Mushroom compost is a type of compost that you can use to grow your vegetable garden. Many gardeners have recognized this sustainable way to grow their plants, and the benefits of using mushroom compost are many: it’s cheap, it’s effective, and it can help reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers or help sustain healthy soil. In this article, we will go in-depth on the best ways to use mushroom compost for a healthy, bountiful yield in your vegetable garden. Let us check out in detail, how to use mushroom compost in vegetable garden.
What Is Mushroom Compost?
For those who are not familiar with mushroom compost, it is basically an organic fertilizer that has been made from mushrooms. The mushrooms are sometimes called truffles, and there are certain types of fungi that produce these useful composts, such as the Puffball (also known as pythium on account of its form), yellow foot chanterelle mushrooms, shaggy manes, and the earthstar.
Mushroom compost is available in various sizes, from the small bag for smaller gardens to the large one for larger ones. Depending on the size of your garden, you can decide to use a smaller packet of mushroom compost or a bigger pouch to ensure that every part of your vegetable garden will be able to benefit.
Mushroom compost has an odor, which may be off-putting in some cases, but this is actually an advantage for those who are looking to cultivate their first garden and are not yet familiar with organic fertilizer practices.
Benefits Of Using Mushroom Compost
Mushroom compost is actually a type of organic fertilizer that has the following benefits:
- It’s cheap. Mushroom composts are generally available for wholesale prices, which means that the cost of purchasing one bag of mushroom compost is cheaper than using typical commercial fertilizers that claim to be as effective as what they are advertising.
- It’s effective. Mushroom compost is known to have a high degree of effectiveness in producing substantial results with minimal usage. The advantage of this organic fertilizer is its sustainability at the same time as its effectiveness at the same time.
- It’s sustainable. Mushroom compost is a type of organic fertilizer that is able to maintain healthy soil in and around the vegetable garden. Since it is a by-product of the regular process used in cultivating mushrooms, you need not worry about running out of these organic fertilizers the more you use it for your garden.
- It’s eco-friendly. Mushroom compost is one of the best bio-degradable organic fertilizers that you can get your hands on. Since it’s a high-quality product, there is no need to use it in excessively large amounts for better results.
Read: How to Reclaim a Neglected Vegetable Garden to Regain its Initial Glory
How To Use Mushroom Compost In Your Vegetable Garden
Since mushroom compost is a type of organic fertilizer, there are certain soil requirements that it needs to be able to perform effectively.
- It needs to be mixed with soil. The use of mushroom compost is best in gardens that are already well established or in those with good topsoil. It is not recommended for gardens that have used chemical fertilizers or those that rely heavily on pesticides in order to maintain their plant growth.
- The soil should be moistened before use. It is best to use mushroom compost when the soil is moist.
- Compost should be spread evenly over the roots and the entire root ball of the vegetable plants in your vegetables garden.
- The compost should be watered in, as well as any other organic fertilizers used for the proper growth of crops in your vegetable garden.
- The compost should be worked into the soil. This will make it easier for the mushroom compost to deliver its nutrition to the vegetable plants and for all of them to grow well.
How Much Mushroom Compost Should You Use For A Vegetable Garden?
The mushroom compost should be used every three months, or whenever there is a noticeable change in the size of your vegetable garden. This is an indication that your plants need more organic fertilizer and can be used as an indication of when to move on and invest in new compost. Generally, you should use about 3 to 6 inches of compost, depending on the size of your garden.
Potential Downsides Of Using Mushroom Compost
- Mushroom compost may have harmful fungi. Mushrooms are actually fungi, and there are certain types of them that are harmful. On the other hand, the mushroom compost that you can obtain from a reputable source should be free of any harmful fungi, as well as free of any other harmful substances.
- There is a chance of getting sick from mushroom compost in your vegetable garden. Those with compromised immune systems are not advised to use mushroom compost, as they are more susceptible to fungal infections and other illnesses that can be transmitted via vegetable plants grown in soil with this organic fertilizer.
- There is a potential for it to interrupt the natural growing cycle of the plants in your garden. This is because the vegetable plants do not require mushroom compost, and the compost can be a potential problem in the long run if certain plants have sensitive growing cycles.
- Mushroom compost can interfere with the natural decomposition process of organic fertilizer in your vegetable garden. Depending on where you use your mushroom compost, there is a possibility that adding it to your vegetable garden will cause unnatural decomposition of the organic fertilizer and it may hinder other types of organic fertilizers from doing their job properly.
- The odor can become annoying. Since mushroom compost is a type of organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, it gives off an odor that can be quite strong. If your garden has this odor, it may interfere with the aroma of the vegetables you will be growing in your soil.
