How much compost do I need?

How much compost do I need?

You’ve probably heard that compost is great for your garden, and that fall is a perfect time to add it to your soil, but how much exactly do you need?

For Gardens:

As a rough rule of thumb, add a layer 1-3″ thick to your garden and either mix it into the soil or plant a cover crop (such as hairy vetch, winter rye, or red clover). When preparing your garden for winter, we suggest planting a cover crop.

For Lawns:

Yep, you can add compost to your lawn too! For existing lawns, add just a 1/4-1/2″ layer and then proceed with reseeding and care as usual. For new lawns, incorporate 1-2″ into the soil before seeding.

As Mulch:

As we mentioned in our last blog post, compost can also be used for mulch! If you’re mulching a garden that already has plants in it, spread a thin (~1/4-3/4″) layer around the plants. If you’re mulching a dormant garden, use a thicker ~1-2″ layer instead. If you’re mulching before winter, we recommend planting a cover crop as well.


Now, how do you calculate your total compost need? If you’d like to use a calculator, try this one. (Remember, if you’re receiving your Table to Farm annual compost dividend, it comes in 5-gallon increments, which equals .67 cubic feet.)

If you’d rather calculate from scratch, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the length and the width of the area you want to cover. Either measure in inches, or measure in feet and then multiply each measurement by 12 to convert to inches. 
  2. Multiply your length in inches by your width in inches. This gives you your total surface area in square inches.  
  3. Multiply this by the depth of compost you want to apply. This gives you your total volume in cubic inches.  
  4. Divide by 46,656 to convert to cubic yards.  
  5. Round to the nearest whole or half yard to determine how much compost you need.

Still have questions? get in touch and we’ll gladly help you out! Email