Karel Bunker wrote:I have a local supplier of compost that takes in food waste from the city and turns it into some nice black looking compost for a very reasonable price ($30 for a cubic yard). I've been using it to form my market garden beds (sometimes right over the old beat-up pasture grass), tarping it for a period of time, and am seeing an explosion of earthworm activity when I go to broad fork a few months down the road. Seems like a good sign.
Recently I've been trying to use the compost to start seeds and grow microgreens when mixed about half and half with a peat/pearlite standard grow mix and have been having poor results. Germination of winterbor kale and salanova lettuce has been spotty, the lettuce has a funky leaf curl, and microgreen flats start growing webby fungus along the top within a few days. Curious about the quality of the compost, I put it under the 400x microscope -Elaine Ingham style- and found pretty much just straight bacteria. No signs of fungus, nematodes, protozoa, or microarthropods.
I was wondering your all's thoughts on this bought-in compost. While it may not have a full compliment of the soil food web, I feel like it is a useful source of organic matter, just may need time for the organisms to develop once in the garden. But as far as starting seeds/growing microgreens goes, do you think it could be contributing to the poor germination/fungus growth? Any other thoughts on why my transplants aren't germinating? Setup uses a combo of t5 and LED strip lights. Doing bottom watering, and I did mix a handful of organic fertilizer in with the transplant medium. Currently running a trial with microgreens with straight potting mix to see if that helps with the fungus problem. Any comments welcome, not the most experienced grower, but working on it!