Compost Frequently Asked Questions
What is compost?
Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell. It is created by: combining organic wastes (e.g., yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into piles, rows, or vessels; adding bulking agents (e.g., wood chips) as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process.
Natural composting, or biological decomposition, occurs when vegetation falls to the ground, it slowly decays, providing minerals and nutrients needed for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mature compost, however, includes the production of high temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not destroy.
Source: US EPA
There are different classes of compost depending on what materials are processed. The main categories of compostable materials include manures, food waste, yard and wood trimmings, and biosolids. Each state classifies compost differently based on these materials, giving them different classes. Search for each state's regulations here and ask your composter what class their material is. For example, the compost classes in Ohio are:
Class I – mixed solid waste
Class II – source-separated yard waste, agricultural waste, animal waste, and food scraps
Class III – source-separated yard waste, agricultural waste, and animal waste
Class IV – source separated yard waste
Source: Ohio EPA
We recommend using the equivalent of a “Class IV”, source separated yard waste (trimmings) in GardenSoxx®.
Is compost organic?
All compost is 'organic', in that it is the process of the biological decomposition of organic materials. In this case the term organic means 'derived from once-living organisms. According to the US Composting Council (USCC) “Compost is an organic matter resource that has the unique ability to improve the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of soils or growing media. It contains plant nutrients but is typically not characterized as a fertilizer."
Is compost safe to grow in?
Yes, as long as the quality criteria specs are met. Using compost as growing media reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides while producing higher yields of agricultural crops.
Can I grow 100% compost?
Yes, we have grown over 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in 100% yard trimmings compost. We recommend using an US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program (STA) Certified compost.
Can I fill my GardenSoxx with other soils? Why is compost better than soil?
GardenSoxx can be filled with other soil or potting mix blends; however, soil may have weed seeds and/or diseases present. Soil also does not have the same drainage properties as compost and will become more compacted. Compost improves soil by adding essential nutrients and improving drainage.
What type of compost should I use in my GardenSoxx?
All of our testing has been based on using 100% yard/wood trimmings compost. We have seen many gardens flourish using different blends of compost.
How much compost do I need for my GardenSoxx?
Every 2' section of GardenSoxx will need about 1 cubic foot of compost. Our GardenSoxx 100-ft Mesh Kit requires about a cubic yard of compost.
How do I make my own compost?
This EPA article contains great information of starting a compost pile at home.
Can I use my homemade compost inside GardenSoxx?
Homemade compost can be used but it has not been through the industrial heating methods ensuring all pathogens and weed seeds have been eliminated. Homemade compost is typically be used for topdressing garden beds or amending soils.