Choosing Ready-To-Use Compost There are different kinds of compost available to consumers, but vary widely, even within one brand from batch to batch. While it can be difficult to sort out exactly what makes up your purchased compost, a high quality brand will give you a good idea of what it contains. Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing your compost: Texture: Compost should be a loose, easily spreadable texture, with no recognizable pieces of material like bark or sticks or big chunks. Moisture: Compost should be moist, but never wet or soggy. If your bagged compost is mushy or very wet, it won’t perform as it should. One of the main benefits of compost is its ability hold water; if it’s already water logged, it won’t be able to hold any more. Color: Look for dark brown or black compost. You might not be able to tell immediately when the product is fresh out of the package; let it dry out a little bit before assessing true color. Light colored compost could indicate that the product hasn’t composted fully and doesn’t contain enough organic matter. Smell: All compost will have a smell, especially right out of the plastic bag, but should never be overpowering or unpleasant. It should smell very earthy and woodsy. If you smell a very strong, stinky smell, avoid using this product. It can indicate an immature product and applying it to plants could cause damage.