Farm Dirt Compost

Farm Dirt Compost

801 N. Emile St.
4500 Buck St.
Houston, TX 77020


The Biological Engine of Urban Agriculture

Farm Dirt is a Houston-local, family-owned and -operated compost facility located in the 5th Ward. We focus on creating healthy soil teeming with microbial life. We keep the oxygen content of our piles high using forced aeration so that the beneficial aerobic microorganisms maintain optimal activity levels. This produces an extremely high-quality product with high microbial counts.

Our compost travels no more than 41 miles its entire life cycle from the time it’s a waste product as fruit & veggie scraps and wood chips to the time it’s in a bag on the store shelf, and the whole process takes less than two months start to finish. We have high production on a very small footprint, taking efficient land use to a whole new level. Because of this super-efficiency, we like to refer to our product as ultra-green.

Compost ingredients may include: Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Cantaloupes, Watermelons, Potatoes, Celery, Kale, Lettuce, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, Cherries, Tomatoes, Lemons, Limes, Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Onions, Bell Peppers, Zucchinis, Pineapple, Squash, Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Basil, Green Onions, Coffee, Grains, Leaves and Wood Chips. Basically the kinds of stuff you’d find in your kitchen, except the leaves and wood chips :-).
We use no animal products in our compost.
Proudly made in Houston, Texas.
Supporting sustainable agriculture projects in Houston’s inner city.


ZERO Waste

WE DIG OLD FOOD (into our compost piles).

We haul pallets of produce, truckloads of flour, thousands of receptacles of back-of-the-house food prep trimmings, etc. We have helped many local businesses, small and large, up their recycling game by introducing low-cost compost pickups, and we can help your business, too.

We provide training and work closely with your staff to ensure they understand what goes into the compost bins, and what does not. It’s not just another pickup service for you to manage. It’s like getting extra help managing your waste flow, so that you can be freed up to focus on what you and your business do best.

Call us now for a quote to green up your business. 281-552-8119


Food does not compost in a landfill. It is encased in an environment with no water and no oxygen. Don’t get us wrong, landfills are necessary so that we don’t have trash and toxins lying all over the place, but the nutrients and organic matter from organic waste are much better utilized in composting.

As it says in this New York Times article:

“After 20 years of sorting through garbage cans and landfills, the archaeologist William L. Rathje has accumulated precious memories. There are the 40-year-old hot dogs, perfectly preserved beneath dozens of strata of waste, and the head of lettuce still in pristine condition after 25 years. But the hands-down winner, the one that still makes him shake his head in disbelief, is an order of guacamole he recently unearthed. Almost as good as new, it sat next to a newspaper apparently thrown out the same day. The date was 1967.”

Imagine how many millions of tons of food are in those same conditions, where they will not break down anytime soon – only sit there taking up valuable space all over the earth.

But more importantly, organic waste creates methane, a gas 23 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. This breaks the carbon cycle of our planet – the process essential for returning nutrients to the land, which can then grow more, and healthier, plants, which can then breathe in more carbon dioxide, utilizing the carbon to produce sugars to feed microbes from their roots, sequestering the carbon in the bodies of soil microbes, where it cannot damage our atmosphere.


Living Soil Products

Living Mulch – Natural brown, chocolatey color. No chemical dyes ever used. Shredded, composted, beautiful. Decomposes into a rich soil that grows enormous plants.

1 cubic foot / 40lb Bag – $8

Unscreened – $20 per cubic yard

Screened 3/4″ – $30 per cubic yard


Aerated Compost – Our signature product that put us on the map. Aerated with oxygen-rich air 24 hours a day, it’s loaded with beneficial microbes that are ideal for plant growth.

1 cubic foot / 45lb bag – $10

$85 per cubic yard


Garden Mix – A soil blend consisting of genuine Farm Dirt Compost, fine mortar sand and premium composted topsoil. A true sand/silt/clay loam. No wood dust or mulch fillers.

1 cubic foot / 50lb bag – $10

$80 per cubic yard


How To Use Compost

Compost is the backbone of a healthy garden. The microbes that live in healthy, finished compost are the real workhorses of the garden, even though we don’t see them. They digest organic matter within the soil, and organic matter that falls onto the soil, such as leaves and grass clippings. They are constantly eating and multiplying, so they keep nutrients cycling in the soil instead of letting them simply be washed away into our waterways and oceans.

Compost can be used in a variety of ways:

Tilling it in

Yes, it can be tilled into the existing soil, but we don’t recommend tilling due to the extensive destruction of the soil infrastructure that it causes. “What infrastructure?”, some of you may ask.

Thousands of miles of earthworm tunnels, and millions of miles of microbe tunnels per acre act as the highway, street, drainage and aeration system of the soil, just as our modern systems serve these functions for humans in buildings and for transportation. Earthworms and microbes use the same tunnel systems year in and year out to carry out the functions of digesting soil organic matter to turn it into plant-ready nutrients.

Water and air percolate into the soil through these same tunnels, bringing oxygen and much-needed water to plant roots, around which the earthworms and microbes spend much of their lives.

When this intricate infrastructure, and the organisms, are destroyed by tilling, it also disrupts the flow of nutrients, air and water available to the plants, slowing growth. For more information on no-till/no-dig gardening, visit Mother Earth News or Back To Eden.

Top dressing

Applying a 2-inch layer of compost to the top of your existing soil brings in millions of hard-working microbes, attracts earthworms from all around your garden, conserves soil moisture and regulates soil temperatures. Since this method leaves the earthworm and soil microbe infrastructures intact, the soil life can quickly assimilate the nutrients and microbiology of the compost with your existing soil and biology. Earthworms come to dine on the decomposed organic matter and millions of microorganisms, and then act as giant microbe buses, bringing all of this goodness down into your soil as they dive deep back into their burrows. Beneficial bacteria, fungi spores, etc. are relocated to many other parts of the garden to repopulate the soil health there. You don’t even have to pay them.

Mixing it with your soil blend

Whether you have your own secret blend of garden magic, or simply buy premixed soil blends, mixing in some high-quality, high-microbial-count compost will give it that extra kick. Just be sure to add it to the top of your soil to preserve the soil infrastructure. Let the worms and microbes do all the hard work. They love it and live for it. Just dump it, spread it, plant it, and go have some lemonade.

An indispensable primer on the importance of the soil food web to your garden is a book called Teaming With Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.

For more in-depth soil health education, courses, and consulting, visit the Soil Food Web site of Dr. Elaine Ingham, who has worked for decades to bring this knowledge to the foreground of modern agriculture.

Compost tea

A great way to multiply your soil return on investment is to make actively aerated compost tea. It significantly increases the number of microbes in the compost, in order to turn a little into a lot! The same amount of compost used to top dress around a big tomato plant can make enough compost tea to spray a quarter-acre! For some simple instructions and basic recipes, check out Teaming With Microbes.

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