Thursday, March 31, 2011

calculating compost

Our community garden is figuring out how to get a nice compost product this year. Our priorities are a screened, delivered, organic product that fits in our budget.

Here's a nice site to calculate compost coverage: SOIL AMENDMENT CALCULATOR

We have about 125 plots averaging about 15 square feet each (my guess). That's about 28,000 square feet total. I'm figuring 2 inches coverage on all plots would be good. The calculator says we need 173 cubic yards of compost. That seems like a lot. At 15 cubic yards per truckload, that's a good 10 deliveries. Maybe only half of the gardeners would actually use it, since many of use make our own compost. So 5 truck loads. I suppose the thing to do is go one truck load at a time and order more when its gone.

While I had the on-line calculator site up, I checked out what I need for my home garden. It has five 9x3 foot beds, and one 8x8 foot cold frame, have a total of about 200 sq feet, so for 2 inch coverage, I need 1.2 cubic yards (30 cubic feet). I will see how much compost I have ready in my bins before buying any.


wvhiker said...

One way to look at it is that if there's some left over, sell it to someone else looking for some.

Anonymous said...

Your numbers are starting off wrong or mistyped; 15 sq ft (3'x5' plots?) x 125 plots equals 1875 sq ft.


kathy said...

Thanks Carys. I made a silly error. We have 15 x 15ft plots (225 ft2) x 125 plots = 28,000 total ft2. Thanks

Daphne Gould said...

I just finished putting on 3.5cuyds on my vegetable beds. It seems like so much but really isn't. I've got about 567 sqft of bed space. Or 63 sqyds. Though I had extra so the herb beds might gets some too. I usually don't compost up the herb beds.

Jeremy Marin said...

I would humbly suggest NOT getting compost from Weiss Farm in Stoneham. Two years ago I bought 50/50 mix (soil/compost) and it was decent. Last year it was filled with glass, pens, chopped credit cards and other miscellaneous junk. In addition there were a LOT of large rocks (as big as my fist.)

I later researched their compost methods. While their website makes it sound as though they use cow manure that is not correct. Instead they use the fertilizer/herbicide/fungicide-laden clippings from commercial lawn services.

Might be okay for a lawn but a bit sketchy to grow veggies in it.

kathy said...

Good point on watching the source of your compost. Many of our compost sources around here are from yard waste. We've been wondering how good this product is, even if it is screened. On the other hand, its better to use local resources and not have them trucked off and incinerated. Many soils in our area have high lead levels and lawns are chemically treated. I don't know much of this ends up in the compost. The best sources we have found seem to be organic Farms in the suburbs, like Four Feathers Farm.

I'd love to hear more advice on good compost sources.