A little history: Prior to 2010, everybody fended for themselves regarding soil conditioning & composting options. I remember spending close to $40 in bagged compost & soil conditioners that year; the following year we joined the Grower’s Network with the collected donations of the gardeners. 2011, we joined again using gardener donations & raised funds from the Harvest Party.
This year we know that the Grower’s Network is only planning on using Rhode Island Resource Recovery (RIRRC) compost, which is fine (more below); what we need to decide is if we want to join it or fend for ourselves.
Here are our options for what we can do:
The compost they are providing this year is organically-certified; however, it is mostly composed of leaves, grass clippings and wood chips with little in the way of nutrition. This means that:
- The compost from RIRRC is great for conditioning the soil quality
- The compost from RIRRC is not a nutritious compost.
The way I see it is that we have our own compost already that consists of much of these things and the RIRRC is very inexpensive, so I think we could probably agree to cooperate to get whatever we need from RIRRC on our own time schedule.
Joining the network costs the garden at least $500.
The price of the RIRRC compost is about $30/yd
OPTION TWO: An Opt-in.
Allow the gardeners to opt-in together to buy compost from Earth Care Farm, which is much more expensive but also nutritionally dense, removing the need to add continuous extra fertilizer. In this case, those that would want the compost would opt-in, therefore the price would be reflective of how many people want collective compost. For most plots, an additional $10-$20 should suffice, but it will give the individual gardener the power to choose how much or how little s/he can afford – or would like – to put into the pot.
Kurt Teichert (resident since 2011, new board member) did some research for the board to help us come up with some solution to our composting issue. He writes:
I spoke with Mike Merner yesterday at the composting conference about prices and delivery.
Earth Care Farm compost is $54/yd and delivery is about $240 and the truck can haul a max of 20 cu yds. http://www.earthcarefarm.com/pricing.htm
My rough estimate is that this would allow for ~ 1 inch of compost for each of ~130 plots. This equates to $10 per plot for gardeners to add 1 inch of compost to a 4 x 8 plot.I think 1 inch is the minimum that should be applied.
The Class-A compost (now also organic) from RIRRC is listed at $30/yd http://www.rirrc.org/resident/composting/residential-compost-sales/
For those of you that were with us through the 2010 season, recall that we were given the Earth Care Farm compost; Last year we were given the RIRRC compost.
So I want to open the discussion up and see if we can come up with a plan.