How To Buy Compost
Before you buy compost, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is compost? What should I look for when I buy compost? How much should quality compost cost? Since compost is such a rarely discussed topic, it might be difficult to find an answer.
First, what is compost? Simply, compost is the result of letting organic products decompose in air. The chemical reactions that break down this organic material leads to compost, which is a nutrient rich soil which is then often used as fertilizer.
There are several different modern ways to obtain compost. The age old method of letting large amounts of organic material decompose is still used wildly in the world today. For the regional farmer, this compost is often free of cost, since they are simply using organic materials that already exist on their farm.
An increasingly popular trend is the use of worms to create compost. These individuals will no longer need to buy compost. Instead, they buy kits where they can make compost at home, from their own trash, using only worms. A vermiculture kit, as it is so called, can cost anywhere from $50-$100.
There are several different things to look for when you go buy compost. Compost is generally graded on several different factors, such as how it feels, how it looks, the moisture content, and how it smells. Quality compost will generally smell and look like quality soil.
When you buy compost, you should first look at how it feels. It should not be compact, with large chunks of natural organic material. It should also not be fine, like sand. Instead, quality compost will have an even consistency throughout that should be fairly coarse in nature. When you buy compost, look for compost that can be easily spread around.
Next, how does it look? Does the compost look like fresh soil? Does it have a nice, deep earthy color? Or does it have a dry, unhealthy look? Quality compost should be of a dark brown, almost black color. Be sure to look beneath the top surface, as water or sun may have changed the look of the outer layer of compost.
You don't want to buy compost that is too dry, nor do you want to buy compost that is too wet. Look for compost that is not too wet. You buy compost by the pound, and a bag with excess water content will only cost you more money. What's worse is, if you buy compost that is too wet, you will have to let it dry out anyway.
Finally, smell the compost you are about to buy. It should be a nice earthy scent, not like ammonia. If the bag smells foul, that means that it was packaged too early. Such compost is unhealthy to your plant and should be avoided.
Keep these tips in mind when you buy compost; your garden will thank you.