- It takes quite a bit of time to become effective as an organic fertilizer for your vegetables. First, you have to wait for the compost to decompose, and while it is doing that, other types of organic fertilizers can be used. Then, when the compost has become effective as an organic fertilizer in your vegetable garden, you should continue using it every three months in order to maintain good growth.
Read: Growing Vegetables in Pots For Beginners
Which Vegetables Work Best With Mushroom Compost?
You can use mushroom compost to fertilize any type of vegetables, as long as the compost has decomposed properly before it is added to your soil. However, there are some vegetables that grow best when this compost is added to them:
- Carrots – using mushroom compost with carrots can help improve their water retention and overall growth.
- Lettuce – these are very heavy plants, and mushrooms help them absorb nutrients much better than other vegetables.
- Onions – onions grow well with mushroom compost in the soil, and it helps them to retain moisture very well. It also helps to break down organic materials from their root systems that may be there in the soil of your garden.
- Tomatoes – like onions, tomatoes grow well if they are fertilized with mushroom compost. When the compost is added, it breaks down organic matter in the soil and makes it available to the tomatoes.
- Peppers – the compost has good drainage properties, and peppers need loose soil for good growth. Adding mushroom compost to the soil will give them both the drainage and the nutrients they need.
Alternatives to Mushroom Compost
Gardeners have many alternatives to using mushroom compost for their vegetable gardens. Some of these include:
- Leaf mold – this is a good soil amendment for the vegetable garden. It is made from the decomposition of fallen leaves and other plant materials. When added to the soil, it will help to break down organic matter and also prevent weeds from growing in the garden beds.
- Composted chicken manure – chicken manure has strong nutrients that can be used to fertilize the veggies in your garden. To use it, mix it with your regular compost pile before adding it to your vegetable gardens.
- Soil inoculants – soil inoculants are a solution of nutrients that will be added to the garden beds. They help to increase the growth of plants by providing the proper nutrients as well as an extra boost of growth.
- Lawn clippings – add them to your compost pile before adding them to vegetable gardens. They contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium and will make your vegetable beds more successful.
- Akadama clay – a type of Japanese soil amendment made from volcanic ash. It will help retain moisture and nutrients.
- Pine Needles – a component of compost that can be added to your garden beds. They provide an excellent source of nitrogen and are great for composting purposes.
- Wood ashes – wood ashes can be added to your garden beds. They contain potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron which are useful for plants.
- Manure – manure is a fertilizer that has decomposing cow excrement etc in it. So with a handful of nutrient-rich soil, you can grow incredible crops. There are some mixtures you can mix it with, but the best is to add it directly to your garden beds.
How To Make Mushroom Compost At Home
You may or may not have the time to go out and buy a bag of mushroom compost. If you are not too far away from your local mushroom farm, this is a great way to get some organic fertilizer, as it is an abundant source that will be safe for your vegetable garden.
The following are the steps you can follow to make mushroom compost and add it to your soil:
- First, find out where your local mushroom farm is. It should be easy, as there are several of them nowadays. It will be a good idea to find out if they sell the mushroom compost to the public, and if they do, you should try asking them for some composts in bulk.
- Decide when you want to add the mushroom compost to your vegetable garden soil. It must be done when the compost is at its peak state of decomposition, which is usually in a few weeks after it has been added to the soil. If the compost has been in your vegetable garden soil for a while, it is important that you let it break down in the soil first before adding more to it.
- Add different types of straws to your compost pile. Use those that are high in carbon content, such as rye straw and wheat straw. The reason for this is because they will be able to speed up the decomposition process of the mushroom compost that you have added to your compost pile later on.
- Make sure that the compost pile is about 3 to 4 feet wide and slightly longer, depending on the amount of compost you have to use for your vegetable garden. The pile should also be about 4 feet tall.
- Keep your compost pile moist through the process of adding straws over it regularly. This will help in speeding up the decomposition process as well as help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your compost pile.
- Keep the pile moist. Once you add your mushroom compost to it, allow it to decompose in the soil for a while before adding any more components to it.
- Harvest the mushrooms from time to time according to their maturity and then use them when they are ready for use in your vegetable garden as an organic fertilizer.
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There is no question that mushroom compost is a type of organic fertilizer that has many benefits. For those of you looking for organic fertilizer to work alongside your traditional fertilizers in your vegetable gardens, there are no better options than mushroom compost.
There are benefits that mushroom compost will provide for your vegetable plants, such as its ability to prevent pests and disease while also providing proper nutrients and water retention. Got an idea on how to use mushroom compost in vegetable garden?
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.