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The Pros and Cons of Various Types of Compost As They Relate to Your Plant Growing Goals

We love sharing soil secrets so our extended family of gardeners, designers, contractors, urban dwellers, and soil lovers can grow healthy, hearty, and abundant gardens. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this guide to help you choose the best compost for your flower or vegetable garden, as well as the pros and cons of each product as they relate to your plant growing goals. But first, let’s discuss a little more about compost and why it is deemed the “black gold” of gardening.

Why Compost Is Considered “Black Gold”

Compost is decomposed organic matter that is rich in nutrients and often a coarse, dark brown, peat-like material. Adding compost to your soil improves the overall structure and texture as well organic matter. It increases the capacity to hold water in sandy soils and enhances drainage in heavy clay soils. It also attracts earthworms that help aerate the soil, and beneficial microbiology that helps convert materials into molecules and elements the plant can more easily absorb.

Plants, especially vegetables, require nutrients to grow to their best and most soils need an extra boost to assure those nutrients are available. The three essential macronutrients required by plants are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Together they are vital for good stalk and leaf growth, strengthening root systems, enhancing seed production, improving blooming, helping plant immunity, acting as pest prevention, and increasing the flavor profile of edible plants. Their presence, as well as the appropriate pH of your soil, will not only help you determine how your garden grows, but also what will do well within it.

Some vegetables or flowers proliferate in a more alkaline environment, while others thrive in more acidic conditions. Cilantro, kale, and celery – for instance – need more alkaline soils with a pH of 6.0 – 7.0 to thrive. Basil, cucumber, and carrots do well within somewhat acidic soils with a pH of 5.5.-6.5. Whereas parsley, sweet potatoes, and raspberries flourish in acidic soils with a pH of 4.0-5.5.

Understanding how compost improves soil and what benefits it gives your plants will make choosing organic compost over chemically manufactured fertilizer a “no brainer.” Below is a continued breakdown of our products as they relate to your gardening needs.
 

 

Actively Aerated Compost Tea

Actively aerated compost tea is a liquid concentrate containing all the beneficial microbial components that compost is famous for. The tea made at Lyngso is carefully brewed to maintain oxygen levels necessary for aerobic decomposition and is composed of microbiology that drives the soil food web in a healthy functioning soil.

PROS:

  • Increases the microbial life in your soils.
  • Increases nutrient cycling so that nutrients and minerals are more available for plant uptake.
  • Do not provide long-term nutrition, thus making your plants dependent on regular infusions of fertilizer for survival.
  • You can use less of it in larger surface areas, which translates to less time and less labor to apply.
  • Compost tea is portable and can be applied with a sprayer.
  • Can be used where space is a concern to bring in compost.

CONS:

  • It’s a live biology and therefore is sensitive to heat, sunlight and oxygen loss.
  • Compost tea requires protection and must be used in a timely fashion.

 

Organic Amendment Mix

Amendment Mix is a blend of Organic Green Waste Garden Compost, Redwood Sawdust, and Organic Feather Meal. This mix is generally used for improving a soil’s aeration and moisture retention.

PROS:

  • Great for clay soils as it provides porosity for water to move through.
  • Helps retain moisture.
  • Suppresses plant diseases and pests.
  • Excellent source of slow release nitrogen.

CONS:

  • The high protein (aka yielded nitrogen) and the aroma of the feather meal may attract animals.

 

Organic Green Waste Garden Compost

Garden Compost is composted green waste and is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed. It is a rich amendment that is especially good for improving soils that are too sandy and drain too fast.

PROS:

  • Great product for sandy or clay soils.
  • Rich in organic matter.
  • Great for ornamental gardens or as a general amendment for clay soils.

CONS:

  • It is a recycled product and may contain small inert debris, such as plastic or glass.
  • Not a single source compost.

 

Oregon Bull Organic Aged Humus

Oregon Bull Organic Aged Humus is not compost, but rather humus – it is the manure of cattle that has been left to decompose over time. The manure comes from an old feed yard where animals were grass-fed and barley finished. This was before the days of GMOs, hormones, and antibiotics. The process of humification is much slower than composting and involves a greater diversity of microbes including fungi. You will notice on the Soil Food Web Report that the Oregon Bull Organic Aged Humus has a higher fungal count than compost, a more diverse soil food web, and will benefit a wide range of plants.

PROS:

  • Improves buffering capacity (neutralizes pH in the soil).
  • Acts like a sponge in absorbing moisture.
  • Benefits a wider range of plants and can be used for vegetable gardens, fruit trees, berries, and rose or perennials patches.

CONS:

  • Humus is very fine and needs to be covered with mulch or amended into the soil.

 

Organic Diestel Structured Compost

Diestel Structured Compost delivers vitality to the soil and is our recommended resource for gardens. The ingredients are sourced directly from the Diestel family turkey ranch where turkeys are allowed to develop at a natural growth rate. The carbon used to make the Diestel Structured Compost comes from forest trimmings from the Sierra Nevada Foothills. The compost is given time and consistent attention to develop into a dark brown, fresh smelling, living compost ready to add life and feed your plants. It is listed for organic use by CDFA.

PROS:

  • Locally sourced.
  • Wonderfully nutrient dense compost for organic food production.
  • No pungent odor, earthy smell.
  • Completely finished compost that allows more nitrogen to be used by the plants vs the microbes within the soil.

CONS:

  • Seasonal availability varies due to high demand and limited production.

 

Pre-Bagged Specialty Composts

We also offer a few premium-quality, pre-bagged specialty composts. Bu’s Blend Biodynamic Compost is a certified biodynamic compost that contains no GMOs, pesticides, sewage sludge, growth hormones, or synthetic chemicals. It’s an excellent organic compost to feed your soil.

Our Seacoast Biodynamic Compost is a premium, biodynamic compost crafted from the finest combination of sea and land ingredients. The mixture includes fish, shrimp, and crab leftovers from seafood processing on the Oregon coast, alder hardwood from the lumber industry, and cow manure and bedding from organic dairies. Homeopathic preparations are added to enliven the compost and stimulate plants to maximize their effectiveness in their environments.

Perfect for veggies, shrubs, trees, plants, and gardens, our Double Doody Organic Compost is a perfect top dressing that protects soil and roots from temperature damage. It has an excellent carbon to nitrogen ratio and iron reserve, and can assist in correcting any degree of deficiency of phosphorous, potassium, and sulfate.

Finally, Heritage Organic Worm Castings is an all-in-one soil amendment that is safe for the environment, children, and pets. For millions of years, earthworms have continued the “Cycle of Fertility” by converting organic matter into vermicompost. This compost is odorless, thus making it great for both indoor and outdoor use.

These composts are extremely high-quality, and pre-bagged. However, they are not available for purchase online. To purchase, either call us at 650-364-1730, or visit our San Carlos, CA storefront.

Compost Is the Heart of the Garden

You don’t have to be a soil scientist or master gardener to grow the sweetest carrots or most prolific flower garden. With the right compost, you can create the best soil so that your plants grow to be lush and fruitful. If you have further questions and/or need further assistance our family at Lyngso is here to assist you. Please contact us.