[Market-farming] Re: Conversion factors for weight of compost

Mayapple Farm and Gardens mayapplefarm at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 2 18:11:13 EDT 2004

Steve, I apply about 50 to 60 yards of compost per
acre.  I'd like to apply more, but that's about all I
can manage to make and scrounge in a year's time. 
Even though it's supposedly about 1/4 inch thick, it
isn't.  When I disc or till it in, I wonder where it
all went.  I do find that the first year I put ground
into production that the compost I apply in the spring
doesn't help much: the ground is much more productive
the following year.  I should apply my compost in the
fall at the latest for new ground that I will be
putting into production the next spring.

For the person that suggested the shroud for your
spreader, you might also consider taking the spreading
parts off completely, letting the bed chain drop it
off the end of the spreader.  Since I practice a seven
year rotation, with vegetable crops ranging from
wide-spaced melons to close-spaced beans being on a
piece of ground for four of those, I spread wide.  One
year I did apply compost to the wide-spaced rows of
squash and cukes and it telegraphed through the
following year such that every third or fourth row of
beans grew really well with the others being mediocre.
 It was also fairly poor soil when I first got it, so
as the years go and I rotate back into it, I may not
have that kind of result.

Bob (?) in NJ, how is it you can plow under three to
four feet of standing grass without it going
anaerobic?  Are you on almost pure sand?  Before
anybody on tight soil considers doing something like
this, you might want to experiment.

Matt, my suspicion is that your municipal compost is
still heavy on carbon with almost no available
nitrogen.  If it heated to only 140 degrees, that also
suggests the same thing.  Well-balanced ingredients
will heat to 160 degrees.  My compost is probably a
little heavy on nitrogen since it is based largely on
animal manures, but I depend on it for fertilizer as
well as a soil conditioner.  I'm not sure how well
hairy vetch does in Arizona, but it is one of the best
for fixing large amounts of nitrogen.  When you
combine it with a grain crop, it makes a nice winter
cover that will return a lot of organic matter. 
Around here alfalfa is pricey enough that I wouldn't
want to spend that kind of money just to turn it under
in the spring.  There are better crops for that.


Krystyna L. Prochocki
Kevin L. Strohmeier
May Apple Farm and Gardens
4020 N. Grandview Church Rd.
Big Spring, KY 40175
mayapplefarm at yahoo.com

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