Papillon
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Buying compost - what is a fair price?

We are expanding our garden quite a bit this year and need to buy a large amount of compost. So far the only local source for bulk compost we have found charges $55 for cubic yard plus $30 for delivery (up to 9 yard load). Seems pretty expensive to me, but I have never bought large quantities before. What is the price of bulk compost in your area?

Pete :?:

Charlie MV
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Are you sure that price is for compost and not mulch? Nobody around here sells compost any way but bagged. The prices you mention fall in line with what I pay for mulch. I pay $32 per scoop [front end loader] for a pick up load which I haul myself.

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Zofiava
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I didn't know the answer to that until today. The urban farm here said that if you bring your own truck and haul, it's 35 dollars per truck load (I thought it would be much more!!!) but if you have her use her truck, pick it up, and deliver it, it's 70 per truck load.

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LOL Y'all up there are bumpkins like us. I'd really have to think hard about loaning my pickup for $35. Sounds like a great deal to me. Can you keep the truck for the afternoon and make a few home Depot runs? I love it.

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Zofiava
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Haha!! That's with HER making the delivery! sounds like a steal to me!!!

Papillon
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I appreciate all the responses, but as long as you can not tell me what quantity the prices are for, they are of very little help to me. A typical truckload can be anywhere from 9 to 13 yards. At the price here $55 per yard that will be $525 to $745 plus tax per load delivered. I would love to get a truckload for $70, but somehow I have very hard time believing that anyone here would sell for such a price. And I live in the middle of farmland Central Minnesota. Please note that I am talking about full size construction style dump trucks, not Ford Ranger.

And Charlie, yes I am talking about compost not mulch.

Anyway, anyone out there who could tell me what is a typical price of good quality compost per yard in your area? Thanks.

Pete

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$25, but there is a near by city that has free compost.

It is yard waste collected and composted by the city. Bring a truck and a shovel and it's yours.

I don't know where you live, but you might want to check surrounding cities if you have a truck or trailer you can use.

A pickup truck typically holds about 2 yards. 6' bed by 4' wide x 2 feet high is almost 2 yards, but the beds are usually wider than 4' behind and ahead of the wheels.
If we all stop waiting, we will see something happen.

Papillon
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Thanks Msuc5vette that is useful information. It indicates the $55 per yard price I have been quoted for is very high. Unfortunately there are no towns of over 20,000 people within one hour's drive from here, but I will check with the near by towns about the availability of free compost anyway. What kind of outfit is offering the $25 price you mention in your area? My $55 bid came from a local nursery (the only one of four nurseries here who carries bulk compost).

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Gary350
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There is a guy on craigslist advertising a dump truck load of cow manure delivered within 50 miles for $250. The load is 7 ft wide, 14 ft long and 5 ft deep, I think that is an ok deal considering it would take me a month to haul that in a pick up truck 1 load at a time and I don't have to shovel it myself.

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When I was in Charlotte, the city had a compost program. What they gave away didn't fit my definition of compost because it may or may not have been completely finished when they let it go.. I make my own and it's well finished, rich black and fluffy when dry. It holds moisture for days when wet. I'm able to make 10 yards a year for my own garden in a years time from my crops, yard waste and an occasional neighbor's yard waste.I run it through a chipper and use the hot compost method. . If I could buy what I make for my garden for $55 a yard I'd consider it. I do enjoy the process of hot composting as well. I know what's in mine and what state it's in when I use it



Pete, if you're satisfied with the quality and finish of what you're looking at the price doesn't sound unreasonable. We're in farm country as well and I haven't come across any large operations that sell it. I don't use the cow and horse manure that's readily available because I don't have room to age it long enough to make it safe to use.

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I just payed $45 dollars a yard picked up. I know George, the farmer that makes this compost. He has an organic farm, turkeys, chickens, a few goats, he chips up landscape debris form a few organic companies and the refuse form the farm. It's really organic and it's really good. I've seen the Soil Food Web reports on Georges stuff, and loked at it under a microscope...

I know another guy up north who has a dairy herd and gets all the town's leaves every fall. Cow poop and leaves. No antibiotics, unless somebody has something specific. Not as fancy as George's operation, but lots of very nice compost. Also looked at it under a micrscope, and it's good too. Different, but good. He went up to $22 a yard this year. Is Georges better? More biodiverse, from lots of different sources, but better? Different. Next year I'll probably get some of Jack's...

My town peddled some "composted yard debris"; the wife saw free and had to have that instead of mulch. I tried to warn her, but free is a powerful good pricepoint and DW is adamant once she gets it in her head. No buying good mulch; we were getting the free stuff...

LOADED with artillery fungus that shot up the side of the house with little brown spots that harden like cement. On the white paint she had put there her ownself the previous summer...not happy, but I'd warned her...

