Where to Find Compost Soil Free of Herbicide

Where to Find Compost Soil Free of Herbicide

Compost Soil

Organic gardens used to be built on compost soil. That is, until ongoing pesticide contamination in commercial buildings started to pose a problem. Discover the 5 crucial inquiries you should make of a soil producer prior to purchasing compost soil for your garden.
Persistent Herbicides in Compost Soil: A Problem
In the organic matter that is gathered and utilized to make bulk compost at commercial sites, persistent pesticides have become ubiquitous. The most likely materials to be polluted include grass clippings, hay, manure, and straw. Consequently, the bulk compost or bagged soil items that we purchase get contaminated.


In actuality, the composting process may increase the concentration of the pesticide in the final product rather than decreasing the pollutant.

Furthermore, it may take three years or longer for the contaminant in our gardens to completely deactivate and break down, which will result in young perennial crops, annual vegetable crops, and flowers performing poorly and growing slowly.

How many gardeners, I wonder, have taken the blame for low yields and sick plants on themselves when the true issue was herbicide contamination from purchased soil?
Preventing Herbicide Pollution in Acquired Compost Soil

If you value not using pesticides, you should be aware of what to look for in compost that is manufactured commercially.
This is how my buddies at Catalyst BioAmendments put it:


The waste reduction paradigm is the foundation for most compost. The individual disposing of the stuff pays to have their "waste" removed; green garbage is dumped off on location. Certain materials that are dropped off contain chemicals, some are plants with antibacterial properties, some loads contain plastic waste, and some loads contain beautiful, varied organic materials. Seldom are recipes and ingredient quality taken into account.

Recycling organic waste into a resource through composting is essential to building a low-impact, regenerative society. I support facilities that take in polluted trash since they are creating a clean resource out of the garbage, closing a circle.

Nonetheless, it's critical that any possible pollutants in the source materials are addressed during the composting process. Waste polluted with herbicides, for instance, can require longer composting times or different temperatures. Additionally, testing may be required to confirm that the final product is free of pollutants.

Herbicide testing is currently exempt from requirements, even though the majority of facilities must provide yearly results for heavy metal testing.

Furthermore, the majority of facilities do not want their products to be utilized in agriculture. They are therefore not put through a safety test in that sense.

We'll go over the questions to ask a producer to find out more about their goods and the composting procedure below.Facilities for Composting and Bulk Mulch
Certain forms of organic debris may be collected by bulk mulch and composting facilities, according to the terms of their state's environmental department license and/or permission. These rules, however, do not stop materials that are contaminated or laced with herbicides from composting.
Big Soil from the "Farmy" Good Folks

Recently, I came into a beautiful, "farmy"-themed website and a nearby composting facility with the word "farm" in their business name. "They take great pride in assisting others in growing their own food organically and donating locally grown food to soup kitchens and food banks."

They claim that "yard waste, forest waste, and organic matter" are the ingredients in their compost. made without the use of chemicals and always naturally."

I truly want to enjoy and purchase goods from these "farmy" nice men! What a fantastic resource this company is for our community—it uses waste materials from the area to produce food and aid the underprivileged!

Sadly, the owner was unaware that yard debris and organic materials could include herbicides when I got in touch with him. There is no way to know if their products are safe because they don't test them for heavy metals, infections, pesticides, or other toxins.

These guys have what it takes to succeed. They lack a method, nevertheless, to confirm that the quality of their finished product lives up to their claims. As we'll cover in the interview questions below, until they have some accountability in place, I wouldn't feel safe using their compost soil in my garden.
My Best Soil Mixes and Compost Soils 2: Are there any certifications or accreditations for the soil company or its products?

Stated differently, is there external supervision?

Numerous voluntary certifications exist that show a dedication to responsibility, a clean product, and a clean environment.

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) says the following about compost:

In order to preserve or increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, the producer must manage plant and animal materials in a way that prevents the pollution of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or leftovers of illegal compounds [like herbicides].

The Organic Materials Review Board, or OMRI, voluntarily accredits a large number of bagged soil products. After assessment, products with the OMRI Listed® seal have been found to comply with NOP guidelines.

