Moldy compost and manure

cjgwJuly 16, 2014

I've read a couple messages saying this was OK, but I just wanted to ask to make sure...

I stupidly left a bunch of bags of fresh compost I bought from a garden center in a hot enclosed shed for a couple weeks. I now see there's whitish mold growing in it. Is this OK to use or will it hurt my garden? I really hope it's OK because I have 1/2 yard of the stuff! I also found mold on a couple bags of chicken manure. Here's a pic of the moldy compost...

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Well, to put it one way, mold is 100% organic and it is everywhere!

Mold is one of the nice little nasties that made the stuff into compost in the first place, and when you use it, putting it into contact with the ground, everything will normalize to a normal level of micro-organic chaos.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:23AM
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That's good to hear. Thanks, grubby!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:42AM
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Molds develop most often when there is sufficient moisture and a lack of air, so molds could be common in bagged compost and/or manure. Molds are fungi run amok, but are not a major problem normally if whiteish in color. Black mold are not good to have around.
Molds are primitive organisms that usually feed on decaying organic matter and in that sense are beneficial to us. Penicillin is a mold.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:01AM
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Thanks for the info. Would it still would be a good idea to dump these bags into a big pile and keep it outside?

Also, what about greenish mold? i saw bit of that while dumping it into a big pile, too.

This post was edited by cjgw on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 15:31

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:11PM
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Spread that material around your garden, not just dump it in a pile somewhere outside. Put it to use.
Greenish molds are like whiteish molds, not too much of a problem. Just don't breath the spores those molds might produce as you handle them.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:49AM
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I've seen green algae growing on the surface of bagged material if it was in sunlight and wet enough. In any case if you use that somewhere nature will take care of teh microbe balance.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:35AM
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Even though it's probably OK for the garden, I think I screwed up letting the compost get this moldy. I dumped it all in a pile and this white powdery mold seems to be incorporated throughout. If I don't cover it, a cloud of spores is constantly blowing off of it and maybe getting into other things in the yard (me included).

Is there a way to neutralize this mold? I don't have the area of the garden I was going to put it in prepared yet. Would it be OK to plant seeds in soil I just amended with this moldy compost or should I wait a while for it to normalize?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:52PM
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If it was more damp the spores would not be able to fly off, so first, wet it a bit. Break it up and turn it over.

I don't know of any reason not to plant seeds in it. Unlikely that the fungus is one that attacks healthy plants. It's probably one that likes something like wood fiber that's in the product.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:44PM
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Thanks, tox. I'll try to contain it by wetting it down. I was just doing some more reading and came across this horrible story. I know I at least inhaled some of this stuff. I'm sure I'm fine but I don't want to keep getting exposed to it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Man dies after inhaling fungal spores from garden compost

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:47PM
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In this Internet society you will always find a story of someone who was harmed/killed/maimed/mutated by something somewhere. I know of someone who heard about a child who was killed by water!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:54PM
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I've found funky stuff like that from time to time over the years. I close the bag, drag it over to a place where I'm going to be planting in the future, poke a couple drain holes in the bottom, open the top and let the sun and rain in. By the time I go to use it, some goodness will have seeped into the soil and the bag is right there to dump some out. Funkiness gone, lazy and effective. :)

I'm sure most people don't bother with that much caution but I had to take immune suppressing drugs for a number of years and may need to again some day, so I'm aware of my uniqueness. Fortunately my doctor is a gardener and we were able to have ongoing conversations about such things (dose vs. risks).

What you have already breathed in, while not as lovely as fresh air , and assuming your not medically compromised ( not sure that's the right phrase but you get the idea ), is not a realistic worry.

This post was edited by plaidbird on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 18:16

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 6:15PM
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Thanks, guys. Right now I'm just keeping the pile covered, which is probably just encouraging the mold, but I want to keep the animals from crapping it in which they seem to like to do. I'll figure out something soon.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I would incorporate it in my large compost bin with Starbucks coffee grounds and bagged browns that are woody, that you buy in a bag or some browns that you have to create heat. When the compost is in fact all done and ready, it won't have visible mold. A mold stage occurs halfway through the process, so just allowing it to finish will get rid of it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:32AM
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