How does a compost like Leafgro compare to Bloom? Many customers are accustomed to using leaf or food waste compost, and want to better understand the similarities and differences to using Bloom or other biosolids based products.

Bloom is a great substitute for compost, but has some important distinctions. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about Bloom compared to compost products.

Do I need to use the same amount of Bloom as compost? How does the nutrient content of Bloom compare?

As Bloom comes in different forms, different application rates are also recommended. In general, you will need less Bloom than a comparable product like Leafgro to get the same amount of nutrients and organic matter, as shown in the table below.

Comparing recent sample analyses (note that nutrient analyses can vary greatly by sample; these are intended as a general indication of the products):

% nutrientsWoody BlendSandy BlendLeafgroLeafgro Gold
N (as received)
P (as received)2.410.20.1
K (as received)
Organic Matter56.119.77041.6
Date of Analysis9/205/205/199/19

When comparing the price of products, it’s important also to calculate how much product you will need to purchase to cover a given area. Leafgro suggests using a 50/50 compost:soil mix when installing a new garden. Bloom’s recommendations are a little different, as found in the specification sheets for its Woody Blend and Sandy Blend.

Woody Blend

Woody Blend

Bloom Sandy Blend

Sandy Blend



Other FAQs on Leafgro vs Bloom

I have used Leafgro Gold and it had plastic in it. I’ve also had weed seeds in the compost I’ve purchased in the past. Is this an issue with Bloom?
Bloom goes through a process called thermal hydrolysis, which is like a giant pressure cooker that destroys any pathogens or living matter such as weed seeds. It also goes through an initial primary treatment step that separates any foreign matter solids (such as plastic) from the rest of the material. As a result, Bloom is debris and weed seed free.

Compost products like Leafgro seem to run out in peak season and I can’t always get it when I need it. Does Bloom have shortages in the spring or fall?
Like other suppliers, Bloom certainly has its peak sales in the spring and fall months, which means it is good to get your order in early, and allow for extra lead time! However with our base material production being at 450 tons per day year round, we do typically not experience any production shortages.

What about product safety – can Bloom be used on lawns where pets and kids play, like compost can? What about on my vegetable garden?
Like Leafgro and other composted products, Bloom is safe for lawns, edible gardens and anything else you would like to grow. Bloom meets and typically exceeds the EPA’s rigorous standards for Class A Exceptional Quality biosolids, and is tested by independent labs monthly and internally every day. Our products have been used by many community and school gardens, including the DC Public Schools and the Washington Youth Garden, in addition to many commercial farmers in the area.

I like supporting Leafgro and other compost products because it is local, recycled and sustainable. How does Bloom help the local environment?
Bloom too is a local, recycled product, but rather than being recycled from leaves and food waste, it is recycled from DC’s wastewater stream. In the process, methane gas is captured and fuels Blue Plains, while the material also sequesters carbon and enriches local soils. The thermal hydrolysis process also greatly reduces the volume of material, which reduces costs and DC Water’s transportation footprint.

Which of Bloom’s products is most comparable to Leafgro or another leaf compost?
Bloom has a blended product called Woody Blend, made at Blue Plains, that has a similar nutrient and organic matter profile to Leafgro. This high performing blend, a mix of 50% Fresh Bloom and 50% aged hardwood fines, can be used on lawns, gardens and other applications. This is available in bulk from Bloom (for as little as one yard) or from our resellers.

Nutrient content for the Woody Blend (average, varies by batch): ~1 N, 1 P2O5, 0 K2O; 61% organic matter. Please see the spec sheet for the product for more information.