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What are 2-Season Compost Application Rates?

From Ecology Action

A healthy compost pileQuestion:  If I am doing two growing seasons per year, should I apply the recommended high level of compost (6.5gB per 100 sq ft) before each season (resulting in 12 5gB total for the year) or just once in the spring (for an annual total of 6.5gB)?

Answer:  A goal should be to add compost in both spring and autumn. To do this requires a well choreographed cropping design.

At the beginning, until you are achieving high levels of compost crop productivity, it is probably best to apply 3.5gB compost/100 square feet of garden bed one time per year, in the spring. In autumn, at the end of the growing season, there is usually significant organic matter and nutrient residue remaining in the soil from that year's crops to allow you to grow sustainable compost crops in the late autumn/winter/spring growing season without a second addition of compost.

However, once your compost crop productivity is high enough to support it, you should apply compost twice a year to achieve maximum soil fertility and sustainable productivity, at a rate of 3.5gB compost/100 square feet of garden bed, for a total of 6.5gB per bed per year.

For more information on compost application, compost making and sustainability, please see our GB Compost Protocol. Also, see the Manure in Compost, Compost Crop, and Composting Hair, Fertilizer, and Cover Crop FAQ topics.

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