Growing your own source of organic matter to improve the tilth of your soil, or to make compost, is the best way to care for the earth and ensure the safety of what is added to the land you care for.
If you are adding Compost or Organic Matter to your soil from off-site locations or purchasing
– Be-Aware and know your sources or better yet, grow, harvest, incorporate your own organic matter!
SKAGIT COUNTY SOURCES:
* Skagit Soils Inc. (360) 424-0199 http://www.skagitsoilsinc.com/5073.html
Compost in Skagit reported to be regularly tested for aminopyralid (which is very responsible) offered by the Zeilstra family:
13260 Ball Road (or google map 14104 Ovenell Rd) Mount Vernon, WA 98273
They are located just east of the Skagit County Garbage Transfer Station off Ovenell Rd.
(address doesn't show up correctly on Mapquest or Google Maps because it is a private road.) Use 14104 Ovenell Rd. 98273 to get driving directions.
Hours - Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm,
Please share your experience if anyone obtains compost from them.
BULK POTTING SOIL SOURCES:
LOCAL WHATCOM SOURCES THAT MAY NEED TESTING BEFORE USE:
* Mushroom compost from a local rural companies also available for pick up or deliver for a Fee-cost...Google or phone them for details. (In the past I have found the mushroom compost too salty for my edible gardens.) HK
Cascadia Mushrooms: http://www.cascadiamushrooms.com/
(this is Alex's business who trained with Paul Stamens) .
Also, consider Twin Sisters Mushroom Farm.
* GrowSource Inc 318-8554 http://www.growsource.com/
Many different choices Always ask exactly what the plant/animal/fertilizer ingredients are and make your choices carefully. I sometimes use what they have for mulching perennial non-edible beds.
They tend to incorporate chicken manure more than cow manure and may be able to tell you the name of the farm/business they obtain their ingredients from. -HK
* Smit Dairy Compost 354-3583 9039 Guide Meridian Rd; Lynden -(Nathan Smit's business). http://www.smitscompost.com/ This is Not an organic dairy farm, so be cautious ...Remember to ask if they are using any animal feed grown with GMO plants. (In the past there were market garden-farmer reports of aminopyralid herbicide present (2010) in their compost, so be sure to ask if they are testing for purity!) (There is the chance they may also import manure from other non-organic chemical based farms which would then get mixed in with their Smit Compost) HK
Auburn, WA Dairy Farm for Moo-Doo Compost (Organic): http://www.moo-doo.com/moodoo
(I'll share a load with anyone driving a truck north to B'ham area).
Cardboard & Chips - "Free" & You Pick-Up Sources -
(Remember to check Craigs list and freecycle online also)
Cardboard for Sheet Mulching -
Check with businesses that receive lots of products in large boxes, like appliance stores. Here is one store recommended by Riley:
De Warrd & Bode appliance/furniture store- North side 4175 Hannegan Road-Bellingham
Wood Chips or hogwood -
* Can sometimes be delivered for free if you have an accessible location for a landscaper or arborist/tree-trimmer to deliver...Be aware that some chips are cedar chips.
Misc cut & paste from earlier discussions below:
* "You can get Alpaca poop for free, all you have to do is take a truck to the site and the guy loads it for you". (comment from Alys K)
* "Deward & Bode has big cardboard...lots of newspaper from the heralds recycle bins" (per Jamie)
All welcome to add name, location, & phone number
of their favorite compost/mulch sources!
(Please be respectful in any business evaluations and consider a blog post for some posts).
CHEMICAL & HERBICIDE CONCERNS IN ORGANIC MATTER:
Do your research on what organic matter, soils, mulch, compost you bring on to your land!
Solution Discussion: "Healing Toxic Soils & Waters: Mycoremediation, Compost & Teas, Fungal Bioremediation)"
Links below provide more information:
Aminopyralid residue contamination info in commercial & offsite composts, manures, & soil mises from Washingtong State University per Kate Halstead of WSU Snohomish Extension: “Facts on the product, and what to do about it when it shows up in your compost uninvited are available on the Whatcom Extension website- http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid/ “
Kate Halstead - Agriculture Workshops C-360.794.6081 W-425.357.6024
Website from Dow who manufactors aminopyralid herbicide:
Ideas of how to avoid the chemicals, and what to do if your soil is effected:
(link thanks to Laura R with Sustainable Connections Farm Program)
“A New Problem With Commercial Compost” - blog by Farmer Walter H June 2010
"...Herbicide Creates Killer Compost" - article from 2009 in Mother Earth News:
thank you for this special resource page...... BR>
I would like to ask if anyone knows of a basic composted soil to add to my edible garden, one that is CLEAN and truly organic? I know I should have made a compost bin (don't want plastic bins), but now without one, I am stumped about what to put in my old yard soil (1912 house in the city). I have researched this question quite extensively, and found that when composted or topsoil is marketed as "organic", it does NOT mean that it is without prior pesticides, toxins, additives etc. apparently, "organic" in the industry means "not synthetic". so composts using general lawn waste, for instance, could be loaded with undesirable chemicals from sprayed lawns. I've used soils from nurseries and co-ops, but only for perennials, since most claim to not know the "source" of their composted soils. I think this is a larger problem than is recognized, and that many people are mistaking one "organic" for another. thanks!
