Organic Compost? Organic produce? Is It Really?


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Hello, I am from Kansas City, Mo. I am starting a garden this year, as I have just relocated.

I have been trying to find a source or truly organic compost in my area. I have found several on-line but all of them use questionable sources for their composting.

Specifically they cannot assure me that the material they compost has never had pesticides or herbicides sprayed on it previously. I know there are claims that hot composting destroys these horrid chemicals, but some are what are known as "persistent" and do not break down so easily. Ultimately I wish to compost at home, but as I stated I am just getting started.

Another concern is manures from livestock. Chickens raised commercially have antibiotics, hormones and even arsenic (for harder egg shells) added. Similarly beef that is not free range has antibiotics and hormones added. Let's face it is near impossible I assume to collect manure from free range animals.

So is there anything truly organic in organic gardening?

****GMO=Gross Monsanto Organism (Genetically Modified organism)
I know a lot of people suggest adding cotton burr to soil in my area, but this is most likely GMO cotton and most assuredly has had tons of pesticides sprayed on it prior to harvest. I am not sure where to go from here...it seems to me organic is really hard to come by even in the home garden. If I am having trouble locating organic sources, what about "commercial" organic farmers...is their produce really organic?

I am considering using peat moss to add organic material and add material to the beds mixed in and using amendments such as guanos when the need arises. I will be using a rototiller to mix up stuff and adding leaf and grass clippings to feed the worms. Possible sulfur to bring down the PH.

I am interested to hear other's thoughts.

Thank you, Jeff
 
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Hello and welcome to the forum @Jeff!

You make some interesting point here, I suppose it is very difficult to trace back the origins for pesticides and herbicides. I would presume that after time any traces would be eliminated by the waste cycle, but I don't know how long that would take. Do you have any organic farmers near by who you could speak to?
 

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You could start up a worm farm, and begin purchasing the best OMRI listed compost you can, even if you have to use the internet and get it shipped in, then start composting all of what comes out of your garden, vegetable scraps, etc. You can grow some cover crops / green manure from organic non-GMO seed. If you are up to it you can also buy a chicken or two, many in the city are now keeping chickens for the eggs, it's become quite popular, and many trendy places, like Williams Sonoma, even sell backyard chicken coops.
 
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Welcome to the forum, If your not using chemicals in your lawn you can save the clipping and start a compost pile then add more to it as you go, the worms will find it and you will end up with a sweet compost pile. It will take a while for the soil be become really healthy, but the more you compost the better it will become.
 
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An organic fertilizer made from what? You are right, there is no assurance that the compost is truly organic or, in a sense, 100% organic. We make our own compost, one of our planter box serves as a compost bin where we put all the leftovers from vegetables like rinds and leaves including fruit peelings and other residues. But if those compost materials are not pure then I cannot say that our compost is truly organic.
 
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I would recommend much commercial composting either. That takes a lot away from the whole idea and adventure. I'm pretty sure that some of the products you will buy to add to your compost will go against what you're standing for, or against. As best as you can, start small and go for what presents itself when you're making dinner. Potato peels, banana peels, apple cores along with leaf and garden trimmings. Mix it all up in a corner round back and nature will take it over making it rich in nutrients. You can't go wrong if you start this way.
 
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why you are buying organic compost if you can create this in your own home. You can easily create good compost from your kitchen waste.
 
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Hello, its really hard to tell the history of pesticide,insecticides or organic used specially if you don't have the history.Unless you have already 5 years in that area using organic materials.

For the meantime,you can use different permentation process for your organic,pesticite and insecticides like FAA(fish amino acid) and oriented herbal nutrients(OHN).
 
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Organic produce means the produce is grown from organic seeds (not GM seeds), using compost and organic pesticides. There should be no artificial methods used during the production. If you buy organic produce make sure it is produced from organic seeds. If you try organic gardening, try to follow the organic methods.
 
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You must produce your own, or find a farmer that is truly raising their animals organically. They are out there. You might find them at your local farmers market. Always be sure to ask specific questions and not assume anything! Do they spray their pastures? Chemically worm their animals?, etc.

Mulching with anything you can think of will add nutrients to the soil and is really key to successful gardening. It also keeps the soil moist and levels out soil temps and keeps weeds at bay. Grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, etc. Watch backtoedenfilm.com
 
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Hello, I am from Kansas City, Mo. I am starting a garden this year, as I have just relocated.

I have been trying to find a source or truly organic compost in my area. I have found several on-line but all of them use questionable sources for their composting.

Specifically they cannot assure me that the material they compost has never had pesticides or herbicides sprayed on it previously. I know there are claims that hot composting destroys these horrid chemicals, but some are what are known as "persistent" and do not break down so easily. Ultimately I wish to compost at home, but as I stated I am just getting started.

Another concern is manures from livestock. Chickens raised commercially have antibiotics, hormones and even arsenic (for harder egg shells) added. Similarly beef that is not free range has antibiotics and hormones added. Let's face it is near impossible I assume to collect manure from free range animals.

So is there anything truly organic in organic gardening?

****GMO=Gross Monsanto Organism (Genetically Modified organism)
I know a lot of people suggest adding cotton burr to soil in my area, but this is most likely GMO cotton and most assuredly has had tons of pesticides sprayed on it prior to harvest. I am not sure where to go from here...it seems to me organic is really hard to come by even in the home garden. If I am having trouble locating organic sources, what about "commercial" organic farmers...is their produce really organic?

