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Q&A – Is It Safe to Use Compost from a Municipal Compost Facility?

Posted on Posted in Compost, FAQ

Question

Hello! I found your website today while researching a local Compost Facility. You guys are doing great work feeding your family good food! I noticed that you mentioned that you have gotten mulch from your local compost facility….have you ever used their compost before? We’re drastically increasing our garden size this year so we were considering getting some compost from ours. We are organic gardeners so we have some concerns about using their compost and were hoping to find someone with experience with it. Thank you for your time.

Julie from Oklahoma

Answer

Hey Julie! Thanks for checking out our website! I got A LOT of compost from our local facility when I started and I used it without testing it. That was a huge mistake! I’ve since learned after poisoning most my tomatoes last year with compost made from tainted horse manure that I should always, always, always test compost before I use it.  Here’s a link to a great post with more information about all of the various long-term herbicides that can wreak havoc on your garden. I’ve also included a video below about how to test compost for herbicide. I always recommend following these steps regardless of where you get the compost. I paid $50/scoop for the highest quality stuff you can buy in Oklahoma this year and still tested that too. My goal is that I won’t have to buy compost very much longer and instead I make it myself. I get loads of the wood chips/leaf mixture that they always have available for free and compost that myself. Then I can see exactly what the compost is being made out. I use that as a “base” for my compost bins and add kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, plant cuttings, grass clippings from the yard, etc. Here’s some more information about my compost bins and how I built them.

Also, I’ve had amazing success with the Back to Eden method where you simply cover an area with a foot of wood chips, wait a year, and plant in that spot. You won’t believe how amazing the soil looks below those wood chips after a year. It’s absolutely incredible!

 In summary, using compost from a municipal facility can save you a lot of money. I wouldn’t necessarily say not to use it. I’d just make sure you’re testing it before using it in the garden. 

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