Be informed about proper home compost management for pathogen reduction, especially if you are using animal manures.

Green manure: Typically, a plant cover crop that is grown and then chopped and incorporated into the soil or allowed to decompose for the purpose of soil improvement. “Green manure” does not mean animal manure.

Here are some practical tips for composting:
• Properly composted manure fertilizers, domestic green manures, or heat treated manure fertilizers are unlikely to be a source of pathogens.

• Do not use manure from pigs, dogs, and cats for composting or to fertilize your garden. Some parasites from these animals are not destroyed by composting and might remain infectious to humans.

• Maximize the time between the application of composted animal manure to garden areas and harvest.

• Be careful not to contaminate edible crops when applying uncomposted manure to other landscape areas or plants.

• If you are going to use uncomposted manure in your garden, mix it into the soil at least 60 days before planting.

• Do not apply manure after seeding or transplanting edible plants.

• Do not leave manure on the soil surface. Pathogens survive longer if manure is left on the soil surface. This practice is more likely to result in run-off transfer to non-treated areas.

• Evaluate and reduce the potential for direct and indirect contamination of produce when using manure slurries or manure teas.

• Ensure that any septic system is properly installed and maintained. Faulty septic systems and poorly designed drain fields have caused foodborne illnesses and other diseases.

Courtesy of UC Davis