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Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by veggieman, Jul 15, 2009.
Does anyone have a favorite soil or compost supplier in the lower maiinland?
I bought a truckload in March of their "best" topsoil from Super Soil in Cloverdale but so far I'm not terribly impressed. It was for a new raised bed 5 feet by 100 feet for hostas and clematis. A lot of wood pieces in it and the clay and sand were not mixed well into it. I guess I won't know until next year if it's good or not.
Knowledgable sources tell me that the compost sold in bulk at the Vancouver Landfill is as good as it gets. It looks and works great in my beds. Here is a link about it (check out the native plant garden while you're there)...
Not to naysay what might be a good product when it's composted, but one should be aware of what goes into the compost at the Vancouver landfill: having once worked as a landscaper in Vancouver, trucks would line up at the end of the day and offload grass clippings, etc. at the transfer site. Not uncommon to find condoms, syringes, and other foul and non-organic stuff in the piles. You're essentially getting the concentrated boulevard/parking lot/commercial landscape scrapings of a major city. Not to suggest these things were abundant, and perhaps there's sifting/sorting stages along the way, with compost heat taking care of any residuals, but having seen the source, no way I'd put it near food crops.
I have obtained several pickup truck loads of landfill compost in the past year, and not seen any foreign items in it at all. It is consistently dark, soft-textured and very easy to work with. Representing our local garden club here in South Delta, I contacted a representative who provided this information:
Our compost meets the highest level of quality standards according to the Ministry of Environment's Organic Matter Recycling Regulation ('Grade A' Compost), so there are no restrictions on its' use (can be used in gardens for growing food, etc).
We recommend that customers use the compost as a soil amendment and to mix it in with native soil, to ensure there is a balance between organic content and drainage.
Our compost is sampled monthly, according to the regulation listed above, for heavy metals and foreign matter. The table below shows the sample analysis results from January and February, as compared to the BC Standards. The additional parameters listed are not associated with specific regulated standards, and are included so you have an idea of the nutritional value and physical properties of the material.
Our compost is also purchased year round and in large quantities by a number of organic farmers in Delta.
We do not have the material tested for pesticide and herbicide residuals on a regular basis. It is not a requirement according to the regulation listed above.
Nicole Steglich, EIT: Transfer & Landfill Operations (604) 940-3182
(the table can't be reproduced here - it shows levels all well below standards).
Every April, the landfill makes their compost available for free to Delta residents. Many club members take advantage of this, I've heard only positive comments from them about it.
Thankyou everyone for your replies!
Hi Veggieman and all the other members of this forum,
I've been reading this terrific forum and this thread in particular, and think I can assist with what you are looking for. I am the sales and marketing director at Yardworks Supply Ltd. We are a high quality compost soil blender and supplier based out of Richmond, BC with commercial yards located in Delta, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack. Our high quality compost Pro-Soils are of the highest quality bulk compost soils available in Western Canada. We take great care in sourcing and using only the highest quality organic materials in our soil blends, which are comprised of compost green/yard waste (like Vancouver landfill's), compost manures, and low fines river sand. All of our products are tested regularly, and are available for residential delivery and pick up at many of our Metro Vancouver and Lowermainland area retailers. Our sustainable natural recycled Pro-Soils greatly reduce the need for herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and watering. These soils are as close as you can get in our area to a true potting soil available in bulk supply. We do NOT use any non-sustainable ingredients in our blends such as harvested peat, or excavated soils, NOR do we use any artificial wood fillers, sawdust, dyes, or charcoal like many of the other commercially available local competitors do. And, I guarantee you will not find any foreign materials such as plastic, garbage, or other related waste in our high quality products, as they have been composted at very high temperatures, double screened, and passed through a magnet to remove any metals that may be present. Our products are certainly not the cheapest out there, but I would challenge you to find a better bulk soil locally.
Please visit our website at www.yardworkssupply.ca to find a retailer or small delivery service nearest you, or, if you have a larger project requiring more than 8 cubic yards of material, please call our commercial dispatch at (604) 278-4491 for prompt professional sameday delivery service to your landscaping and/or gardening project. Please let us know how we can be of assistance anytime. Our company is based on customer service. Thank-you kindly.
