04/21/04 — Use of city compost studied

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Use of city compost studied

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on April 21, 2004 2:06 PM

An experiment combining the resources of Goldsboro's compost plant, the Cooperative Extension Agency and the state Agricultural Department will help citizens know how to best use Goldsboro's compost.

"We're basically trying to see how to grow different plants, using a combination of soil and compost," explained Karen Brashear, the city's public utilities director.

The mixture, called "Gold Dust Compost," is made at the city's plant from biosolids and yard waste. It's sold in 20- and 40-pound bags to nurseries in the area, such as Casey's Garden Center, Long's Plant Farm, Mulch X-Press and Waltham Gardens.

The compost is tested by the Seal of Testing Assurance Program of the U.S. Composting Council and receives the highest grade possible.

Employees at the compost plant, Bonnie Faulkner from the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Service, Ms. Brashear, and Kevin Johnson from the Department of Agriculture spent an afternoon earlier this week planting a variety of flowers, evergreens and vegetables in six raised beds. The different beds had varying ratios of compost and soil.

Johnson took soil and tissue samples to monitor how the compost will supply nutrients to the plants. He plans to take additional samples throughout the summer. The samples will be sent to Raleigh for testing.

Ms. Brashear said that, according to the city's compost consultant, the best combination will be one part compost to either two or three parts soil.

"You need a combination," Johnson added. "The pure compost is so rich it can burn the plants."

The plants were supplied by two nurseries in exchange for some compost.