I thought the following may be useful to some, so as not to lose track; that compost should be stable without active components. (low to no measureable N, etc) and with original ingredients not being recognizable. http://www.tritrainingcenter.org/course/M2/composts_9_components_of_compost_quality.html Components of compost quality In mature high-quality compost: Parent feedstock material should not be recognizable. Structure includes medium- and fine-size particles and humus crumbs. Moisture content should be 40 to 50%, dry enough that the compost doesn't ball up in your fist. Smell should be earthy, like humus or forest soil (this is the actinomycete microbe population); no ammonia, sour, putrid or manure odors, which are byproducts of anaerobic microorganisms. Temperature should be near that of the air temperature; the material shouldn't steam unless the ambient temperature is below freezing. If quick-germinating seeds like cress, radish or wheat sown in a sample grow well, the compost is mature and likely of good quality. You can also buy on- farm test kits and laboratory analysis services for compost. The carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio plays a crucial role in the availability of nitrogen from any organic material added to the soil. The higher the C:N ratio, the more the balance favors carbon, and the slower the release of the nitrogen will be. According to the NOP, the initial C:N ratio of a newly mixed compost pile should be between 25:1 and 40:1. Finished compost C:N ratios generally range from 14:1 to 22:1, depending on the feedstocks. If the C:N ratio is much above 30:1, then the microorganisms that use the carbon in the material as an energy source will also immobilize the nitrogen. The nitrogen will remain in the soil, unavailable for use by plants until later. Finished compost Finished compost is a dilute organic fertilizer with analyses in the range of 1-1-1 to 2-1-2 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium). Values will vary according to the types of materials used and how they were composted. Like soil, compost can be lab-tested for major and minor elements (phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron, iron, manganese and copper), water content, pH, organic matter, total nitrogen, nitrate, ammonium, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, soluble salts and extractable heavy metals. This information can be used to determine how much compost to apply for maximum plant growth and minimum nutrient loss. Some labs can also analyze the microbial makeup of your compost, but the value of such testing is more difficult to assess. To evaluate composts' effect on soil fertility, test soils several months after application (but not during the winter or under drought conditions). The pH of finished compost tends to be slightly alkaline. Compost usually does not raise field soil pH to undesirable levels, because the total amount of compost applied is small relative to the amount of soil in the field. In greenhouse applications, where the amount of compost as a percentage of the growing medium is much higher, you'll need to monitor the compost's pH more closely. The alkalinity of the media can be neutralized if necessary with an NOP-approved sulfur or acidifying compound.