I don't question anything you say, but your website is a pain - when I click on any link for "detailed information sheets" I get a site requiring all kinds of info on me, and it won't accept my response!
I just tried the site and it seems to be working fine. We require that info so we can follow up with interested would-be customers to make sure they are looked after. Please let us know how we can help anytime with your quality gardening and/or landscaping projects. Thank-you kindly.
I agree with the previous poster about the Yardworks site; it seems to be more geared to businesses rather than to the average homeowner. I'd love to learn about the different products listed on their site, because I'm at the research stage of seeing what is out there and what I want to use (ideally organic compost, but haven't found any yet I want to buy). But I don't choose to enter personal information like that just to be able to read about products. Unfortunately, that means I'll move on to another website or company that offers easier access to it's product descriptions.
Edit to add: Marty, I had heard that the landfill compost has some fairly large chunks of organic matter in it, so that while it would be great for a garden, it's not soo great for topdressing a lawn (I don't need sand or soil, I just want straight Organic Matter at this point). Can you comment on this? Thanks!
Freyja: large chunks of organic matter may appear in the compost after heavy rains, but I had no trouble at all like that in the summer when it was quite dry. It was a consistent colour and consistency then, and I expect even now it would break up quite easily. I haven't used it since June though so the consistency may have changed.
If you do not wish to leave your personal info you may still access all of our products and services info by entering any characters you like in the blank space in the pop up window. We only use that info for contacting people who might be interested in our products.
Also, our Pro-Soil Compost Turf Blend does not use any woodwaste in its composition so it is a perfect lawn ammendment top dress and has been developed and tested in the field for specifically this useage, resulting in an easy to spread soil amendment that rakes out with no wood chunks to clean up.
And yes, we are commercial wholesaler to the horticultural and landscaping industries, but all of our local retail supply yard and nursery partners carry our high quality compost organic Pro-Soil blends available for pick up and for small delivery as well. You might be interested to know that most of the municipalities, UBC, and all of the new Olympic venues have been landscaped with our sustainable compost organic Pro-Soils, as has Mayor Robertson's new Vancouver City Hall Community Vegetable Garden.
Thanks, and please let us know how we can help you grow.
Thanks for the info, Yardworks. I'll check out your site.
Interesting discussion. I also work for a local soil supplier. I am involved in quality control and technical sales and to that end I feel obliged to address a couple of issues that have come up in this discussion. First is the Vancouver Landfill compost. While reasonable for landscaping I would not recommend it for growing food. It is mentioned that there is no testing done for herbicide and pesticide residuals. Studies have shown that most municipal composting programs by their very nature will have residual amounts of these materials in the compost. Also composting regulations don't always address organic certification guidelines which are more specific as to what are acceptable inputs for food production. Many composts can fall under the "looks can be deceiving category. This material's main attraction is that it is a cheap organic matter source. Gardeners in particular should attempt to educate themselves on what other options are available.
We also provide a wide range of quality soil products for all types of horticulture. I feel it is important to differentiate between landscaping, nursery and food production. They are different endeavours and require different materials While I am careful not to give all things organic a free pass, organic certification can be useful in the quality control of growing media. Eco-soil has organically certified composted manures available in any quantity required. These make excellent soil amenders for food production as they supply both a wide range of nutrients, micronutrients and microbial activity. They also improve the organic matter content in the soil. Using this material as a starting point we also blend an organic veggie mix which is a complete vegetable garden soil. I grow a lot of my own produce and I used geared this blend towards what I want in my vegetable garden
Good point, but it is important to remember that if you blend a certified organic manure with the other non-certified necessary ingredients in the engineered soil creation and blending process, the end result is NOT certified organic. We also use 'certified' organic compost manures as one of the ingredients in our compost Pro-Soils and our BOOST! Soil Amender, but, calling the end soil or amendment result 100% Certified Organic would be misleading and simply not true. There are endless possible minute sources of non-organic cross-contamination in the soil raw ingredients, blending, and trucking, of such massive volumes of finished product.