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What Makes Quality Compost?

This winter we were fortunate to be speakers at the Guelph Organic Conference 2023, some of the feedback we got was having some of the information available for future reading. So here is our blog! The Glen Road Organics will be sharing blog posts once in a while about what we are doing and any information we find that would be interesting for our customers.

So here it is, our first post! Since we love compost the first blog post should be dedicated to what makes high quality compost?

Making Compost

At The Glen Road Organics we believe that Diverse Inputs = Diverse Biology, meaning the true value of compost is in the microorganisms that it contains. We bring you biodiverse compost through following the CCME Compost Quality Guidelines as well as The Soil Food Web Inc. guidelines for BioComplete Aerobic Compost.

The CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) states that compost in windrows should maintain temperatures of 131°F for 15 days or more with at least 5 turns made in that time frame.

Within that there are certain key temperatures and time frames for turning. We allow the center of the pile to maintain temps of 131°F for at least 72 hours before each turn. This ensures the weed seeds and any pathogenic microorganisms are killed off in the hot center.

There are also guidelines outlined for product safety these include: foreign matter, maturity, pathogens and trace elements.

You can find all the CCME Guidelines here:

Soil Food Web Inc. Biocomplete Compost is defined as: Organic Matter that has been aerobically composted, and meets the minimum biological requirements. Should perform all food web functions for plant nutrient cycling, habitat building and structure building.

The focus is on aerobic decomposition which has a minimum oxygen requirement for aerobic microorganisms to thrive.

Here are the minimum biological requirements for BioComplete Compost.

Bacterial Biomass

135 ug/g compost

Fungal Biomass

135 ug/g compost

F:B ratio

Equal to or greater than 0.3:1


10,000/g compost

Beneficial Nematodes

100/g compost


Less than 5/drop at 1:5 dilution

To learn more about The Soil Food Web and compost click here:

Pictured above: a bacterial feeding nematode, a teste amoeba and fungal strands. All found in aerobic soils or compost

What to Look For?

A microscope! Make sure your compost producer has a microscope and a microorganism analysis. This ensures that the full soil food web is present (fungi, bacteria, protozoa and nematodes).

The compost should be a dark brown (70% cocoa) colour.

Compost should be about 50% moisture and with ambient temperature.

Have an old forest or no smell. Any sulfur or putrid smells from compost indicates it is anaerobic and will not be beneficial.

Compost should hold it's structure well and have good stack ability. Good structure equals less nutrient leaching.

Most important compost should be locally made with local inputs! Local indigenous biology works the best for your fields.

Here at GRO we handpick local ingredients to bring you high quality compost that is an approved input for certified organic use.

Our hope is to provide people with quality compost and teach people how to make their own compost as well.

If there are any questions feel free to leave a comment or email us at

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