I am working on a project that will require a fairly significant amount of compost (about 1/3 acre covered at least 6 inches deep) and am trying to source some high quality, affordable compost. I have used Soilutions and was advised against the City's compost that they have been offering the last few years at a very affordable rate. I have also used animal material from various places in the South Valley (goat manure is great!), but the scale I need has me looking elsewhere.
Does anyone here have any experience using the ABCWUA (that's the Water Authority) compost? It is a mixture of biosolids (read: sewage sludge) and other materials and is extremely affordable. But, I was hoping to get some feedback from someone who has used it first. Anyone? You can follow the link to learn more.
There are obvious concerns around the concentrations of heavy metals, radioactive materials, pathogens, etc., but they do test it regularly so I am pretty reassured about safety. While I don't want to expose gardeners to dangerous materials, I am generally in support of "completing the loop" when it comes to reintegrating sewage safely into the natural environment (especially after reading the Humanure Handbook...).
Anyone used this stuff? What was your experience? The prices are great - $10/cubic yard versus $7.50/cubic foot from Soilutions (27 cubic feet in one cubic yard)
I've used it in raised beds as the vast-majority soil component, and the results were very positive - i've also had it applied to a 4-acre field, and that seemed to work quite well, too. I recommend it, provided you're happy with their level of testing (i am).
Ha! Thanks Joran. I actually originally got the idea from you and was planning to call and see what your experience was after a season. Thanks for the feedback!
Soilutions premium compost is better priced when you purchase by the yard. It's 36.00 per cubic yard. I know it may be higher than the 10.00, but better than the per bag (cubic foot) price.
New Mexico Earth Adobe on the west side sells soilutions compost for a couple bucks more per yard. They sell their top soil or compost.
Just not sure how many yards will cover the 1/3 acre at 6 inches. I am sure they could figure that out for you though. I use soilutions and NM Earth Adobe and have good experience.
I thought they had a cu. yd. price, but I couldn't easily locate it on the website, so thatnks for that. That is a little more competetive, but I need to calculate our ovall need and see if the savings with the ABCWUA material is significant.
Looking at the website, I noticed that YOU have to pick this stuff up, and the facility is something like 15 miles west of the city - that's a long way to pick up compost. You need a lot - (here's my math - 10000 sq ft * 0.5 ft = 5000 ft**3; divide by 27, and you get approximately 200 cubic yards - yikes! - lots and lots of trips with a pickup truck). You should really look up "manure" in Craigslist, and call up the sources and see if they'll deliver for a nominal price. Or... see if you can buy a trailer of Sandoval County's finest: http://www.rrobserver.com/news/article_d56e6da2-5596-5f0a-8e73-4b61... - at least it's made from green compost, not human/industrial waste.
Ok, bumping this thread as we get closer to graden build time. Has anyone used the City's compost?
Price is even cheaper than ABCWUA, but I begin to worry when its too cheap...
Would love to hear if anyone has had experience with this material and if it was positive.
Thanks everyone for the great feedback so far!
Hey, Wade - that's a great link! The advantage to this type of mulch is that the animal waste is high in nitrogen, while the green waste is high in carbon, so the combo will result in a pretty good mix that, hopefully, the city let heat up on its own, burning off diseased plant parts. I wasn't too thrilled about using human waste for a garden, because of the potential for transmitting strange bacteria, but horse or cow manure should be fine. I'll have to check it out...
I used it last year on the orchard. The compost I got was rich and well screened. It was reasonable and the delivery (they DID deliver last year) was smooth and handled professionally. I would do it again.