How can you tell if store bought compost is safe

chaoApril 26, 2009

Is there any way I can tell whether store bought compost is safe to grow vegetables in. When the label says manure can that be human manure.I hear gin trash isnt safe and milorginite has heavy meatls. But how do you know.

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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

You only know if you make your own compost, exactly what is in it. Anything else is based on trust.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:41PM
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Dan Staley

I highly doubt any store-bought compost at a bigbox has human manure in it, as biosolids from WWTPs are trucked to landfills.

Otherwise, the chance of store-bought compost being "unsafe" is very low. Think about it.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:07AM
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m_lorne(5b)

How can you be sure about anything being safe these days?

I would hazard a guess, however, that the bag of compost you buy at Home Depot to grow your veggies in is infinitely more safe than the toxic garbage they spray on that peach you ate last summer, or that red pepper from Mexico, etc. ...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:29PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Dan,
What about EKO Compost (at our local HD)-

http://www.ekocompost.com/63.html
What is it made of? EKO Compost is made from green and brown wood products (leaves, limbs, lawn clippings, wood chips, Christmas trees) and biosolids. They're composted over a 9 to 12 month process decomposing these feedstocks into a cured compost with an earthy aroma.

Also, what about Milorganite?

I am not saying they are unsafe, I just wondered about what you said about biosolids from WWTPs.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:23PM
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Dan Staley

I stand corrected. I don't consume that product, so was unaware of ingredients. Next time I go to the nursery, I'll read some labels!

Nonetheless, there is a segment of society out there that is convinced Milorganite is poison/harmful/pathogenic, as we see from the OP, so I generally try to avoid mentioning such things,.

Using The Google Scholar allows us to counter the "I hear" bit and the "how can one know" issue.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 11:18AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I only know about EKO b/c I was at HD one day trying to make a decision on soil amendments and I looked it up when I came home to see what it's made from.

I don't think any bagged compost product is likely to be inherently unsafe, but the reality is you need to decide for yourself what you want to put into your garden. Try searching for the company's website and see what it says. If you're not comfortable with what the company offers, use a different product.

On the one hand, I think composting biosolids is probably a really good thing for the planet. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to use it on my veggies. I don't think pathogens would be an issue but I do wonder about the heavy metal content. For me, there is also a bit of an ick factor. I realize that is probably a very irrational factor, but it's my food, so it's my choice. I don't think I'd have a problem using it on ornamentals though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 11:28PM
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Dan Staley

For me, there is also a bit of an ick factor.

You may or may not know I'm a planner, and work with all aspects of municipal governance. Shall we discuss how Colo treats its surface waters and what comes out of your tap? And how more people moving here will make this process universal here? ;o)

Nonetheless, I hear you and our non-pile compost is from mushrooms. Don't think it is an issue personally but the family does.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:32AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Dan,
Sometimes ignorance is bliss... :-)
What I don't get is why Denver water allows boats in the water but swimming is banned?

Sorry, wrong forum, I know. I just had to say it b/c it bugs me. I really just want to let me dog swim.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 1:50AM
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chao

Thank you all very much. I plan to stick to black cow and mushroom compost

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 12:07PM
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sqftsteve

Two bags of humus/manure (poultry) that I bought at K-mart gave off an overpowering ammonia-like odor when I opened them. It dissipated quickly, but I wonder if that batch wasn't properly aged?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 12:55PM
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Dan Staley

I wonder if that batch wasn't properly aged?

Nope. Avoid that manufacturer from now on - what other areas have they cut corners on?

Dan

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 1:10PM
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sqftsteve

Fortunately these two bags only made up 5-10% of the total blended compost, so I hope I'll be OK.

The product was Scotts Bovung Dehydrated Manure and Organic Humus. I would have expected better from such a well-known company.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:34PM
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