Growing Together: Open Forum

  • 1.  Compost with Manure

    Posted 08-02-2021 06:23:00 PM

    Hi Everyone, 
    I have sourced my compost from a few different places in San Diego. I recently just found out about a place call San Pasqual Valley Soils that has compost with cow manure in it. On their website it says their, "composts are processed in strict accordance with state regulations, including a PFRP (Process to Further Reduce Pathogens) phase, ensuring both pathogens and weed seeds are destroyed."

    However, our local school district says that if we want to participate in their Garden to Cafe program (where food grown in the garden is served in our school cafeteria) we can't use compost with manure in it. 

    They say this protocol follows guidelines by SD County Department of Environmental Health to assure safe food and garden handling.

    This I am fine with because we give our excess harvest to our families. 

    However, my main question is:

    if the cow manure is commercially composted, is it safe to use in school gardens? 




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    Jessica Eves
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  • 2.  RE: Compost with Manure

    ADVISORY COMMITTEE
    Posted 08-20-2021 10:59:00 AM
    Hi Jessica-   I am not sure if I have a definitive answer for you on this one - but my next step would be to contact the company and find out a little bit more about how they test their compost to be able to make that claim. Ask things like how regularly they sample and test their end product, where the testing is done, what kind of allowance they have in the results. I know that being a school garden definitely adds an extra layer of caution that you may not apply to a home garden where it is just an individual decision being made.   I also think this is definitely something that school gardens need to put more thought into if you are growing edible gardens rather than ornamental plants (such as a butterfly garden or pollinator garden) - so again, I am not sure there is an easy answer of no or yes on this question.


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    Sarah Pounders
    Senior Education Specialist
    KidsGardening
    The Woodlands TX
    8324186540
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  • 3.  RE: Compost with Manure

    Posted 08-23-2021 08:37:00 AM
    Thanks for your response Sarah. I finally found a document from the City of San Diego that says school gardens are allowed to use compost with manure as long as it is commercially processed. However, I like your suggestion about contacting the company to find out their process.

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    Jessica Eves
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  • 4.  RE: Compost with Manure

    Posted 08-20-2021 08:07:00 PM
      |   view attached
    Hi Jessica, 

    I was a garden educator at the first Garden to Cafeteria school in Hawai'i and you can find attached our G2C plan and procedures. Note the section below (pg 31). Your state guidelines may be different, so I would refer to your local F2S/G2C specialist or manual.

    Purpose: To provide effective and safe application of soil amendments while minimizing microbial hazards.
    Responsibility: Animal manures and other soil amendments are a potential source of human pathogens, which can contaminate the soil and persist for many years.
    Procedure: Soil amendments are defined as substances being added to soil to enhance the health and life of the soil. For use in the G2C Program, all soil amendments must be either a purchased amendment or if produced on site must be produced and handled in ways consistent with best management practices for reducing the risk of contamination to crop production areas and water sources. All soil amendments regardless of their origin, must be entered into the Soil Amendment Log including information on the type of amendment, dosage and the location of the garden where it is being added. Logs and proper documentation for all amendments must be retained in the G2C Binder.

    So in Hawai'i, manure can be added if it is properly processed or purchased commercially.  Another option we used in our garden is fish fertilizer, which provides similar benefits. Our cafeteria was also responsible for the sanitization of the garden produce, which we pre-washed before delivering. 

    There is also interesting guidance in the HI G2C plan about vermicomposting, which you could do on site. 

    Happy composting!
    Lliy




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    Lily Nguyen
    KidsGardening
    Education Specialist
    lilyn@kidsgardening.org
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  • 5.  RE: Compost with Manure

    Posted 08-23-2021 08:40:00 AM
    Hi Lily, 
    Thanks for sharing the G2C plan. We have one similar in San Diego as well. As I mentioned above, I finally found a document that says we can use commercially produced compost with manure. Thanks again for reaching out!
    Jessica

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    Jessica Eves
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