Additionally, the US Composting Council (USCC) offers a Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) certification scheme that keeps an eye on manufacturers through yearly testing for pathogens and heavy metals and provides data sheets to clients.In order to create gardens and enhance the soil at my first 0.10-acre house, I used horse manure from nearby stables and compost from a bulk mulch supplier.

This is a double-edged blow to the health of my garden, I never realized!

Horse manure has one of the greatest rates of herbicide contamination of any type of manure. Despite my dedication to ecologically sound gardening practices, I believe that my gardens performed poorly because I was completely unaware of this issue.

I'm starting to create fresh food gardens at my new house, which requires A TON of dirt. My personal compost bins are producing some compost, but not nearly enough for this initial stage.

Therefore, I decided to buy THE BEST compost soil from a reputable manufacturer who satisfies all requirements for a safe and healthy product.
When I first looked locally, I was disappointed by what I discovered. Not a single local business could guarantee a spotless final product. To my amazement, not a single one of them conducted any tests on their product for herbicide contamination or agricultural safety.

I then looked up businesses that manufacture and distribute compost soil free of garbage online, and that's how I came across Cleveland, Ohio-based Tilth Soil. Compost and soil mixes made by Tilth Soil are biologically active and accepted for use in certified organic farming.

Their soil products are designed with the purpose of promoting increased plant health over time, germination of seeds, root development, and nutrient cycling.

I used the five questions I've listed below to conduct an interview with them. They were very open about their difficulties and gave freely of their time. I gained a lot of knowledge about the dedication needed to create excellent compost soil from them.

A union made in heaven, indeed! The soil I was given is black, rich, and teeming with life. I've become a huge admirer of their products because my gardens have flourished in their first year!

Five Questions to Ask the Source When Purchasing Compost Soil
I advise asking producers the following five questions while looking for compost soil that is free of herbicides and clean. As an example, I've provided conclusions from my conversations with the people at Tilth Soil.

1. What constitutes the compost soil's main constituents?
The manufacturer must to be aware of the kind of raw materials used in the product and where they come from. Recall that the most common materials that are likely to contain herbicide contamination are grass clippings, hay, manure, and straw.

To be clear, these are great components for generating compost overall. But adding these materials to compost raises the risk that the final product will also be contaminated due to unrestricted herbicide usage in yards and farms.

Unfortunately, the very natural and necessary process of turning waste into a resource has led to a widespread use of pesticides.

Food waste is the main source of compost produced by Tilth Soil since it is less likely to contain heavy metals or pesticides. Even with this advantage, though, as I'll explain below, they've taken extra precautions to avoid using herbicides.

Although a composting facility's acceptance of possibly contaminated organic matter may not be a deal-breaker, knowing that it does can help you follow up with questions to make sure they're processing it properly and can guarantee a finished product free of herbicides.
For example, Tilth Soil produces compost soil and soil mixes in accordance with the NOP. The Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), and KIND Certified—the legal cannabis growers' version of organic certification—have all given them approval for use as organic.

Tilth Soil was the recipient of the USCC's 2019 Small Composter of the Year Award. The company also successfully lobbied for changes to state regulations to encourage community-based composting initiatives.


Imagine if everything that could be utilized in a composting plant, including food scraps, hay, straw, manure, yard waste, etc., required to be certified organic. This would need a great deal more work during manufacture and would definitely make the finished product too expensive.

My argument is that persistent pesticide contamination in the main ingredients and finished product can occur even in compost soil that has received NOP approval.

In the end, third-party certification looks at the processing and supply chain and necessitates some final product testing. Accreditations show a dedication to honesty and a clean product, even though they don't constitute a statement of herbicide-free status.Imagine if everything that could be utilized in a composting plant, including food scraps, hay, straw, manure, yard waste, etc., required to be certified organic. This would need a great deal more work during manufacture and would definitely make the finished product too expensive.

My argument is that persistent pesticide contamination in the main ingredients and finished product can occur even in compost soil that has received NOP approval.

In the end, third-party certification looks at the processing and supply chain and necessitates some final product testing. Accreditations show a dedication to honesty and a clean product, even though they don't constitute a statement of herbicide-free status.

Therefore, the first stage in your investigative work is to discover what the main ingredients are.


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