Used George's compost on those borders this morning; a good bacterial culture will help move away from a fungally dominated soil biology, and I'll tweak it that way some for a while. Compost is a great tool for a lot of different issues; it's worth finding the good stuff and yes, it's out there. Contact your local NOFA chapter or organic farming organization. There is a wide range of products being called compost, from organic goodies like Georges and Jack's, to sewer sludge, so do your homework. It behooves you to find the best stuff and that is worth paying more for, but be sure you are getting the right stuff and not just paying more for junk.

Does it smell like a forest or a feedlot? Ammonia or poop smells are bad signs; trust your nose... it should smell clean like forest soil...

Is it finished? It should be unidentifiable bits, not chunks. It should not be heating from decomposition, and there should not be big clumps. If there is some clumping, but when you break a clump open you don't smell ammonia or sulfur, it should be fine...

Tub ground landscape debris is a very common item out there now sold as compost; it is composted to be sure but doesn't have the biological diversity of a manure based compost. I'd try to find a farmer or two like I did to get thte really good stuff; the composted yard scraps are great for mulching and adding humus, but don't have the wide array of biology that George and Jack's stuff will, and you will likely pay for that... Ask questions...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon May 18, 2009 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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any mushroom farms about?

 
The local mushroom farm here was loading a pick-up for about 5 or 10 dollars a couple years back. I called them on the phone and they weren't interested in me coming down with bags and loading it myself although I've heard from others that if you show up they'll let you.

I'm not going to bother as long as I'm making stuff in the backyard.

The mushroom stuff won't contain a lot of diversity and will probably require some finishing. It will be clean though.

I will try to find out what the local waste-stream compost producer charges. Their website, https://www.agromin.com/, doesn't show prices.
 

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Zofiava
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the 35 dollars was for a pickup truck, not a dump truck.

It was good, finished compost. We are very lucky to have an urban farm in the middle of this little inner city area... naturally grown certified using organic methods. I trust the growers, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me :)

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N2H2o
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i have yet to find good true compost around here. There is tons of mulch and top soils... the local dump has some of the blackest richestsoil i have seen around here. I think it is 20 bucks a yard.,, you haul
Mulch and woodchips range from 20-75 a yard.
here wehave blended or 80-20, 70-30 blended soils. 70% mulch and 30% sand, soil and clay. they recommend you mix it with existing soil. I planted directly in the 70-30 blend and everything is doing well., despite the shade.

a yard will just about fill a long bed full size pick up.

i would check the local dump, if they have a "green" program. some cities like L.A. here give "x" amount away free on the weekends. its mostly mulch and what not but you could mix it in with your soil
Been gardening all my life and cant get enough of it.

The Helpful Gardener
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Hey Rot, just how comfortable are you with mushroom compost? I have heard it's pretty spent when mushrooms are done with it and I have also heard about higher salt levels than other soils. Any truth to the rumors? While the humus would certainly be welcome as habitat for soil biology it sounds like you would need to provide food sourcing...

HG
Scott Reil

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the value of mushroom compost is a good question

 
HG,

I don't see a high value in nutrition in mushroom compost. If I were to go down that path I'd think of it as a substrate and mix it in with fresh ingredients for further cooking. Kind of a hamburger helper type thing.

Then again, the name of the game is getting the mostest organic material into the ground the fastest. The tract home lots I'm hanging in seem to need all they can get. I pretty much just top dress everything so I'm sure mushroom compost would serve for that as a fast and cheap alternative to buying the good stuff or waiting for some bins to cook. Dump coffee grounds and cover with the mushroom stuff. It's gotta be cheaper than miracle grow and more effective in the long run.

As I recall from our local grower, it is pasteurized first so that kind of makes me think it's limited from the get go. Then this grower has intentionally limited the ingredients. They pretty much just use race track horse manure and bedding. Not a rich mixture to my intuition. I would hope the pasteurization and the high temperatures later would mitigate race track drugs in the various excretions but god knows what drugs those might be.

I'm not excited about mushroom compost. Just cheap and available if I choose. Efficacy is dubious for my money. Maybe just call it mulch.

two cents

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We are on the same page, my friend... couldn't have said it better...

HG
Scott Reil

rot
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From Craigslist

 
Recent posting on cragslist.

I suspect they're getting their stuff from the Las Virgenes (aka Malibu Canyon) Water Reclamation plant. I've been meaning to catch one of their quarterly tours.

