Mushroom composting is one of the many composting methods you can adopt to decompose kitchen waste. While you can buy mushroom compost to use as a conditioner for your soil, you need to be aware of the plants that don’t like mushroom compost.
In this article, we will be talking about mushroom compost, the benefits of using it and where to use it.
What is Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom compost is also referred to as spent mushroom compost since it obtained from the remains of mushroom farming. It is mainly used as a mulch and soil conditioner to improve ornamental and vegetable garden. Due to its alkalinity, it is wrong to use mushroom compost for acid-loving (ericaceous) plants.
Most gardeners use mushroom compost to improve moisture content of their soil and in breaking down clay. But what most of them don’t know is that there are different types of mushroom compost. The most commercially available type is the mushroom substrate that is usually a mix of chicken or horse manure and gypsum or wheat straw. In large scale production of substrates, large bales of wheat straws are dipped in water and then cut into pieces by the help of a chipper. After which the straw is gradually worked into the gypsum and manure. After the materials are composted, they are sterilized to improve the quality before they are taken to the growing trays.
Another type is the spent mushroom compost which is what’s obtained from mushrooms farms. They are often sold as conditioners for turfs and lawns where it is used to improve the soil quality. They are equally useful in raised bed mediums and planting mix where it helps to improve water retention.
How to Use Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom compost has a versatile application. For starters, you can easily add it to any soil to improve the quality before the commencement of planting season. They are mostly suitable for use on vegetable gardens but are equally effective in most alkaline soil. Before you lay your lawn grass, it is best that you work the mushroom compost into the soil. You should apply up to 3-inch of mushroom compost on top of your annual or perennial bed and dig to 6-inch depth to get the best results. Do not forget to water your lawn regularly and be on the watch out for weeds.
Once you apply mushroom compost to your lawn, there is no need for any additional fertilizer or herbicides for the entire season. To prevent your plant root from burning out, it is best that you apply your mushroom compost close to the stems of your plant for easy nutrient uptake.
You will likely be dealing with weeds when you use compost in your garden, and shouldn’t be worried when you find some on top of your mushroom compost. But when they are properly sterilized before storage, you barely have to worry about weeds.
Mushroom compost can also be used on house plants, but it is important that you apply only a thin layer on top of the potting soil. You also want to check that there are enough drainage holes in your pot. Flowers pots without drainage are not suitable for mushroom compost or any other type of compost.
Are there Chemical Residues in Mushroom Compost?
They are claims that mushroom compost contains chemical residues for the industries and might not be suitable for use. It is okay to be conscious on what you feed your plants and plant soil. But the truth is that you cannot be certain about what really goes on in those mushroom farms.
Most mushroom farmers make use of chemical sprays to tackle the problems of flies and gnats in their facilities. These chemical sprays may get into the mushroom compost making it unfit to be used in certified organic farms. Some of the common chemicals used in the mushroom farms to tackle insect problems include methoprene, diazinon, dimlin, cyromazine, and diflubenzuron. They also apply chemicals such as chlorothalonil, benomyl, and thiabendazole to treat fungal infections in mushroom crops.
When looking to get mushroom compost from farms, is recommended that you enquire about the type of chemicals used in growing the plants. This makes it possible for you to know whether or not the compost will contain toxic materials. The presence of toxic chemicals in your mushroom compost can make it difficult for it to take effect on your plants.
Plants that Don’t like Mushroom Compost
Like we mentioned earlier, mushroom compost is not a good fit for ericaceous plants. These are plants that grow in acidic or infertile soil conditions. For these plants, you will want to apply acidic compost that has slightly higher nitrogen content. Mushroom compost can be added to plants with a slightly higher alkaline content. Some examples of the plants that don’t like mushroom compost include:
- Japanese maple
- Bleeding heart
Plants that Like Mushroom Compost
The slow-release mushroom compost can be added to vegetables and plants that grown in alkaline soil. You can add mushroom compost to trees, vines, bushes, and perennial crops such as:
- Shasta daisy
- Meadow rue
- Reticulated iris
- Easter Lilies
- Bearded iris kiwi
- Virginia creeper
- Winter jasmine
- Boston ivy
- Mugo pine
- Horse chestnut
- Ornamental cherry
- Lilac bushes
- Yew bushes
Mushroom Compost Alternatives
There are other alternatives to mushroom compost that you can apply to your garden to improve the soil nutrient they include:
Remember that you cannot use mushroom compost for acid-loving plants. You should also source your mushroom compost from organic farms that do not use toxic chemicals as insect repellants.
Have you tried mushroom compost before? We will like to hear about your experience in the comment section.