Compost is always in some stage of transition on the farm, either being made, digesting or finished. Usually we have all three stages simultaneously. It plays an essential role in our farming scheme, adding nutrients, microbial life and texture to the soils.
The raw ingredients vary with availability, but we have access to aged horse manure and bedding that provides enough carbon to balance the amount of green refuse that comes from our packing and sorting. Typically 1-2 cubic yards of green material goes back to the compost every week. When a new pile is made, it will heat up to at least 135 degrees. After the pile cools (3-5 weeks) it’ll be turned again, usually with a similar heating spike of shorter duration. After rolling the pile 4-5 times it will stabilize, cool off and be ready to use. It takes several months, turning the pile, keeping the right moisture level, the correct ingredients in the right proportions, but magic happens.
We also purchase, by the truckload half or more of the compost we need to augment the soil building necessary to grow good vegetables. Increased working of the soil by nature depletes the organic fraction, and when all of those vegetables leave the farm, something has to replace the nutrients and elements leaving with them. Typical compost applications are between 8-12 yards per acre per crop.