garden more nitrogen is by spreading around fresh leaves and grass clippings on the ground. This will absolutely help recycle nitrogen back into the plants around your garden.

However, you can also do the same with other materials, such as leftover fruits, tea, and coffee from the kitchen, or even if you don’t mind the sight and smell, manure. Just leave them out, and mother nature will usually take its course on its own.

Be Careful With High-Nitrogen Compost

Another thing about compost high in nitrogen is that it reduces the need for your garden to rely more on fertilizer. When relying less on fertilizer, then you spend less on your expenses as well. It doesn’t take out the reliance on fertilizers for your garden, but it does help in reducing reliance as a whole. However, there are some concerns with too much of it.

If you have compost that is unbalanced and has too much nitrogen content in it, instead of blooming beautifully, your garden plants would likely grow longer stems and vines, making them look leggy and weedy.

How to Increase Phosphorus in Compost

Several materials and ingredients can help increase the level of phosphorus in compost. One of the most popular ways to do so is by using manure. Manure is known to have a high level of phosphorus as well as potassium. Use manure to increase phosphorus in compost.

Use Horse Manure

Horse manure is the best choice as it contains more levels of phosphorus than nitrogen. Specifically, horse manure contains approximately four times more phosphorus than it has nitrogen. Furthermore, horse manure also contains a high level of potassium, another great component for your garden.

Therefore, many consider manure as one of the most balanced compost materials that you can get, perfect to add into your organic fertilizer to use for your garden.

Other Phosphorus-Rich Compost Materials

Aside from horse manure, human urine is also another simple ingredient to add to your compost to boost phosphorus.

Furthermore, you can find other natural ingredients and materials with sources of phosphorus that can be applied in your garden, including:

  • Bat feces
  • Bone and blood meal
  • Crustacean waste (Shrimp, crabs, crawfish)
  • Hair compost
  • Mushroom compost
  • Scorched cucumber skins

If you happen to have any of the ingredients above, apply them to your compost, and you’ll definitely be able to increase the level of phosphorus in your compost.

Other Nutrients in Compost

Compost is a crucial ingredient to make your garden bloom beautifully. This is because of the variety of nutrients it contains. Compost contains a variety of nutrients perfect for plants to absorb.

However, the exact measurement of each nutrient depends from one compost to another. As mentioned before, the three main nutrients in compost are Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus. But, what are the other nutrients inside of it?

Micronutrients in compost include:

  • Sulfur
  • Carbon
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Sodium
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Boron
  • Calcium

By mixing and matching a variety of ingredients, you can alter the nutrients and the micronutrients based on the needs of your garden.


Gardens, especially ones with a variety of plants, require nutrients to grow. Therefore, your compost mixture must be mixed with a variety of ingredients and organic materials that can provide these plants with the needed nutrients it needs. Once you have rich and balanced compost, your garden will do nothing else but grow and bloom.

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