‘fast/green’ made to heat up, with reduced viable weed seeds and nitrogen draining from excess greens;
‘slow/brown’ formed in cooler conditions, with worm casts to increase phosphate availability, probably more amenable to disease inhibiting microbes.
Plan to rotate compost distribution between needs. Any area that gets none in one season can be a higher priority in the next. Also rotate garden compost with other sources of organic matter like farmyard manure, spent mushroom compost, and turning in green manures. Some of these alternatives cost a little more but they can add to the richness of your home made compost in future years.
I suggest applying the ‘fast/green’ compost to ground for leafy vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, celery, chard, rhubarb etc… You can economize by restricting it to planting pockets; do mix it intimately with the soil fill. But if the surrounding soil is poor you will need to improve the whole bed, otherwise roots may not spread out. Side dressings of compost can be laid down in addition where necessary.
For improving the vegetable bed generally, work a 2 inch layer into the top 4 inches of soil. This can be done in time with crop rotation before a crop such as beans.
For Runner Beans I prefer ‘slow/brown’ compost. The high humus content helps moisture retention. Available phosphates aid root development. Potassium stimulates flowers and fruit. (In fact runner beans are not vegetables but fruit).
For tomatoes make a 50:50 mix of ‘slow/brown’ organic gardening compost and soil. The inclusion of comfrey leaves is beneficial here and especially ongoing liquid feeds of comfrey.
Going further with liquid compost:
The ‘slow/brown’ compost is preferable for flowers, root development and moisture retention, over ‘fast/green’ stuff with abundant nitrogen content. But small newly planted flowers can be given a boost with the liquid feed described above. With herbaceous perennials compost can be restricted to mixing in with soil 50:50 when transplanting or dividing.
For seed compost:
For making new lawns and planting:
For shrubs, hedging and trees:
Within this category hedging plants have the highest priority because they are closely planted, and usually cut each year to encourage growth. Slow evergreens are less important than deciduous. Mix into back fill soil 50:50 when planting or transplanting. Be aware that if you make a planting hole in poor soil and fill it with compost the plant roots may not venture beyond the hole.
For some trees, root associations with particular fungi are a far more important source of nutrients than fertilizer. You can carefully mix a 1 inch layer of compost into the top 2 inches or simply top dress surface feeding roots. With trees you can mix compost into holes or trenches and try root pruning.
For small lawns:
Top dressing is commonly done on fine lawns. It is often used to even out hollows, but for this you really need loam not organic gardening compost. Restricting it to part of the lawn may lead to uneven lawn quality. For lawns over loam, organic matter and nutrients are well conserved by leaving the grass cuttings in place during the summer. This alone may perk up the lawn. Compost may help to break down thatch but always rake thatch out first.
Use fine and fully matured compost to top dress lawns. The job is done mainly in autumn but alternatively in spring. Brush in top dressing to no more than 1cm about 1/3 inch deep. Most grass blades will peek through. At this depth 1 cubic foot will cover 4 square yards and 1 cubic meter will cover 100 square meters.
In loamy soils mix the soil cores from hollow tine aeration into your organic gardening compost. (Compaction is no less reduced.) Top dressing lawns with garden compost need only be done every 2 to 3 years once the initial soil improvement is complete.
For sorting and sifting:
You could save running short by adding a nitrogen containing supplement like manure, comfrey liquid, or urea, and then incorporate it. I usually add the supplemented material back to the heap to finish the job properly.
If you need small amounts of gardening compost and only have the immature product then you could sieve the bits out, use the fines, and return the debris to the heap.
Apply mulches in early summer after the soil has warmed and growth gets underway but early enough to help retain winter moisture.
For making no dig beds:
More organic gardening compost:
Don’t forget to maximize the source material for making your own organic gardening compost. You can make more by collecting vegetable waste from the green grocers, leaves from the local council; neighbours and friends will give you weeds, grass cuttings and hedge trimmings; horse manure may be got from local stables etc...