Compost is a popular soil amendment with growers, landscapers, and home owners. Compost consists of organic matter (such as leaves, landscape trimmings, food scraps, or woody debris) that has undergone decomposition. In California, commercial composters are required to meet specific regulatory requirements on the compost process itself that protect health and safety. However, because no state or national standards exist for rating the quality of compost products, you must perform your own quality assessment or obtain appropriate information from the supplier to ensure that you’re getting a product that meets your specific needs.
Once you have determined the performance requirements (e.g., for seed germination), look for a compost with appropriate characteristics. CalRecycle has created an information table to help you assess compost products to suit your needs. You may also get a copy of this document, Compost: Matching Performance Needs With Product Characteristics.