substitute for compost

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by mrkosar, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    i know how good compost is as a topdressing and everyone makes sure to include it in their suggested organic programs...but what about if you don't have a quality compost supplier near you? or if you do, but you can't apply it to customer's lawns because it is cost prohibitive? then what?

    what can i apply as a similar type substitute? most will say compost teas probably right? again, what if you don't have a supplier around you? anything else out there?
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,159

    Have you check with all the municipalities for composted leaf mulch? (In NJ, it can be had for $9 a yard.) County sewage for biosolids? When ever you do get compost have it tested for microbial activity and the absence of E Coli.

    If the compost isn't finished & you have space, you can finish it yourself.

    As for compost teas, you can purchase a brewer and make your own with kits supplied from the manufacturer.

    Other liquid applications include fish hydrolysis, liquid kelp, liquid humates, etc.

    Feel free to PM me or check my website.

    Bill Skerrett can help you with other options
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    I don't know about distribution in your area but Barry is associated with a pretty darn good organic based program that uses composted chicken manure, the end result of the composting gives a rich organic based fertilizer that is high in organic matter. In fact they have a calculator on their site so that you can plug in the months and how much N and organic matter you need for a site and it will print out a customized sheet for that site showing all of the different products needed for the year and the cost associated with each

    The reason I keep banging the compost drum is, when properly composted, it is high in nutrients and organic matter and typically very inexpensive. Compost is also a great sustainable practice that employs local people to produce the product. I also like to point out that LOCAL compost is the best because the same biology that is around your area is in the compost.

    Compost that is bagged and shipped from Wisconsin will not have the same beneficial microorganisms that are in the soil in Atlanta GA, it will provide organic matter to the soil but the beneficials in the compost will not thrive

    Alfalfa soy, etc. meals are used as well for their protein and carbs but they don't have the same amounts of carbon that you need for soils that have low organic matter readings
  4. Tom Jaszewski

    Tom Jaszewski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Could you share the source of this information. My experience is quite different.

    I would agree that local is best, but for economic and social reasons. But I am a locavore!:)
  5. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    Hello Tom, good to see you again;

    I agree with you Tom. I've had great success using Alaska humus products and compost from other areas of the country to make my AACT. In fact, the Alaska humus product provides more beneficial micro organisms than compost provides. In addition, it's free from any chemicals that may be contained in even local compost facilities. So to state that these soil organisms won't thrive is not true.
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Actually I don't think I could put my finger on that information. I thought about it and my belief is probably anecdotal. I have certainly been taught that and have discussed it with others but I don't think I could give you documented results on that
  7. Tom Jaszewski

    Tom Jaszewski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52


    In conversations with Dr Amaranthus I learned that at least some fungi seem to be global. What will colonize roots in the US will also colonize in AU. I'm also certain there is some species lost in varying climates. My preference has always been to use products like Alaskan Humus and blend with vermicompost and locally produced compost. These days my use of Alaskan Humus is limited to tea/extract production. Gone are the days of train car loads of humus. My interests really peak when we discuss impacting our communities to raise the bar and produce local composts. Having high levels of respect for BD and other similar philosophies, I think there may be undiscovered benefits from producing locally.
  8. Tom Jaszewski

    Tom Jaszewski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52


    I suspect it would be more accurate to say "different" not necessarily more, unless you've seen reports to the contrary. I never read any direct assays comparing AH with compost and vermicompost. What I have read are assays comparing compost with vermicompost, and there were important differences. I also noted in disease suppression testing that combining AH with V and C produced the best results in vitro AND in the field.

    That's one of the reasons I fought so hard to fund the train car loads of AH when developing and continuing a recovery program for the palms in Las Vegas. In that situation, a 50 million dollar landscape, AH was financially pracical. However I'm certain thats not sustainable in my newest career!:)
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Tom we need to talk, I am starting a long term project that would be right up that alley
    Will you be at the ELA show in March per chance
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    I'm in agreement here. Long term sustainability will require local communities get interested and involved in practices that reduce economic burden and resource waste. :)

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