composting raised beds

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by heidith, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. heidith

    heidith Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,
    I have a quick question. I have many 4x6 raised beds, made with wood, that I grow all of our vegetables in. They are nice and deep and most are nearly full with soil that I've built up over the last five years. I add compost to them each year and this year, because my chickens have been eating my vegetable scraps faster than they can be turned into compost, I've had to buy some. I found a source for organic compost that I trust and have been adding it to my beds. My question is this: the compost is bagged from a localish organic farm and on the bag it says to spread 10-20 pounds per 100 sq. ft. The bags are 40 pounds each. I've been putting the entire bag on because when it's spread out over the top of the bed it doesn't quite make an inch of added organic material. So, why do they suggest this amount? Am I doing my math wrong? Isn't a 4x6 bed equal to 24 sq. ft.? Of course, if it's 240 sq. ft that would explain the whole thing, wouldn't it??!! How much compost do you all add to your gardens/beds each year?
    Heidi in NY
     
  2. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Um, I'm sure somebody will come up with a more knowledgable answer than mine, but my guess is that maybe they are expecting you to use it more like fertilizer than a growing medium, so they want you to spread it pretty thin over the soil and just dig it in for a little added nutrients? Again, just a guess. I have raised beds for the first time this year, and they're almost entirely filled with compost, since I got compost for free and I'd have to buy soil--so I'd be tempted to do the same as you did. I'll be interested to see the real answer, though.
     

  3. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i bet the last poster is on to something. this stuff is probably high in nitrogen. perhaps you should check the ph of your soil and adjust with lime or maybe a touch of wood ashes.
     
  4. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    I got free compost from the local University Farm and filled some wooden wine barrel halves with it and just planted in the pure compost. That was 5 years or so and everything has been doing great. I planted lettuce. tomatoes, tomatillos, egg plant, and peppers in them...GREAT :cowboy:
     
  5. heidith

    heidith Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everybody. In the past I have grown vegetables in just compost and they did so well I couldn't believe it. I think I will test the soil just to see what I've got going on in there as of now. I'm one of those people who just LOVES compost and would just grow everything in it and fergitaboud that silly soil stuff!! :)) But perhaps this purchased compost is "stronger" than what my neighbor's composted horse/pig/sheep manure was...
    Heidi in NY