The Profitable Mini-Farm is a new series hosted by Diego Footer and Jodi Roebuck to take a deep dive into the technicalities of farming—from designing your farm’s layout to crop planning to treating your soil.
In this episode of The Profitable Mini Farm, Jodi and Diego talk all about compost. They delve into the work that goes into making compost on-farm, sourcing compost inputs both on-farm, and managing compost inputs sourced off-farm. Jodi and Diego also talk about the cost and the benefits of applying compost to each bed.
Today’s Guest: Jodi Roebuck
Jodi Roebuck is the main farmer behind Roebuck Farm and is a John Jeavons alumnus. He has been teaching sustainable bio-intensive growing techniques all over the world for over 20 years with the aim of creating sustainable food systems while bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.
In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart
- Diego introduces the episode on compost (00:07)
- Not ready to invest in a greenhouse yet? Consider using Kwik Hoop Low Tunnels! (01:07)
- How big of a role does compost play over at Roebuck Farm? (01:52)
- Building soil with cover crops, compost, and leaving root mass in the soil (02:34)
- Compost-heavy system or a cover crop-heavy system (04:27)
- The advantages of a compost system over a cover crop system (05:15)
- More or less labor: composting vs. cover cropping (06:10)
- Being able to supply all the compost inputs on-site (10:00)
- Sourcing and managing off-farm compost inputs (13:55)
- The problem with horse manure (15:42)
- Where Roebuck Farm sources their carbon for their compost (17:23)
- Not all compost are created equal (20:49)
- Constructing compost at 50% carbon and 50% nitrogen by volume (22:58)
- The more turns made to a compost pile, the faster it finishes (25:32)
- Keep a thermometer handy to keep track of your compost (27:18)
- How much compost you need depends on your context (28:55)
- Cost of compost per bed per year (32:17)
- Is the effort and cost of applying compost worth it? (35:31)
- A small amount of compost over more beds or more compost over a limited number of beds? (40:04)
- Will adding compost after every bed flip make a difference? (42:42)
- Bruce Davis: you should never compost the same ingredients with the same method using the same bugs and critters (46:15)
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