Updated: Dec 22, 2021
1. ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR
Ask for an analysis to show nutrient values as well as food safety and heavy metals. It is appropriate to always be cautious when purchasing compost to make sure that the material is what they say it is.
2. BUY FROM A CERTIFIED COMPOSTER
It is important to know and trust who you're buying compost from. Make sure you are buying from a certified composter that has all the qualifications and food safety's to know you are buying quality compost. There are a lot of pop-up composter's who are trying to produce material and sell it cheap to entice the buyer, but don't have a clue what they are doing. I was always taught you get what you pay for - this is truly the case with compost.
3. KNOW THE SOURCE OF YOUR COMPOST
There are different types of compost. If it's dairy, green waste, or something else, they have different benefits that they offer. Understand what types of benefits best suits your farming practice in order that you optimize your purchase of compost and get the best bang for your buck.
4. SCENT, TEXTURE, TEMPERATURE
One quick and important way to tell if it is quality compost is by the scent, texture, and temperature. Everyone will always ask, why do you pick up dairy compost in your hands and smell it? As I have studied and learned about compost there is one rule that I always go back to in knowing when you have good compost - which is scent, texture, and temperature. Finished compost should not smell like its original form. If it has been cooked and worked correctly, at the end it should smell like a moisture rich soil. Texture should not be too wet or too dry, it should be a consistent moisture throughout the pile. Lastly, the temperature should not be hot. If it is still hot, it has not been fully composted.