How much compost do I need is a common question from the newcomers to the field of farming and gardening? Sometimes even the professionals ask about the right amount of compost that they need to add. Why? There is no hard and fast rule for the amount of compost you need to add to the soil.
You cannot say that one kilogram of compost is enough for one flower bed. It depends on the conditions that vary from plant to plant and different types of soil. So, if you are also looking for how much compost I need here, we will answer everything you need to know.
How to evaluate things when looking for the right amount of compost?
So, the first and the most vital thing about adding compost to the soil is to evaluate the quality of the soil. Soil not only helps in anchoring plants into the ground, but it also serves several other purposes, including proper airflow, proper drainage of water, supplying nutrients to plants, and more. So, what you need to do is to get your soil tested.
According to that test results, you can make several assumptions about the amount of compost needed. Some reports also come with recommendations about the amount of compost you need to add to the soil. You also need to make sure that you are using as minimal compost as possible that fulfills your needs.
Doing so will also enhance the soil quality and the health of your plants. One very important thing to consider is maintaining the right pH level in soil for the best plant growth.
What is the different amount of compost needed for different purposes?
The interesting thing about sustainable gardening is that you need different amounts of compost for different parts of land and plants. Even if you plan to use compost in your home, you will need to use different amounts for different parts.
A general rule is to keep adding between half an inch and a quarter-inch of compost between 1-2 inches of soil when amending the soil. However, if you want to go more in-depth, the following are details for adding compost for different parts of your garden.
Compost needed for Garden
Adding compost in spring before you plant seeds or seedlings is recommended. So, when you are adding compost, add 1-3 inches of compost and work in the soil. Working as deep as 4-8 inches in the soil will be the best practice.
Doing so will get better nutrition and drainage. However, if there is sandy soil, you need to mix 1 part soil and 2 parts of compost for the best results.
Compost needed for Lawn
For the new lawns adding half or a quarter-inch of compost as topdressing is the best thing to do. Only rake it into the soil if there are some bare spots. Moreover, it is immortal that you till 1-2 inches of soil into the upper 4-8 inches of soil before topdressing with compost.
Compost needed for Flower Beds
The older flower beds need no more than an inch of compost with 2 inches of mulch on top. For the newer flowerbeds, it is important to get 1-3 inches of compost which you need to till at least 4-8 inches deep. Extending compost at least 12 inches away from the plants is better for their best health.
Compost needed for Hedges and around Trees
It is where things get interesting. For the newer trees, you need to dig as deep as the plant’s root ball is and then mix 1 inch of compost with the soil that came out. Filling back the mixture will get the job done.
Make sure not to force all the excavated material back forcefully. Doing so may hinder the nutrients from getting to the roots. For the older plants, you can add 2-4 inches of compost and mulch while keeping the compost at least 4-6 inches away from the trunk of your plant.
Get Smart – Calculate the amount of compost you need according to your area
Things and conditions may be different in your case. So, if you are confused about how much compost I need, you need to get smart. It means using the right formula to calculate the amount of compost. The following are different formulae that can help you out:
Determining the number of cubic yards of compost needed
Total Square Feet * Total inches of compost * 0.0031
The result you get from this formula will be the total cubic yards of compost you need.
Determining the number of bags of compost needed
Total Square Feet * Total inches of compost * 0.124
The result you get from this formula will be the total number of bags of compost you need.
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Excess of everything is bad, and if you are adding compost to the soil at your place and you are not monitoring things, then there are major chances that you may be adding more than needed. Doing so may not be good for the plants as well as the soil.
So, you need to pay attention to the answers you get when you ask how much compost do I need. All in all, using the test results for calculating the amount of compost needed is the best solution.
How much should you pay when buying compost?
The price you need to pay for compost is another factor worth considering because you do not need to pay a lot. Although composting yourself is important for sustainable gardening because it is free and only needs some attention and monitoring.
You can also buy compost with its price ranging from $25 to $50 per square foot. The quality, moisture content, and delivery charges make the prices vary here.
Adding the right amount of compost to the soil is the secret to having healthy plants. Its importance is what makes people ask how much compost I need. So, if you were also looking to know how much compost is right according to your needs, we hope that you have got the answer.
One thing that you always need to remember is that adding some amount of compost in one place does not mean that the other place will need the same amount of compost.