How much compost do I need to supply a whole crop farm

How much compost do I need, pre-decomposition to fuel a whole lot of farm for the summer?

Ive been checking out sites like and how to compost but they don’t say it

How many acres of farm?

According to Eliot Coleman in his book 4 season harvest for first time application of compost approximately 1 in thick layer. For building up soil fertility in subsequent applications 1/2 to 3/4 in per year. And for Maintenance application 1/4 in. This works out to 75 cubic feet of finished compost for a 1 in layer on a garden of 900 square ft. 75 cubic ft would equal a compost pile 5x5x3. A 5 gallon bucket holds approximately 1200 cubic inches of material. A 5 gallon bucket will make a 1 in. cover over 8.3 square ft. That is finished compost. To figure the required material to make that compost first figure the square footage that will need to be covered use the above figures to determine the amount of finished compost and then multiply by 3 for the answer. A compost pile will typically shrink to one third it’s original size when completed. Hope that helps.

I forgot to clarify that you need to calculate the square ft. of the farm beds and not the walking areas between the beds where no compost should be spread.

I take as many loads of remedial wood chips as I can get. There was a time I looked up the phone numbers of any tree trimming company within 50 miles. I called them all.

I would stop and talk to any tree trimming company I saw along the road to try to get their chips. I left business cards with my address in their trucks. Seriously.

For quite a few years I was getting 50 to 60 box truck loads per year. I’ve since backed off trying so hard to get chips, and it shows. This year I only got about 20 loads. Worst year ever for mulch delivered.

I know there is some research out there which says wood chips deliver the nutrients at the wrong time for fruit trees, but I look at each truck as a truck load of free fertilizer. For me, the more I can get the better.

It’s about timing. If you can let the fresh chips sit on a spare acre through the entire summer and then apply in the fall you’ll have lower available N and higher available K – perfect for the Fall.

BTW, it takes about 134.4 cu.yd. of material to cover an acre 1" deep.

Thanks Richard that was one measurement I did not have. I wish he had mentioned that the farm was for an orchard makes a big difference in the scope of things.

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thank you everyone!

I decided to go with getting more tumblers and just overdo it.

Always good to have more compost, I am planning to sell it as well

What size?

hmm… not sure yet, going down to the hardware store in a day or 2 to take a look!

In order to make money selling compost, you need to produce it in mounds 12 feet high and 100 feet long using a tractor.

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Many municipal landfills make compost on a grand scale. My local landfill sells their compost but gives away the leaf refuse collected each fall. The compost is clean but the leaf refuse is full of plastic bag pieces that need to be removed.

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I’m not making compost and applying it by hand, but I’m sending the grass clippings when I mow directly into my blueberry and blackberry rows this year using the zero turn mower. So far I have produced a layer of organic matter about 1/4 inch deep in some portions of the rows.

In past years the mowing was done with a single pass of the mower on the tractor which was faster and easier but did not recover the organic matter and place it around the plants where it is needed.

It would be interesting the compare the yields of the rows where the mowed grass is thrown into the rows against the yields of the rows that were mowed with the tractor.

In my experience that’s about the right thickness for uncured grass clippings.