A. Collected yard trash and food materials, known as feedstocks, are precisely ground and shredded to facilitate rapid decomposition by microorganisms. The feedstocks are carefully blended to achieve the proper balance of carbon (C), also known as “browns”, with nitrogen (N), also known as “greens”, needed to feed hungry microbes that do the work of decomposition.
After blending, the feedstocks are placed in our computer controlled aerated static pile composting system. To keep the microbes productive, the piles are routinely aerated to optimize aerobic decomposition that will result in a product for unrestricted use. As the microbes feed, they generate heat as a by-product of metabolism that we manage to kill pathogens, parasites and weed seeds. Compost that has completed the “cooking” process is set aside to cure and cool. Curing, like aging a fine wine, gives the compost time to stabilize and mature. Curing is an important step in the production of our high quality compost. Our compost isn’t approved for sale until it’s been cured.
A. Yes! Our compost meets the Certified Compost standards recognized by the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program (STA). The USCC, Certified Compost program is a compost testing, labeling, and information disclosure program designed to provide consumers with the product information they need to get the maximum benefit from the use of compost. The program was created in 2000 and is recognized by the leading compost research scientists in the United States.
Information about the science behind the development of the Certified Compost program and the various tests that are used can be found by visiting: http://compostingcouncil.org/?page_id=32
A. Our science-based composting process is managed to produce safe, stable, high quality compost in four to six months based on final use. Although the composting time can vary according to feedstocks and end use, more essential is that the composting process provides sufficient time for the microbes to create stable and mature compost, that conserves nitrogen and reaches the quality standards for unrestricted public use.
Our feedstock suppliers must comply with the guidelines of WM’s Organics program, allowing less than 1% contamination. In the event that there are visible contaminants in the feedstock, they are removed through hand separation.
Our finished compost is mechanically screened to contain particles no larger than 3/8” in size.
A. You can be confident that our compost is safe for use in your yard, and around children and pets. All of our compost is independently tested in accordance with state and nationally recognized guidelines and meets all Florida standards for unrestricted public use.
Vista and Okeechobee composts are enrolled in the US Composting Council’s Certified Compost Seal of Testing Assurance Program (STA). The USCC, Certified Compost program is a compost testing, labeling, and information disclosure program designed to provide consumers with the product information they need to get the maximum benefit from the use of compost. The program was created in 2000, and is recognized by the leading compost research scientists in the United States.
Information about the science behind the development of the STA program and the various tests that are used can be found by visiting: http://compostingcouncil.org/?page_id=32.
A. Compost can be added directly to vegetable and flower beds by incorporating 1-2” of fresh compost into the beds to a depth of 6–8″ in the fall or spring using a pitchfork or spade. This method ensures that the nutrient-rich humus will be available in the root zone of your plants where they are most needed. Additional, lighter applications of compost can be utilized throughout the growing season in place of chemical fertilizers.
For more information, please see our Compost Use Guidelines.
A. View our Compost Use Guidelines for application suggestions.
A. Starting seeds or transplants in pots using 100% compost is not recommended.
The percent of compost in a seed or transplant medium can vary widely. Blending compost with natural soil, sand, peat, coconut coir, or other components is routinely carried out to obtain the desired organic matter content, pH and soluble salt content of the mix.
The volume of compost will typically range from 10% to 50% of the final mix, although it can be higher. For higher rates, the compost would need to be very mature and stable. Unless you are an experienced horticulturalist, you should not use more than 50% compost in any seed starter or transplant mix.
A. Composting food waste with yard trash can increase the quality of the finished soil product. In addition, environmental models show that composting 45,000 tons of organic waste instead of burying it in a landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 44,000 metric tons per year CO2E (carbon dioxide equivalent): That’s comparable to keeping 8,000 cars off the road each year.
Compost also restores soil health, conserves water, reduces the use of chemicals, reduces air and water pollution, decreases reliance on oil reserves, and improves plant health. Finally, by removing the “wet” organic portion of the waste stream, the remaining waste is “cleaner.” This provides more potential opportunity for greater overall recycling.
A. Although we cannot guarantee our compost to be weed free (no one really can), our compost is processed at temperatures above 131oF, which kills virtually all weed seeds as well as pathogens. To ensure our compost consistently meets this standard, we participate in the U.S. Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance Program.
A. Tomatoes and other vegetable crops should receive a compost application of 1-2″ incorporated to a depth of 6–8″. During the growing season, a lighter surface application of compost can be utilized in place of a chemical fertilizer.
A. It’s easy! Use the handy coverage calculator built into our website.