Compost and Topsoil FAQ

Should I Get Compost or Topsoil?

There are significant differences between our Farm-Crafted Compost™, Topsoil Plus - Lawn/Flower Mix™ and Topsoil Plus – Raised Bed/Container Mix™ that determine their best use for a particular application. Farm-Crafted Compost is comprised of 100% composted horse and dairy manure and does not contain any sand, silt, or clay. For this reason, it should be used only to amend or improve existing soil, as either a “nutritive mulch” or by digging it in before planting - it is NOT recommended for use as a planting media on its own. Furthermore, to avoid potential impacts to sensitive garden plants from persistent broadleaf herbicide residues that are likely present in ALL compost, compost should never be applied at a rate that will create a final mixing ratio that exceeds one part compost to three to four parts soil (1:3 or 1:4). Or, to say this in a different way, compost should never make up more than 20% to 25% of the planting media. On the other hand, our Topsoil Plus - Raised Bed Mix™ contains a mixture of compost, virgin silt and other ingredients selected for their ability to help create a rich garden soil with optimum drainage and water-holding qualities, and for this reason it IS specifically formulated to be used directly as a planting media. And finally, Topsoil Plus - Lawn/Flower Mix™ is best for growing grass and annual and perennial flowers.

How do I know how much Farm-Crafted Compost or Topsoil Plus to order if applying a thin layer over my garden or lawn?

1. Measure the area to be covered:
Compost and topsoil are sold by the “cubic yard (cu yd)” - think of it as a box or “cube” 3 ft wide by 3 ft tall by 3 ft deep. Or viewed another way, one cu yd of compost is equivalent to about 4 large or 5 medium-sized wheelbarrows. If thin layers of this cube were sliced off (e.g. 1 inch thick by 3 ft long x 3 ft wide) and laid out next to each other, there would be a specific number of slices that would cover a specific sized area (square footage) based on the thickness of the slices (e.g. 1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inches, etc.). Therefore, to determine how much compost or topsoil you need, you first need to determine the size of the area you want to cover by multiplying the length of the area (in feet) by its width (e.g. 27 ft x 12 ft = 324 sq ft).

2. Decide the thickness of the compost layer you want to apply:
Typically, compost is spread about one inch deep to maintain soils that already have a relatively good supply of nutrients and organic matter, and up to three inches on soils that are significantly depleted. As shown on our Compost Application Guide (see below), at a depth of one inch, one cubic yard of compost or topsoil will cover 324 sq ft, 162 sq ft if spread two inches deep, and 120 sq ft if spread three inches deep. However, please note that if being mixed into the soil (versus used as a "nutritive mulch") we recommend achieving a MINIMUM 80% dilution rate - meaning that 1 inch of compost should be mixed into a MINIMUM of 4 inches of soil, 2 inches of compost should be mixed into a MINIMUM of 8 inches of soil, and 3 inches of compost should be mixed into a MINIMUM of 15 inches of soil. If compost being used as a nutritive mulch, do not apply more than 2 inches deep.

Compost Application Guide

Existing Soil Quality Application Rate Area Covered with 1 cu yd of Compost
High Fertility 1 inch layer 324 sq ft
  2 inch layer 162 sq ft
Low Fertility 3 inch layer 120 sq ft

3. Click here to automatically calculate how much Farm-Crafted Compost or Topsoil Plus is needed to cover your garden or lawn.

How do I know how much Raised Bed Mix to order to fill a planting box or create a raised bed?

1. Measure the length (in feet), width (in feet) and depth (in feet) of your planting box or proposed raised bed. For example: 4 ft x 8 ft x 1.5 ft (18 inches) = 48 cubic feet.

2. Click here to automatically calculate the amount of Raised Bed Mix needed.

How do I place an order?

To place an order, all customers must fill out an on-line Order Form. Once we receive your completed form, we will call you back to obtain any missing information, answer any other questions, and/or to schedule your delivery.

Is our compost “organic”?

Both Farm-crafted Compost and Topsoil Plus are approved for use on organic farms by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) which certifies they were NOT made from any prohibited materials and we utilized practices to promote the destruction of potentially harmful pathogens (per section §205.203 of the National Organic Program).