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Soil and Composting: Gross stuff in compost - and is it ok to use?

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 10, Views: 192
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MiaPia
Nashville, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2005
6:48 PM

Post #1284423

This morning I bought a truckload of mushroom compost from my local nursery and spent a bood portion of the morning/early afternoon happily spreading it on my garden beds. Well, about halfway through the truckload I found - how can I put this delicately? - a ummm...prophylactic.
I was EXTREMELY grossed out. I mean, bugs, worms, manure - that's one thing, but THIS is just wrong.
I'm now worried that the compost is somehow contaminated, and of course it's all over my beds. I did call the nursery to let them know, and to see what they had to say about it, and the lady said she'd have a manager call me back - that was a couple hours ago and I'm still waiting. Anyway, does anyone know if there is anything I should be worried about, or am I just being paranoid?

paulgrow

paulgrow
Allen Park, MI
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2005
6:56 PM

Post #1284426

I would tell them to come and take the rest of it back and ask for your money back. No telling where that stuff came from. Perhaps it has sewer sludge in it.

Paul
MiaPia
Nashville, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2005
7:05 PM

Post #1284441

That's what I'm worried about - BUT, it is a *very* reputable nursery around here, AND they get their compost from a *very* reputable mushroom farm. I've used mushroom compost from there before, as have other members of my family. Another problem is my DH picked up the compost, so it's out back in the bed of the pick-up truck. I don't want to have to schlep back across town.
*sigh* - if they don't call back soon I'll be making another call - this time not so pleasantly.
Drew_N_Corinn
Pleasant Grove, UT
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2005
7:12 PM

Post #1284453

I can get compost from our city that comes out of the local sewer treatment facility... It works well. But... I only have brought myself to use it in flower gardens not in my veggies. Maybe the mushroom farm bought that same stuff for the mushrooms and then sold it to you when they were done with it?

Drew

paulgrow

paulgrow
Allen Park, MI
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2005
8:01 PM

Post #1284532

I just finished an article for my newspaper column on using municipal compost on food crops. The University of Minnesota did a study on municipal compost and found much of it contains heavy metals such as mercury and lead. The levels were acceptable by EPA standards. I don't care what their standards are I don't want toxic metals in my garden at any levels. Sodium (salt) levels are also much higher in this type of compost.

Much of the material is picked up at the curbside you don't know what pesticides, herbicides or other chemicials were used on this material. Much of it doesn't break down during the composting process.

Paul
oceangirl
Cape Cod, MA
(Zone 7a)

February 11, 2005
8:12 PM

Post #1284545

I used compost given away at the local landfill a year after we had a big hurricane, without even thinking. Nothing grew in the bed I used it in. I think It was full of salt.

paulgrow

paulgrow
Allen Park, MI
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2005
8:21 PM

Post #1284560

I've been thinking that it might be a good idea for a local garden club or Master Gardener group to obtain a sample of their municipal compost. Have it soil tested and have their local garden writer publish the results. Soil tests aren't too expensive.

Paul
MiaPia
Nashville, TN
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2005
10:37 PM

Post #1284761

See, the thing is that this mushroom compost is just supposed to be composted wheat or rye straw, peat moss, and chicken manure. At any rate, I had already spread half on my veggie garden, and really don't have any other space to grow veggies, so I'm stuck with it.
They did call me back, VERY apologetic, and gave me a refund. I used the rest on my flower beds. Honestly, the stuff looked like regular compost - I've seen our municipal compost, and it looks totally different. I don't know what to think really.
sylvi74
East Bethel, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 13, 2005
3:55 AM

Post #1286426

Does the owner of the mushroom farm have teenagers? You know how some kids are-any place they can sneak away to! It is a yucky thing to find but at least they were safe about it.
Brent_In_NoVa
Sterling, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 11, 2005
2:43 PM

Post #1331860

I could not worry much about a single condom in the compost. If the compost was full of a bunch of junk, I might be worried.

I can picture it now...two young lovers out for a walk on a moonlight night; they look into each other eyes and kiss. They are trying to contain the urges building up inside but then the site of a huge pile of rotting organic matter sends them over the edge! The power of compost...strong stuff!!

- Brent
sylvi74
East Bethel, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 11, 2005
2:48 PM

Post #1331872

It's the smell of fertility!

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