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Still looks like the ingredients it was made from
Has a crumbly structure somewhat similar to coffee grounds
Black compost, in most cases, means that the compost got too hot and it is converting to an ash state
Should look like a rich brown soil, not completely black
Smells horrible which means it has not been fully composted and it still is breaking down
Smells like sweet, earthy dirt you would find camping
Lacks the necessary nutrients and microbial activity plants need to thrive
Microbes have broken down all the beneficial nutrients of the initial ingredients, creating humus that stores these nutrients for your plants and veggies to use most efficiently
If not properly prepared, bad compost can introduce harmful bacteria into your soil, causing plant damage
Good compost offers countless plant benefits and adds life to your soil
Just because a material is labeled 'compost' doesn't mean it is good for the garden. It is critical that you know the source of your compost, what it is made of, and how it was made. Selecting a compost that is properly processed under the strictest of guidelines, and tested regularly will have a significant impact on the success and the results of your garden.