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Sample Collection of Compost

Materials required:

  • Teaspoon

  • Tool to dig into core of pile

  • One resealable plastic bag to contain each sample to be analyzed

  • Permanent marker to label bags

  • Sterilized plastic bucket (if sampling a windrow)

If sampling a small pile:

Take 1 tsp (approx 4 grams or 4 ml) from a minimum of 5 different areas from the compost pile at various locations and depths within the pile. Place each spoonfull into the plastic bag.

 

Please ensure that you do not fill the bag more than half-way with material. (Note: to reduce the amount of sample material, you may combine and thoroughly mix the sample material separately, in a sterile container, and then place a smaller amount of the mixture in the sandwich bag).

 

Seal the bag with the air left inside it – do not expel the air from the bag, as this will limit the oxygen available to the biology in the sample which may result in anaerobic conditions being formed.

 

Label: All sample bags should be labeled with the name, date, and time collected on the *outside* using a

permanent marker or an affixed label. Please do not put any identifying information about your

sample on a piece of paper and place it inside the bag. The paper will disintegrate, become food

for microbes, and potentially change the biology of your sample. 

If sampling a very large pile or windrow:

Take 1 tsp (approx 4 grams or 4 ml) of compost at a minimum of 20 different areas from the compost pile at various locations and depths within the pile. You will need to use a sterilized bucket to hold what you've collected. Gently mix the compost collected in the bucket so that when a smaller amount is placed in a plastic bag it is representative of the whole pile. Please ensure that you do not fill the bag more than half-way with material and do not expel the air from the bag. The biology needs that oxygen otherwise anaerobic conditions may be formed by the time the sample arrives at the lab.

 

Label: All sample bags should be labeled with the name, date, and time collected on the *outside* using a

permanent marker or an affixed label. Please do not put any identifying information about your

sample on a piece of paper and place it inside the bag. The paper will disintegrate, become food

for microbes, and potentially change the biology of your sample. 

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