How Much Compost


Have you recently started composting?

Are you using your kitchen scraps or garden leaves and waste to create compost at home?

Do you want to understand how to calculate the amount of compost you need to use?

If you are thinking about starting composting at home or have already started composting, great! But what do you do after making the compost? You already know that it is something that can vastly improve the quality of your soil, but how much will you really need?

In this article, we are sharing detailed information that can help you calculate the amount of compost you need for a particular space. From using it in your home garden to smaller plants or even for a bigger place, we will show you how you can easily calculate the same. Just scroll down.

How do you measure compost?

There is no standard answer to understand how much compost you will need. Usually, the amount of compost that you will need will depend on the exact reasons you want to use it for.

  • The reason for this is that the amount of compost will vary based on where and how you want to use it.
  • For instance, if you want to use the compost to spread it in your already ready lawn, you may need a smaller amount, such as 1/4th to ½ an inch into the surface.
  • If you are using the compost before you are laying out the lawn, you may have to work it deeper into the soil, about 1 to 2 inches under the surface.
  • If you are planning to use the compost for your vegetable or your flower garden, you may need to use the compost for a little more depth.
  • Then again, if you are planning to use the compost as mulch, adding it to a depth of about 1/4th or to about half an inch in the soil should be enough.

How to measure the amount of compost you have ready for use?

Now that you have used all the waste you had at home, including your wet and dry waste, how do you know how much of that compost you need to use for your particular use so that you can get the best results?

Here are a few accurate ways that will help you correctly measure the amount of compost that you have ready for use for your plants, garden, lawn or any other space:

Handy guide to compute the amount of compost you will need

Here is a simple idea of how you have to start calculating how much compost you will need:

  • Determine the size of the area that you want to cover in square inches measurement.
  • Once you have the number, you will have to multiply it by the amount of depth you need.
  • This will give you the answer as to how many cubic inches of compost you actually need.

The amount of compost that you need on your farm:

Let’s take the following measurement example of a farm:

  • Has a quarter acre of production area
  • Puts 2 inches of compost on each bed at the start of the season
  • Each bed is 30 inches wide and 50 feet (600 inches) long
  • To get the cubic feet compost, use the following calculation:
  • 2 inches X 30 inches X 600 inches = 36,000 cubic inches
  • Now multiply this number by .0000214 = 7.716 cubic yards
  • Multiply this number with the number of beds (64) to get the amount of compost you will need per bed = 49.38 cubic yards
  • Use these formulas to measure your compost needs for a farm.

The amount of compost that you need on your garden:

Let’s take the following measurement example of a garden bed:

  • Has an area of 8 feet length X 4 feet width.
  • Depth is let’s say 20 inches.
  • Using a compost calculator, you will get the amount of total compost that you will need.

The amount of compost that you need on the top of your plant beds:

  • An ideal amount of compost to add on top of your plant bedding is about 2 inches of compost.
  • For instance, let’s assume you have a 100 square feet area (about 10 square metres).
  • So using 2 inches on the area will mean using about 0.6 cubic yard or less than a cubic metre of compost.

When you know how much depth you want for the compost:

  • Let’s say you want 3 inches of compost.
  • Calculate the area of the beds, say 200 feet length X 2 feet width (make sure you convert everything to the same metric)
  • In this case it is 3.7 cubic yards per row.
  • With 16 rows it becomes 16 X 3.7 = 59.2 cubic yards of compost.

Easy way to measure 1 litre compost

  • Take a 2 litre plastic bottle.
  • Rinse.
  • Cut into the side.
  • Cut across the halfway mark.
  • You have a 1 litre scoop for collecting compost.

Online compost calculators for finding out how much compost is needed

Want to make it a little easier to calculate how much compost you will need? Check out this link to try out this easy-to-use compost calculator.

How to use the compost calculator:

1. Determining the approximate depth for applying the compost:

  • If you are applying the compost to the top of the soil, you will need the compost for a depth of about 1/4th to ½ inch.
  • If you are applying the compost to just amend the soil, you will need the compost for a depth of about 1 to 2 inches.
  • A maximum recommended number for adding the compost to mix with soil is about 30 to 50 percent compost in the blend.
  • However, please remember that if you are going to apply the compost to a raised bed or in a container, you should not add more than 30 percent compost to the mix.

2. Determining how much compost you will need based on the area you need it for:

  • Add information about the dimensions of the total planting area.
  • Add information about the amount of depth for which you will need to add the compost.
  • Click and calculate.

For this compost coverage calculator for the above step, you will have to fill out the following information:

  • The dimensions of application area in whole numbers in length and width with feet measurement scale
  • The amount of desired compost depth in inches measurement scale
  • Once you fill in the above information, you will have to click on the button that says Calculate how much I need
  • You will find the result displayed at the bottom of the button that you clicked

Now that you know so much about composting and how to use it, we’d suggest you get into it with an open mind, and don’t look for immediate results. Be a little careful with the calculations so that you do not end up putting too much compost.

So, give the process its natural time and keep the above tips in mind when you are using the compost. Even if you fail for the first few times, don’t give up, because eventually, the results you will see are worth trying for.


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