Compost, the key ingredient to our Soil Building plan, is rich in organic matter that breaks down over time. Scraps of vegetative foods, shredded paper, grass clippings, weeds, expired garden plants, eggshells, and poop, make their way into our own homemade blend of liquid compost. Wait, back up; did you say poop? That’s right, certain types of animal waste, or manure, are key components of nutritious compost. Manure adds nutrients, increases microbial activity, and speeds up the composting process.
Not All Poop is Created Equal
When it comes to adding manures to your home compost, not all are created equal; and not every type of poop safe to compost. Some animals, including people, harbour harmful organisms in their waste. While commercial composting operations are able to bring compost to hot enough temperatures for long enough to kill off harmful bacteria, most home compost piles and bins do not. So it’s best to leave some poop to the professionals.
Chickens and bat manures are safe to compost. They are high in urea nitrogen making them “hot”. That means this fresh manure could could burn your plants if it’s not at least partially composted before you add it to the garden. But it’s great for adding fresh into the compost pile. Fresh chicken manure and bat guano, when mixed into your compost pile, will help speed up the composting process and enrich the resulting compost. If you do add these manures to the garden when fresh, be sure they are dry first and don’t use too much.
Cow, Horse, Sheep and Goat manures are all also safe for the home compost bin. They are all less “hot” than chicken manure or bat guano, but it’s still best to compost them for about 6 months before they go into the garden beds. They are a good source of nitrogen and potassium. But be aware weed seeds may survive your composting cycle.
What’s not safe?
Dog feces are not considered safe for the home composter. Now, that’s not to say that in the future dog feces won’t be compostable: many dog parks around the country are looking into efficient and effective ways to compost the piles left behind. To compost your own pet’s poop, can be a long and labor intensive process that homeowners typically have a hard time sticking with. So the current recommendation is to skip the dog poop in the home compost bin.
Cat feces, is really a big no. While it can be professionally composted, it is a very long and complicated process that is not necessarily worth the risk for the homeowner. Cats excrete toxoplasma eggs in their poop, which causes toxoplasmosis in humans; and the reason why pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are told not to clean the litter box.
Pig waste is generally not considered safe to use in compost because their waste contains harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
Human waste is normally a “no” for the general home compost bin. However, if properly managed, human waste can be properly composted. A composting toilet can turn your poop and other organic material into compost that is just about ready to use.
Killing harmful bacteria in compost basically comes down to maintaining the compost at hot enough temperatures for long enough to complete the process. Again, home compost bins generally don’t get hot enough. So definitely make use of poop that’s easy and safe to recycle, but always use common sense when composting wastes.
Did you know? We make all of our liquid compost extract in house; liquid compost is the key ingredient of our popular Soil Building program. Because we make it ourselves, we always know exactly what we’re putting into your soil. Well-fed soil teeming with beneficial microbes will help you grow a vigorous, emerald green lawn the natural way; that is healthier for both your family and the environment.
Our compost gets a boost!
When we make our organic compost on-site, we also add worm castings from Texas Worm Ranch. By adding worm castings our compost gets an even bigger boost of live beneficial bacteria, protozoa and beneficial nematodes. We then turn that compost into liquid compost, which is a more nutrient-dense liquid concentrate. Minerals, nutrients and beneficial microbes work together in the liquid compost to increase the bioactivity in the soil. Healthier soil means your plants are stronger, better able to withstand our weather extremes and are more resistant to pests and diseases.
Want a More Beautiful Landscape? Start With the Soil.
How does liquid compost extract help grow a lush lawn?
Soil is a living organism that must be fed and nurtured in order to stay healthy and strong. When soil is healthy, bioactive and full of nutrients your plants need, you’ll be able to grow a lawn and landscape plants that are stronger and look more beautiful.
Feeding your soil with liquid compost…
- Improves texture. Loose, crumbly soil is easier to plant in and easier for roots to grow in. When soil is compacted, it suffocates roots and discourages the uptake of nutrients.
- Increases bioactivity. Creatures such as earthworms, beneficial nematodes, mycorrhizal fungi and good bacteria thriving in your soil means your soil has good oxygen flow and less compaction.
- Reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. Over time, the more organic elements are added to your soil, the healthier it becomes. Synthetic fertilizers deplete soil of essential nutrients. Over time, your lawn becomes dependent on the synthetic fertilizers for its nutrients instead of relying on the soil.
Liquid compost is just the beginning
While liquid compost is the main treatment ingredient used in our organic maintenance plan, there are other important ingredients we feed to your soil to keep your lawn looking it’s best. Worm castings and humic acid also help keep your lawn strong and lush.
For more information on how our eco-friendly treatments work, read our past post on why and how organics work.
Compost is often referred to as garden gold. This is because, with nothing but time and the proper conditions, the natural process of decomposition slowly turns your kitchen and garden waste into a vital mixture that rebuilds and sustains life in your soil.
Earthworms are your garden’s best friend.
What are worm castings?
Worm castings, which are in fact worm poop, are some of the highest quality decomposed material left behind when earthworms burrow underground. Their movements improve the soil structure, creating valuable air spaces between particles that allow water and oxygen to easily get to plant roots. Worms are a sign of health and they can also bring about vast improvements in neglected soil if you set up favorable conditions to nurture them.
Most of us in the Dallas Ft. Worth area have heavy clay soils which are typically compacted and low in organic matter. The nutrients in clay are unavailable to plants. This calls for more diversity to make nutrients accessible to support healthy plant life. Excellent conditioners such as worm castings can rejuvenate beneficial microbial activity and promote better moisture retention.
Noticed mounds of this stuff in your lawn? It’s worm poo- and it’s gold! Worm castings provide excellent nutritional value to your soil.
Keep out the chemicals!
You can encourage natural worm populations by gardening organically, even if your only garden activity is mowing the lawn. Simply avoiding chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which contain salts and other ingredients that are harmful to earthworm populations, will make your landscape a more inviting place for these garden workers.
Another easy step you can take to nurture the life in your soil is to allow a build up of leaf litter in certain areas, such as under foundation shrubs. While you need to clear leaves from your lawn to keep it growing properly, you can mow over your leaves in fall to shred them into smaller particles which will slowly break down, adding organic matter which nourishes your lawn. Other factors like watering deeply and adding mulch to bare areas go a long way in creating a healthy environment.
As part of our Soil Building program, worm castings are added to your soil in January, May and July for a boost of nutrients. Choosing our organic soil building program is an effortless way to bring vitality to your landscape. We help you have the kind of environment that is important to you. Understanding that soil is the basis for all plant growth and that our air quality is improved by healthy plants, we see how a small change accomplishes much more than we realize.