I am considering using peat moss to add organic material and add material to the beds mixed in and using amendments such as guanos when the need arises. I will be using a rototiller to mix up stuff and adding leaf and grass clippings to feed the worms. Possible sulfur to bring down the PH.

I am interested to hear other's thoughts.

Thank you, Jeff
Firstly, anything which is injected into a mammal, bypasses its digestive system and so its manure.
Secondly, unless you are fortunate enough to have a huge garden, there will be "contamination" from surrounding area, unless you can force your neighbours to grow organically, and they are unlikely to voluntarily unless they can force THEIR neighbours to.
I grow as organically as I can, and content myself with that; you'd be wise to do the same, as you'll melt your cranium with frustration otherwise.
Peat moss and grass clippings will, by themselves, lower pH, as will the aerobic action of brewed bacteria in actively-aerated compost tea.

I'd add my WELCOME! to others'
 
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I agree with the above, I can only do what I can to be organic, my neighbors, not so much. That being said, I only buy and use things that are organic. I do sell my produce at times in farmers markets and do not go through the process of certification due to living in an urban environment. I tell prospective buyers how I grow my veggies and that usually is sufficient. I am as careful as I can be, and that is all any of us can hope for without moving to a rural area, but that has its own problems too. Any other thoughts or am I missing anything.
 
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Organic compost made from plants that have been sprayed with herbicides can't be truly organic but the residues should have distributed themselves thinly in the plants. To be clean on this aspect, I would recommend that a gardener should source their composting material from plants growing in the wild to start with. Same case applies to Farm Yard Manure (FYM) gotten from cattle who have been drenched with chemicals like antihelminthes and sprayed with acaricides.
 
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You'll have to make your own. Or, since you're new to the area, maybe find some organic farmers that can help out. Congrats on your new beginnings, too!
 
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Re: manure from pasture raised cattle. Actually that is not hard to do - just takes a little walking. :) Many ranchers where i am will let you collect some off their pasture if you ask them, actually.

Re: injections and manure- while the injection chemicals are eliminated through the urine, most animals defecate and urinate at the same time so the maure will typically have some urine, and its contents, mixed in.
 
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Soil amendments listed as "organic" should be viewed suspiciously. After all, look at bags of Milorganite. It is listed as 100% natural - which legally means next to nothing and is corporate green-washing. Additionally, many bags are listed as being "organic". Funny, most of us would not consider metropolitan wastewater as organic. It is not just urine and feces and water but household chemicals, industrial chemicals from businesses, and a wide array of other inputs you would not normally desire to have in your plantings. YMMV, but this is just one example of the odd notions in the soil "improvement" market. You will probably be better off going through the initial hassle of making your own.

BTW, many bagged amendments also look surprisingly similar these days regardless of whether they say garden soil, soil, manure, or compost. If you took out the ground up pallet wood and sand, there would be very little left!

I live on a small urban (not suburban) lot. Each Fall I gather hundreds of large paper bagged leaves. That forms the backbone of my composting "browns". Surprisingly, near me, people are still bagging leaves and twigs they left out all winter...so they're already partially processed. Win win!

Every week I pick up an average of about 1500 eggshells (roughly 8 cases of 15 dozen) from a local bakery. I dry, crush, and powder them here onsite. It's not just the large load of calcium I'm after but there is much more in those shells. Then there is the eggwhite that is all over the eggshells. That dries and powders up as well.

I get spent cracked grain from a local brewer. NOTE: If you live near people, spent grains are so rich they start to hot compost in a day and will smell bad very quickly. COVER them with something to mediate the smell. Worth the effort and the worms like it.

My coffee source dried up. I'm looking for another and have been for more than a year. I used to get an average of 30-40 gallons a week (2 location totals). That ran dry. Now, not even the local stores from a certain nationally known coffee chain known for saving spent grounds for people will save the grounds near here. We get a little from Ms UrbanWild's office...maybe 0.5-1 gallon container any given week. I'll take what I can get as I don't even drink coffee. :)

I get spent tea fixings (tea, hibiscus, mint, etc) and SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast) from a small local kombucha manufacturer. SCOBY is like worm crack. Seriously, they mass up around it like me on cookies! I now pass on the high oil hops. After a couple of years worth of experimenting, it isn't worth the trouble. Worms don't like it, it doesn't break down easily, and I have limited space. If I had acreage, I'd dedicate one section to the long-term breakdown of hops and just walk away. It will be years and not much helps it along.

Given herbicides in straw passing through mammals and even making it through the compost stage and killing garden plants, I have yet to find a local source of safe manure. The search is still on. So, I add alfalfa to beds...meal, pellets, or blocks depending on what is on sale. That is purchased from feed stores.

I'd love to be able to harvest my own seaweed but like you, I'm landlocked.

I want to purchase powdered biochar (& maybe just small chunks) but can't get it here and the amount I'd like to have makes shipping costs an issue. I can't find crushed basalt (dust) which I'd like to have as well.

BTW, while it isn't organic and not compost, have you heard about EcoScraps? I use it for some beds.

Anyway, I don't have answers for some potential inputs, but if you look around, many can be free for your work efforts. One thing I will say is that if you make arrangements with people or businesses, DO NOT flake out on them. You'll never get considerations again and people who follow in your footsteps will probably also be told no. Consider these relationships advantageous to both and don't leave people hanging. I also tend to shift some purchases their way when I can.
 
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