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40 pounds compost = ?? cubic feet

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Re: 40 pounds compost = ?? cubic feet

Post  Jeff Buffington on 3/9/2010, 11:42 pm

@boffer wrote:Multiple composts is a very good thing-no need to worry about ph and all that other stuff.

A 4x8 box is going to take 6ish cubic feet. Mel's mix can seem expensive when starting, but it's a lifetime investment-cheap in the long run.

Indeed. I'm wondering now if I used too little compost or peat moss. I picked up a second bag of Vermiculite and mixed up what I had. I only had enough to fill one 4x8, and put down a small layer in my second 4x8 box (mostly to keep the weed fabric down.)

I used 2 bags of vermiculite, 4 bags of store bought compost, some of my own compost (maybe a bag worth), and 1 bale of peat moss. The vermiculite were 4cu/ft bags, the store bought compost were 40lb bags, and the compost was 3.0 cu/ft compressed, the largest my Home Depot carried. Again, no mention of actual volume, though the four were roughly the size of the compressed peat bale.

I had expected to fill one 4x8 and half of another... is it the extra area gained with the 4x8 vs the 4x4 boards?

So, should I just run with the full 4x8 and create another batch to fill up the second box, even the two out and add more compost to both boxes, or something else?

Jeff Buffington

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Re: 40 pounds compost = ?? cubic feet

Post  boffer on 3/10/2010, 12:50 am

Hi Jeff,

You're confusing me with all your numbers!

I'm sure you're familiar with the acronym KISS ? Do it!

Lose the weight, work with volume, plan on having leftovers-I have a strong inkling you'll be making more boxes down the road to use them in. Yes, you could fill up the remaining space with compost. But, for your first two boxes, do it to spec. It will give you a baseline to compare to if you make changes down the road in other boxes.

I admit it took owning some gray hair before I acknowledged that it was silly to pay for professional advice if I wasn't going to use it. I don't take a pro's advice as gospel, but if I find myself discounting the advice because of cost, effort, inconvenience, and delay, I'm only fooling myself. After all, you did pay for a pro's advice when you bought the SFG book!

This is a 4x4 box filled with 10 cf; it will level out when saturated. That's 3 1/3 5 gallon bucket of each item in the mix. Just fill the buckets; it doesn't matter if there's air pockets or if it's heaping or slightly under.

It takes what it takes-you're committed now-do it right!


crap, after all that, I re-read your post before I sent mine, and I didn't give you a very good answer! But I'm leaving it in cause you needed to hear it anyhow

Somehow you got too much vermiculite in the mix. I've filled multiple boxes at a time, and vermiculite usually measures out pretty close to what the fill volume of the bag is. Or was it too little peat and compost like you said. Or do both those sentences mean the same thing?! What I would do is make a proper batch, and mix it half and half with the batch you've made. Put a bucket of new in the empty bed, then a bucket of old. Repeat, stir as you go. I know how many buckets it will take, but I'm not gonna tell ya cause it doesn't matter. It's full when it's full!

Think volume!


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cubic ft ?

Post  critterculler on 3/10/2010, 8:10 am

Hi Just an FYI, a 4'x4'x6" box holds 8 cu ft. Mel's mix when available will be in 2 cu ft bags weighing 35-40 lbs. This info is from Mel at the class last wk. Seeya Phil


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Re: 40 pounds compost = ?? cubic feet

Post  boffer on 3/10/2010, 9:50 am

Mathematically it is 8cf. When it's dry. In real life, when it has been saturated, 10 cf doesn't quite make it to the top. But then, I'm not the pro, I'm just sharing my observations.


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