>"Class A", "Exceptional Quality" biosolids and micro recycled woodchips. Is an excellent organic soil conditioner properties are 2.8% total nitrogen, 1.1% phosphorous and 0.1% potasium. Will aid water retention in light soils and it helps to break up and aerate heavier soils, so less watering is needed. Most lawns require 100 cubic feet. I will deliver and place the compost on your property at your direction. You will see results in 2 days with no burning of the soil and no bad smell like steer manure. I charge $200 per Delivery of 100 Cubic Feet - thats cheaper than H-Depot charges for this same quantity. <
 

rot
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another from caraigslist

 
>
Its spring, time to have some rich compost rototilled into your soil. Or, just have some compost delivered to you. Locally farmed compost, it is very dark, rich and clean. I can also spread seed or many other needs you may need. Its a good time to grow some drought resistant grass.


Compost Costs: (delivered and spread 2" deep)

500 sq ft = $45

1000 sq ft = $85

1500 sq ft = $120

2000 sq ft = $155

(Discounts for just delivery and drop off, not spread).


Rototill Costs:

0-500 sq ft = $45

501-1000 sq ft = $70

1001-1500 sq ft = $95

1501-2000 sq ft = $120

(Discounts for having both rototilling and compost delivered). <
 

The Helpful Gardener
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Hmmmph.

Okay, "biosolids", as some are calling sewage sludge is cheap, to be sure. And the heavy metal issues of years back seem to have been addressed for the most part. But it is still loaded with low level pharmaceuticals and birth control and the concentration of protonaceous infectants (called [url=https://www.microbiologybytes.com/virology/Prions.html]prions[/url] is some six to seven time natural concentrations. As prions are starting to be linked to more than just mad cow, I'm not a fan. Yale University just found a [url=https://opa.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=6444]prion link to Alzheimers[/url]. And there is a number of fisherman from NC sick with very Alzheimer-like symptoms due to a prionic toxin from the waste streams of massive pig farms.

Plus it isn't really compost is it? It is digested by anaerobic organisms, not aerobic, and therefore not compost... too much splitting hairs? But it sounds like they added it to wood chips, and maybe they composted that? And is there enough heat to finally break down prions? Or waste stream add-ons like antibiotics and detergent additives? (although I have seen studies that say the soil biology seems to handel the low level AB...)

Plus spring is a lousy time to seed lawns; best done in fall... this guy is kinda fast, I think...
:roll:
HG
Scott Reil

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Hmmmph.

Okay, "biosolids", as some are calling sewage sludge is cheap, to be sure. And the heavy metal issues of years back seem to have been addressed for the most part. But it is still loaded with low level pharmaceuticals and birth control and the concentration of protonaceous infectants (called [url=https://www.microbiologybytes.com/virology/Prions.html]prions[/url] is some six to seven time natural concentrations. As prions are starting to be linked to more than just mad cow, I'm not a fan. Yale University just found a [url=https://opa.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=6444]prion link to Alzheimers[/url]. And there is a number of fisherman from NC sick with very Alzheimer-like symptoms due to a prionic toxin from the waste streams of massive pig farms.

Plus it isn't really compost is it? It is digested by anaerobic organisms, not aerobic, and therefore not compost... too much splitting hairs? But it sounds like they added it to wood chips, and maybe they composted that? And is there enough heat to finally break down prions? Or waste stream add-ons like antibiotics and detergent additives? (although I have seen studies that say the soil biology seems to handel the low level AB...)

Plus spring is a lousy time to seed lawns; best done in fall... this guy is kinda fast, I think...
:roll:
HG
Well fiddlesticks. I had been all excited to find out that my county provides FREE compost to its residents... but I'm pretty sure it's sewer sludge stuff. They call it BioBlend. I've pasted below what their website says about it. So I should steer clear of this?

Compost Facility

This bio-conversion facility using cutting-edge technology. This saves precious landfill space and turns residential waste into a revenue-generating soil-like compost product, called Bio-Blend. The fully operational plant can process up to 300 tons of waste daily for a 60 percent reduction in household materials going to a landfill. Such a reduction is accomplished without introduction of any chemical stimulants or outside sources of heat and ultimately provides a significant benefit to the environment.

Facts about BioBlend:

* Product registered as a soil amendment/conditioner by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
* Approved by the Georgia State EPD for use as compost material appropriate for landfill closures.
* Certified as a Class A compost by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under 40CFR 503 regulations.

