Answer: Whether you make your own compost, or purchase bagged compost or aged steer manure, you are simply using organic matter to improve your soil. You can continue using steer manure, or you can purchase a brand name (Scott's, Miracle-Gro, etc.) of bagged compost. It won't make any difference to your plants. When using compost to improve soil, spread a 4-5" layer over the top of the soil and dig it in to a depth of 8-10", level the planting bed and plant your plants. If you want to use organic matter as a mulch material, spread a 1-2" layer over the top of the soil after planting to regulate soil temperatures, slow evaporation, and suppress weeds. As the organic matter breaks down it will release nutrients into the soil (which will make your plants happy!). You can add fresh new mulch every spring.
Hope this answers your question!
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