How Do I Know If I'm Getting Good Finished Compost?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Do I have to send a sample to a lab???
     
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,564

  3. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,460

    Try sprouting radish seeds in it. Radishes are quick to sprout.
     
  4. Snapper12

    Snapper12 LawnSite Senior Member
    from CE MO
    Posts: 259

    Does it smell? Is it hot? Are there large pieces of wood/material in it?
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I get topsoil from the same yard I get the compost... I look at the mountains and decide on the spot which, of two, mountains of compost and which, of 3, mountains of topsoil...

    Snapper 12, has a method that will allow me to go to the yard, make my selections and go to work...

    So my followup question is,,, "Just how complicated does selecting compost have to get for application of the typical lawn?"
     
  6. Snapper12

    Snapper12 LawnSite Senior Member
    from CE MO
    Posts: 259

    You're question is hard to answer. However, if you trust in the people making the compost any joe blow can haul it and spread it on a yard.
     
  7. David W

    David W LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    Does it have any plastic in it? Ask how it was screened and how fine? What are the ingredients of the compost? Yard debris, vegetable waste, leaves, grass clippings, woody materials, equine etc. etc.

    All compost is not created equal when going to spread. There are several compost producers in my area and all are different. Best I've found is a equine / leaves only compost that works beautifully for topdressing lawns. Very clean compost to work with vs. others with pieces of plastic bags, wood/other waste materials in it.

    Happy hunting.
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I've never gotten burned, buying compost that I can look at, only the stuff in the bags were disappointing... I was just wondering if the only way lcos got reliable compost was through testing at the local gov't testing lab...
     
  9. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Buy a scope from Tim Wilson (includes microbe ID DVD) and take a look for yourself. Take a small amount of compost, put in a small container with a little bit of molasses, shake it up and see what you have.

    http://microbeorganics.com/#Microscopes_for_sale
     
  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,564

    Everyone using compost should have this in their tool kit. You will learn a great deal and be able to do it yourself.

    One other thing, if your compost contains manure you should have it tested for E-coli.
     

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