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Old 08-17-2010, 12:11 PM
paul wheaton paul wheaton is offline
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Default commercial compost and persistent herbicides

Many people think their commercial compost is great because stuff is doing better with it than their stuff did with cement-like dirt. That compost probably has persistent herbicides in it that is stunting plant growth. But the only way to know for sure is to grow a bunch of plants next to same species/variety plants that are grown in compost that definitely doesn't have it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GunQ9mB0ywU
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:45 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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how do the herbicides get in the compost? And why are plants doing better with it if it contains herbicides? And aren't they supposed to break down as soon as they hit the ground? At least that is the claim I have heard for round up.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:54 PM
paul wheaton paul wheaton is offline
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There are dozens of ways for the herbicides to get in the compost. One way is that a farmer has a field of grass and sprays the grass. The broadleaf plants die and the grass thrives, because these herbicides are designed to not hurt grasses. The grass takes in the herbicide. The farmer bales the grass into hay. Later the farmer feeds the hay to cattle and takes the herbicide loaded poop to the commercial compost outfit. The composter mixes the poop into everything and then sells "organic compost" that has persistent herbicides in it.

The final compost has less herbicide in it than the amount sprayed on the initial field. So it usually isn't enough to kill plants.

If you grow a tomato on cement like dirt, it won't do well. But if you amend that soil with excellent compost, the tomato will do great! If you amend that soil with compost with persistent herbicides in it, the tomato will be somewhere in the middle depending on how much herbicide is in the compost.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:40 AM
tomato204 Male tomato204 is offline
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Default compost

I think the lesson from this is that we should grow our own compost materials and not rely on sources off the farm, as much as possible. You can never really know what's in something somebody is selling you.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:00 AM
paul wheaton paul wheaton is offline
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I agree.

There are some things you can bring in, but figuring out what is safe to bring in becomes a complicated task.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomato204 View Post
I think the lesson from this is that we should grow our own compost materials and not rely on sources off the farm, as much as possible. You can never really know what's in something somebody is selling you.

I agree 100 %. This is alot like biodynamics. In effect if at all possible I try to use everything off of my place to improve other things on my place. It is all one big cycle. Anytime you bring something from outside it has a potential of carrying something you dont want. Just common sense precautions and usually it works out.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:01 AM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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I guess I am not informed enough about herbicides having a long life and not breaking down rapidly like I supposed.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:57 AM
paul wheaton paul wheaton is offline
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some herbicides break down faster than others.
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