How Much compost To Use?
Most books and articles dealing with compost simply advise you to "spread" the compost around the garden bed or around the plant. They seldom offer any guidance on how thickly to spread it. Most people unwittingly waste this valuable soil amendment by spreading it too thickly. A thick layer of compost--anything over 1 inch--won't hurt anything, but it limits the total area that can potentially be conditioned and improved.
Most yardeners should consider compost as a special tool for special situations, rather than as a general amendment all over the property. While it does improve any soil by increasing that soil’s organic content, other materials can do that job more cheaply. While there are no rules for everyone, we suggest that most yardeners can gain great benefit by planning on using 5 to 10 bags of compost every year to deal with specific problems or specific needs in the landscape. In the rest of this file, we give you some understanding about how best to use compost, depending on the situation at hand.
Stretching Compost - In cases where the supply of compost is severely limited, and even spread in 1/4 inch layers it will not go very far, consider mixing it half and half with Canadian sphagnum peat moss. This humus product will augment the volume of compost and make it possible to covering twice the area without losing any of the benefits of the compost.