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?......If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?
We are getting rabbits to keep for their manure for our garden. But if we buy hay and other feed that has the herbicide it will get into our garden. ..... It will take time to research via going out to the county to ask farmers what they use on their crops....time and gas to do that kind of research. May be necessary or the only way to find out. But not every gardener needs to do that if some of us are willing to team up, do research and report to others via this site..... I have not heard anything about what is being done to remedy this problem. It seems pretty serious to me if the damage continues for at least several years. .........If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,Angela MacLeod733-3541
Many of us caring for land forget that our unsprayed 'mowed meadows' (lawns) are a great source for organic matter for both garden compost and small animal bedding.
One reason some folks don't have animals, is the many hidden costs of caring for them is subsidized by inexpensive feed or bedding that has Not been grown chemical-free.
Any local dairy farmer who would make the decision to not use these chemicals on their fields, would have many folks wanting their manure & bedding....although that type of dairy farmer also might realize how valuable his cow manure was and be making compost for his own fields.
(I have a small truck if anyone finds a safe source of cow/straw manure...as my one beyond-organic cow/farming friend allows me to fork up the cow manure direct from the field because he understands the true labor & cost of growing the cow, with chemical-free straw & hay, and moving the manure to build compost piles).
My recall is that this herbicide has effected other communities in the past, and that Great Britian has banned the herbicide.....and much of the cow milk that is grown in Whatcom is being dried and exported to outside of the county.
One of my garden-farm friends had her contaminated soil dug out and removed and is sending a bill to Dow for the cost.....another garden friend showed me the soil they had gotton from Grow Source, and it had been there for 3 summer/spring months and it was barren, as in not even weeds were growing in it. (Paul Wheaton took vidoes of both gardeners speaking on the tour Christy & I took him on last week).
I have still not heard back from some mycelium folks to learn what mushroom would be helpful in breaking this chemical down.
As we learn more about what broadleaf plants this chemical kills or harms, then we will be better able to walk (or bicycle past) farmland to visually see that these guardian plants ('weeds') exist on the land, as an indicator that herbicides have not been applied.
The article in the Herald 8/1/10 was very very delayed in being printed (over a month past when farmers reported the damage & phoned them), and its a brief article, but I except the reporter will be writing more, and I look forward to a solution focused informative article.
As I talk to more conventional/chemical farmers, I learn that many of them are much more relaxed about this chemical in the community then I would be. I found one local urban grower who denied using Smits compost, but I found labeled plastic bags of it on pallets near their greenhouse.....
If our county had the citizen awareness & initiative like the British did, we could ban any chemical ag imports from Dow products, as there is no 'away' once something has entered our mouths, our homes, or our watersheds.
I encourage folks with an interest to start a new TW Discussion on the main page so that all members outside of this group can participate, or to continue the conversation on Farmer Walter's blog where all can comment.:
"A New Problem With Commercial Compost":
And, especially to get to know their farmers and the land their food is grown on.
Here is a summary from top of this Organic Matter discussion:
"If you are adding Compost or Organic Matter to your soil from off-site locations or purchasing
– Be-Aware and know your sources or better yet, grow, harvest, incorporate your own organic matter!"
Link on contamination by aminopyralid residues in commercial & offsite compost & manures & soil mixes from Wash State U 7/2010: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid
"...Herbicide Creates Killer Compost" - article from last year 09 in Mother Earth News:
Link on ideas of how to avoid the chemicals, and what to do if your soil is effected:
(link thanks to Laura R)
Angela, thanks for your post and awareness..
I'm with you on doing research, and lets consider sharing on a wider TW discussion page so more folks can comment. (Ok to call me anytime)
I'm not caught up on all my Whatcom Farmer's emails or TW emails yet, but I've thought that if one of us went to the Sat Farmers Coop and asked around, we might hear of the most recent updates. (Possibly one of our local video TW folks up in Ferndale might be interested in helping out too.)
Have you given the WA University Extension Service a call, or connected with Laura R with Sustainable Connections to see if they have any news to share?
( Angela, I also have a recent source of some rained-on no-spray hay/straw if you are interested give me a call before end of this week!).
Angela MacLeod said:Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?......If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,