2 hours ago
People continue to ask us..how do you determine "good" compost from "bad"?
very good question. 🧐
understanding this truly is critical to avoid harming your soil. how should you go about determining good from bad?
the first thing (🤓 let’s get into it!) is to understand the feedstock of the compost. that will ultimately determine it's major nutrient profile.
composted manure vs composted yard waste are two completely different products that should not be treated the same.
also, be sure the feedstock is not a potential source of toxins - herbicide residual can essentially render the product biological useless and act as a perpetual antibiotic to your soil. not good.
next, it's important to know the water source used to create the compost. in the west, water often has high alkalinity or high salts that adsorb to the compost and change the nutrient profile dramatically and negatively.
if it passes those tests, get it actually tested! the biggest red flags are high sodium or super high potassium. high potassium or sodium will throw your soil out of whack very quickly. in fact, if the saturation of na + k goes over 10% in your soil, you can pretty much expect a manganese deficiency.
finally, one of the biggest benefits of compost is likely the biology! compost acts as an incredible inoculant - bringing in loads of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and archaea. if you want to get really nerdy, use a microscope or have your compost checked for it's biological characteristics.
hint: fungal compost is usually way more valuable for your soil. but making it takes patience and diligence.
feedstock + water + nutrition + biology = good compost vs bad