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What is compost?
Harvest Blend Compost is the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic material that has been sanitized through the generation of heat and stabilized to the point that it is beneficial to plant growth. Compost bears little physical resemblance to the raw material from which it originated. Compost is an organic matter source that has the unique ability to improve the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soils or growing media. It contains plant nutrients but is typically not characterized as a fertilizer.

How is Harvest Blend Compost Produced?
At Engel & Gray, Inc. Regional Compost Facility we follow a very strict criteria when manufacturing Harvest Blend Compost. We are a fully permitted facility that follows all County, State and Federal EPA regulations. These regulations exist to ensure that only safe and environmentally beneficial compost is produced. Harvest Blend Compost is manufactured using the aerobic (oxygen requiring) windrow method. When the ingredients are mixed, the temperature begins to naturally rise because of the microbial activity within the windrow. During this active composting period, the compost enters a high temperature phase that sanitizes the product and allows a high rate of decomposition. Once the temperature rises above 131 Degrees Fahrenheit it is kept above that temperature and the windrow is turned at least five times over the next fifteen days to ensure that all material is heated.
Temperatures are monitored daily to document the process. This heating not only breaks down the organic material, it sanitizes the ingredients, destroying pathogens and weed seeds that may be present. This phase is then followed by a lower temperature phase that allows for the product to stabilize while still decomposing at a lower rate.
Engel & Gray, Inc. then ages, or cures, Harvest Blend Compost to further stabilize the soil amendment.

How do I determine Compost Quality ?
All Harvest Blend Compost is Certified by the United States Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance program. The Compost is tested at a certified laboratory before it is shipped to assure the quality and safety of the product. Many other soil amendments have not been tested and composted at a California permitted facility.

What type of organic material is used to make compost?
Harvest Blend Compost is made from organic material collected across the Central Coast. This consist of yard trimmings from curbside collection in residential areas, material separated and kept out of landfills by homeowners and landscapers, agriculture vegetable trimmings for local operations, biosolids from local cities, and grape pomace from area wineries.

Who is Engel & Gray, Inc.?
Engel & Gray, Inc. was founded in 1946 as a small family trucking and construction business on the Central Coast of California. Since then, Engel & Gray has emerged as an innovative leader in organic recycling, offering services to municipalities, agricultural, landscape companies and individuals. Engel & Gray, Inc. is operated by the second generation of the Engel family.

Isn't compost just full of people's trash?
Yes and no. Much of the organic matter used to produce compost was once destined for our over crowded landfills. Luckily the State, County=s and City=s have worked to keep this valuable resource out of the landfills. Over the years much of the material was once applied to the land to restore nutrients and add organic matter back to the soil. Composting had advanced this practice by accelerating the decomposition and providing a much more stable, enriched, and safe soil amendment.
Much of the material is fairly clean as it is separated at their sources before being mixed with trash. Non-organic material that is accidentally mixed in with these clean compostables is removed by hand-sorting and screening prior to composting. Once composted the finished product is screened again to remove oversized wood and nonorgaic material

What does Compost do for my soil?
The benefits include:
  1. Improving soil structure, porosity and density to ensure a healthier root environment.
  2. Infiltrating heavy soils thereby reducing erosion.
  3. Increasing water holding capacity of soil so that water is used more efficiently.
  4. Stabilizing pH and improving the soil=s ability to hold nutrients.
  5. Supplying valuable microbes, micro and macro nutrients to the soil environment
  6. Adding valuable organic matter back to the soil environment.
  7. Helping to suppress soil-borne plant pathogens.
  8. Binding and degrading specific pollutants.

Is Compost Safe?
Harvest Blend employs an environmentally friendly and field proven system of aerobic compost production that ensures the compost heats to temperatures hot enough to kill diseases and pests, and biodegrades materials that may be present. Once we have done this we then test the product to EPA federal regulation and the Seal of Testing Assurance(STA) administered by the United States Composting Council.
We take organic material that would otherwise shipped to landfills at great expense, and through carefully managed thermophilic decomposition, stabilize and sanitize the feedstock. By using a naturally occurring mix of heat, moisture and oxygen, green waste, food waste and bio-solids are transformed into nutrient rich Harvest Blend Compost!

How much compost should I use? Can I use too much?
Compost is a soil amendment and it has many nutrients so you should always consult the proper application guides that all STA facilities provide. You can find Harvest Blend Application guides by going to the DIY page or clicking on any of the application characters. So Yes you can use to much of a good thing so follow the application guides

Why is there sometimes a white/gray-colored layer in the pile of compost?
Actinomycetes (ac-tin-o-my-seet-ays) are natural bacteria that form long gray fungi-like threads, resembling spider webs or ash, that stretch through compost. These bacteria are primary composters of tough plant materials like bark and woody stems. They are present at every stage of the composting process, and are most numerous on the persistent woody materials left in mature compost. They produce natural antibiotics that help fight plant diseases. Once the compost is spread and mixed into the soil, the actinomycetes will no longer be visible because they cannot develop dense colonies in the soil
Actinomycetes need water, oxygen, and food to be active. When compost is picked up from our Facility for delivery, material from the middle of the pile is aerated and microbial life is stimulated. If you dig into the pile a few days after delivery, you will see a gray layer beneath the surface and some steam. This is the actinomycetes hard at work, using the fresh air to continue decomposing resilient woody materials. This activity is normal and to be expected of any microbe-rich environment such as compost.