Tag Archives: compost test

It’s Time for Testing!

It’s been 18 months since I stopped adding to my first compost bin, so now it’s time to test the results.

I’ve been adding absolutely everything to the pile- all food, dead mice, weeds, compost toilet waste, cat waste- and it’s been cooking consistently the whole time.  All the toilet material generates plenty of heat, and without it, the pile is quite different.

The lab needs a gallon of the stuff- I thoroughly cleaned my trowel, put on some gloves and got to work.

My main interest is to see if I’ll pass the fecal coliform tests, and I’m also curious how fertile my compost is.  Being that the pile is largely toilet material and sawdust, maybe it won’t be thoroughly rich in nutrients?  Only one way to find out.

Either way, all this material was kept out of the landfill and stayed right in my yard.

Close the loop!

How to Collect a Soil or Compost Sample


It really is that simple, right?

Dig just under the top layer in a few spots, dump into a bag.

While I’m not going with this particular lab, I was doing some comparative research on techniques although there’s not much to it.

I got my cooler packs, my quart-sized ziploc bags and a trowel.

I’m going to take a sample from the middle, but I’m more interested in the materials that are on the outer edges of the pile.

These particular areas are where it’s not as likely that the higher register of thermophilic activity was able to reach.

I’m still not worried, but I’d like to make my test as honest as I can get it.  The stuff from the center of the pile will be thoroughly cooked, so when that comes back looking fine I won’t be surprised.

Have you ever seen someone so excited about soil tests?