Compost: Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is This Important?
Who should use compost?
Gardeners should compost their garden beds once or twice per year. Farmers should compost their fields annually. Ranches should compost grasslands once every 15 years.
What are the benefits of using Compost?
Home gardeners can improve the quality and quantity of fruit and vegetables grown as well as getting their lawns looking great by applying compost.
Farmers can reduce their carbon footprint by using compost instead of cow manure (which accounts for a significant portion of CO2 emissions).
How can I compost in a city?
For home composting in urban areas use a worm bin which has a small footprint, or if you have yard space to spare use at least 3 by 3 feet to start your own compost pile.
How would I start a worm bin?
There are many types of worm bins such as the Traditional Worm Bin, Flow Through Worm Bin, Stacked Worm Bin and Worm Trays which are discussed at the link below:
For home composting we would suggest a Flow Through Worm Bin due to its ease of use and simple construction. They are also readily available for purchase from many vendors.
Traditional Worm Bins are probably the easiest to set up, consisting of a box or tub with holes made in it. Although creating these types of bins is simple, maintaining and harvesting compost from them is more involved and can be messy. There are many different designs some of which can be found on the following websites:
Flow Through Worm bins are more involved to create but are easier to harvest and maintain. There are two main designs – one using boxes the other using fabric bags. Designs can be found on the following sites:
How do I start a compost pile?
To have a compost pile you will need at least a 3 x 3 foot area to work with. You will also need at least a cubic yard of organic waste to start composting.
Visit the following sites for instructions and suggestions on how to start a compost pile:
How can I get my city to start green bin / organic waste pick up?
The best way to go about starting a green bin/ organic waste pick up would be to discuss the topic and your ideas with your local city waste management officers. If you do not know how to contact them then first reach out to your garbage man, then your local government representative for public works.
How do I start a compost facility?
Before you would start a compost facility the best thing to do would be to speak to our partners, and to learn from their experiences. This will help guide you on what to do and not to do before you start. The link below will take you to a list of partners, scroll to the bottom of the page to become a partner today!
How much does compost cost?
The cost of compost can range between $5 to $10 per cubic yard. 1 cubic yard is enough to spread an inch think of over 350 square feet.
Below is a link where you can obtain free compost for your garden/ home in the San Francisco area:
When is a good time to spread compost?
As a general rule, compost your beds before each planting season. The number of planting seasons you have each calendar year is dependent on your geographic location.
If you live in cooler climates, such as the Northeast or Midwest United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom where there is one major growing season – apply compost once per year. If you live in the South or Southwest United States, where a warm climate offers year-round gardening, you need to add compost twice per year to accommodate two distinct growing seasons.