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applestar
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Posts: 27807
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

quality of bagged vs. homemade compost

This is just a random observation, but I had an interesting experience recently. Since early this spring, I've been mixing my own home-grown seed starting soil with sifted homemade compost (sometimes still barely thawed), sand from the kids sandpit (playsand), and good top soil from under the leaf pile/composted wood pile.

On occasions, I didn't have the sand or top soil on hand so I just used 100% finely sifted homemade compost. On one occasion, I didn't have anything on hand (too lazy or too rainy to go out and get more), so used pure bagged compost I had in the garage -- one called Bumper Crop and one mushroom compost from local source.

Now, MY compost is cool/warm pile so it's full of weed seeds that I just pull out as they sprout :roll: (DEFINITELY need to know what the sprouts for the seeds your planted looks like or be able to recognize the weed sprouts :wink: ) It's also full of critters -- worms, nematodes, thread worms, centipedes, pillbugs, who-knows-what-else.

I was pretty sure that the Bumper Crop, at least, will give me better results than my own compost, but to my surprise, the seedlings -- cuke, watermelon, honeydew, morning glory, etc. began to yellow soon after true leaves began to grow. Had no problem like that whatsoever with my own 100% compost. I could understand it with the mushroom compost -- it's SPENT compost after growing the mushrooms afterall, but the other one (especially with a name like that)? Hmm....

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

The problem with buying compost is you have no clue what they mixed in and their bins are so large that they must turn with a bucketed tractor, at least the ones I saw, so you might be better off to grow as much as you can yourself. You need the bugs in the compost to break things down so don't fret and doesn't that mushroom have a great aroma?

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