BioBlend Features:

* Improves soil structure
* Inhibits rain runoff and soil erosion
* Reduces irrigation requirements
* Stimulates natural soil microbiology
* Builds soil humus and porosity

Composting Operation

The initial phase is the mixing of municipal solid waste or residential waste with treated sewage sludge in the appropriate proportions to maintain the optimal carbon/nitrogen balance. For three days, this combination of sludge and waste is agitated in rotating drums called “digestersâ€
Julia in Georgia

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One other question -- I wouldn't use that "BioBlend" free compost on anything I was growing to eat, in any case... but would it be okay to use for shrub/lawn/flower soil? or would these birth control residue etc. run off and pollute the water stream or possibly my food crops (although my veggie/herb garden will be on higher ground that the flower beds/lawns so for me personally it wouldn't be an issue)?
Julia in Georgia

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I was most concerned with food applications, but even dermal contact was enough in the case of the NC fisherman (a specific case, with Pfisteria producing the prionic contamination). I do believe that there are uses for this product, and blending with more conventional composts (which is the municipal stuff, although I'd really like to see that operation too...) is a likely scenario. So maybe for the trees and shrubs, but not if I have a well, and not if I am worried about the run-off into food production or adjacent waters...

Golf courses are a good place..., recreational fields, places where contact is less chronic and prolonged and where these supplements might help reduce or replace chemical inputs. But I think until the prionic content angle has been sussed out a little more, I remain hesitant to recommend it for home use...

HG
Scott Reil

GeorgiaGirl
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Thanks, HG... I think the small risk is enough to keep me away from trying any of the free compost... now if I could only convince my next-door neighbor to stop using chemicals on his lawn! :D
Julia in Georgia

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First keep your side of the street clean, and then the other guy might learn by example. I have found that to be a better strategy than calling people on it; they tend to get defensive and start yammering about "not illegal" and "I can do what I like in my yard." If only it stayed in their yards, right? But it does not, and folks need to know that, just don't waste too much breath... :roll:

HG
Scott Reil

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mo info

 
Regarding the 'biosolids' source I posted previously.

I went to the website for the suspected source of supply for this entrepreneur, https://www.lvmwd.com/index.aspx?page=173, and the language used in the craigslisting comes from the website above.

Also noted when drilling down to the pdf's posted there, they mention:
>Community Compost is a blend of dewatered, "Class A", "Exceptional
Quality" biosolids and recycled woodchips.1 <

Where footnote 1 states:
> "Exceptional Quality" is the highest grade possible and indicates the compost does not contain heavy metals.<

No mention of pharmaceuticals, protonaceous infectants or, WMDs.

I too am concerned with water treatment facilities becoming, have become, gargantuan bacterial darwinian experiments spewing the next generation of supergerms. We'll just mix mix in excrement from every sicko out there with anti-biotics, chlorine and, industrial solvents and see what survives. What's not to like? Certain gummints would pay good money to see the results.

I can hardly wait.
 

GeorgiaGirl
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Rot, that is absolutely terrifying. I haven't drunk tap water in years but the thought of all the residues polluting our water supply make me not want to shower in the stuff -- let alone water my garden with it!!
Julia in Georgia

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The finally treated water is not the issue here (until they spike it with hydrofluorosalicic acids, chlorine and chloramine. At least the chlorine gasses out after 24 hours or so...the other two; not so much... :( )

The stuff that comes through as sewage sludge is the stew that Rot was talking about, and he's right, it's an experiment... Sure the water is clean, but what are we doing with this STUFF we cleaned out? It's like talking about clean coal; sure we can clean up the gasses, but what is left from the clean-up? Huge lagoons of poisonous cr*p that can really ruin someone's day... [url=https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98959566]and regularly do[/url]. The problem is not solved until all the clean-up is complete; it's like announcing "Mission Accomplished" before anything really gets done... :roll: We must learn to manage our waste streams and turn them into a tangible, safe product; I do believe it is doable, it just isn't being done... yet ther are working models we have barely begun to explore despite decades of research and a [url=https://www.oceanarks.org/rst40_Impact_On_Water_Quality.php]few working models[/url] as old as that... And they [url=https://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2266879]DO work[/url]...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

rot
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I forgot one word

 
Clarification here:

When I said: "...concerned with water treatment facilities becoming,..." I should have said "...concerned with WASTE water treatment facilities becoming,...".

w/apologies rot
 

GeorgiaGirl
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I know that's what you were talking about, but there is mounting evidence that these residues are not being completely eliminated from the resulting "clean" tap water!

I can't recall the specific study that especially sickened me (it was a study that showed traces of birth control hormones and Prozac specifically in the tap water) but here are a few news results I just found in a quick search that are just as frightful:

https://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2008-03/tainted-tap-water

https://www.thenhf.com/articles_54.htm

https://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517131,00.html

"The Associated Press today announced that it has found traces of dozens of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of an estimated 41 million Americans"... similar findings have been discovered in Canada and the U.K. drinking water supply... this garbage isn't being totally removed from our tap water! Anyway, rant over... back to drinking my spring water... :D
Julia in Georgia

rot
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it grows as it goes

 
Too many people on the planet.

Lets hope we can check our own population growth before nature does it for us.
 

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