Warnings for using compost and similar material

Dalron

Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
Climate
Temperate (all seasons)
This is just a 'for interest's sake' post. Definitely don't want to start any drama.

I'm only at the start of my vegie gardening journey having just put together my first raised bed. To get to this point I've watched possibly a hundred or more videos on YouTube and not once have I seen anyone wearing a mask or gloves when handling compost, manure etc. I found this interesting after reading the dire warnings that are on the plastic bags a lot of these goodies come in.
 

Mark

Founder
Staff member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
May 27, 2012
Messages
5,154
Location
Bellmere, QLD
Website
www.selfsufficientme.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Yes, we gardeners are a hard bunch - we don't need masks. :D

Honestly, a nose and mouth cover when using mulch or composts or working in dusty conditions really is a good idea.

Practically, I rarely do it because I hate wearing a mask (I've had a hard time playing the covid game and often make excuses not to go out if masks are mandatory), so getting me to wear a mask in the garden routinely would be impossible.

Having said that, if I'm renewing the nesting boxes in the hen house I'll usually wear a mask and on still days with hardly any wind if I'm doing a lot of mulching I'll also pop one on because it's good practice. I have heard of some people coming down with horrible bacterial lung infections so it's not just the "dust" side of things that can irritate and that's why PPE is promoted on the store stuff.
 

Dalron

Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
Climate
Temperate (all seasons)
Thanks for an interesting reply, Mark. Like you I have wearing masks (and I hate you COVID for making me wear one!!).

What got me thinking about my original poar was the following from a well-known landscape supply company which I found whilst looking for garden mixes to fill the top part of my raised beds. It shocked me at first but after talking about it on some garden pages, it's apparently quite common.

"Did you know? Garden mix like ours is a recycled product from your home green waste bin. Unfortunately, many glass and plastic containers are wrongly put in green bins. Large recycled pieces are removed through a sifting process but smaller particles can’t be because finer sifting impacts the quality of the product. Bigger particles improve drainage which we know is essential for healthy plants! Our Organic Garden Mix is compliant with Australian Standards but to be on the safe side we recommend wearing gloves with these products as small glass and plastic particles can be found amongst the mix."
 

Grandmother Goose

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 30, 2021
Messages
51
Location
Broken Hill NSW
Climate
Arid, Desert, or Dry
Commercial products sold in bags need to have that warning on them for insurance purposes. It's common sense to not eat, snort, or roll around in any kind of organic material rich soil, compost, etc; and the vast majority of gardeners know better, we know there's bacteria, fungi and other fun things living in the soil, and it doesn't take a degree in biology to understand that what is good for the soil and plants isn't necessarily going to be good for us - which is why we wash our veggies. But it only takes one twit to get sick and sue the company they bought their bag of compost or potting mix or whatever from to cause a company to lose a lot of money, possibly even end up bankrupt, so they put the warnings on their products to protect themselves from stupidity. That's all it is. But yes, the chances of you getting sick from your own compost is about the same as that from a commercial product, and "organic", "natural", home made, or not makes no real difference in that, as all of it relies on microorganisms to break down and decay the organic matter in the soil into nutrients the plants can absorb.

Of course the ones that get their supplies from "garden waste" bins do run the risk of having small shards of glass and the like, because a lot of people don't have a clue what rubbish to put in what bins, or don't care. My local council supplies a household bin for garden waste, but I told them to take mine away. Not only will I not be using it because I can do my own composting for my own garden, but also just putting it out in the street for collection runs the risk of me copping a fine for putting non-compostable stuff in it because some goofball walked down the street and used my bin to put their rubbish in.
 
Last edited:

Mandy Onderwater

Super Moderator
Staff member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
327
Climate
Sub-Tropical
I only 'try' to wear a mask when it's really dry or dusty. I like to keep my product moist at the very least so it doesn't fly up in the air as easily. With saying that, I still recommend anyone else to use a mask at all times, haha!
 

WCTroy1946

New Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
2
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Can I say that when I lived in East Sydney I did contract legionnaires disease from compost and nearly finished up in hospital. I thought I was going to die.
 

Mandy Onderwater

Super Moderator
Staff member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
327
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Can I say that when I lived in East Sydney I did contract legionnaires disease from compost and nearly finished up in hospital. I thought I was going to die.
Oh goodness me, hopefully you are okay now?

What kind of compost was it from? like, was it at home or more industrial for work or whatnot?
 

Dalron

Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Blue Mountains NSW
Climate
Temperate (all seasons)
Can I say that when I lived in East Sydney I did contract legionnaires disease from compost and nearly finished up in hospital. I thought I was going to die.

That's awful. I hope you're fully recovered now.
 

HelenCate

Active Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
45
Location
SEQLD
Climate
Sub-Tropical
I watched my Mum take a cocktail of antibiotics for over a year to combat Legionella a few years ago. And I'm still a bit flippant about masking up in dusty conditions. SMH (at myself).
 
Top Bottom