They said to write about it, so I will…

Please tell me – am I crazy?  Or just not the gardening trend-setter that I should be?  Should I be spending $10 on this? Check out this excerpt from Garden Cuttings Newsletter, with the note “Please feel free to use this information in your stories and columns”:

“Instead of sending dried leaves and other yard waste to the landfill, compost it! DeComp-9 Organic Compost Booster speeds up the composting process with patented microorganisms that quickly break down leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste. When added to compost, the microorganisms in all-natural DeComp-9 will grow on organic material, feed on decaying and dead plant matter and convert this waste to nutrient-rich compost that helps build stronger and healthier plants. Just mix DeComp-9 with water according to the product label and apply on compost piles. Each 20-gram package of DeComp-9 makes 10 gallons of solution – enough to treat 27 cubic feet of compost material. DeComp-9 is available for about $10.”


Published by

Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

15 thoughts on “They said to write about it, so I will…”

  1. Seems like an awful lot of worry & expense for something that a little patience or work will take care, even here in the water-challenged Central Valley.

  2. John, that’s the part that got me too. How does one patent a naturally occuring species? Makes me wonder – gasp – if they are GMOs?????

  3. Thanks for showing this Linda. I’ll be pointing this out to my audience next week when I teach a composting workshop – trying to get people to believe that it DOESN’T take products like this to make compost.

  4. Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in tonight, but the first idea that popped into my head when I read this was that perhaps the purveyors of Decomp-9 got together with those guys who have been peeing on haybales to break them down into compost. (Or did am I misremembering that post?) Funny product; unfortunate that people may actually buy it.

  5. Well, at least it’s not as environmentally destructive or nearly as grand a rip-off as driving huge spray trucks around to fertilize trees by injecting nutrients into the soil that could just as well be broadcast with a humble spreader.

    It is an amusing product though. Thanks for sharing.

  6. It would be an interesting and inexpensive experiment. Two piles of lawn mower shredded leaves, one with Decomp-9 used as directed, one with the same amount of plain water. No turning or watering after that. Which becomes compost faster and how much faster? It might be worthwhile for those in a hurry for finished compost if it actually does speed up the process by very much. More likely, it’s another snake oil product that parts fools from their money.

  7. Good research SandyG! So it actually would cost $50 for 5 applications of the stuff over 10 weeks. Hardly a bargain!
    I did a little checking on the Streptomyces species. It’s used as an antifungal biocontrol agent. Seems like overkill, literally, putting into a compost pile, since you’re not going to find many pathogenic fungi in compost.

  8. The “Garden’s Alive” catalog is notorious for pushing these kinds of dubious products.

    Compost Tumblers for $500.00

    Beneficial insects!
    Soil Activators!
    Organic Everything!
    Chemical Free Everything!
    $14.95 plus S&H for a 4-Gallon Bag of “Premium Compost” that every organic gardener must have! But if you spend $50.00, they’ll give you a coupon for $25.00 more.

  9. Bit of a tangent, but… If you’re planning to buy something from Amazon, you might want to read this article about them, written ten years after Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickled and Dimed was published.

  10. The next product in this line I can imagine would be “beneficial micro-organism’s exclusive to your plant zone/region of the country etc…. Perhaps native microorganisms or or even….organic micro organism’s! Look at the market potential!

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