What Is Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom Compost has become popular in recent years with gardeners because it is so high in organic matter. It can be used as a soil conditioner and as a mulch, and is very good for growing vegetables in.
Using mushroom compost will improve your soil’s structure and water retention and add nutrients. Although, spent mushroom compost, which has already had mushrooms grown in it, will be lower in nitrogen as the mushrooms would have used some of the nitrogen content.
So What Is Mushroom Compost?
The compost is a mix of straw, corn cobs, horse and poultry manure, peat moss, gypsum and lime. This creates a product that is very high in organic matter that is perfect for mushroom farming. Mushroom spores are injected into the compost and then harvested around three weeks later. The compost is steamed in order to remove any pests or weeds. Farmers will usually get around two or three crops of mushrooms from the compost before they need to change it. It is then recycled as an organic mushroom compost for gardeners.
As mushrooms like to grow in lime, the compost is alkaline in nature, so it is not recommended for ericaceous plants, such as rhododendrons or fruit crops. However, vegetables love mushroom composts, and it is perfect for brassicas, such as broccoli and cabbage.
Mushroom compost also works well mixed with clay soils as it will improve the texture. It is worth considering mixing it with topsoil, as it will increase the organic content, and avoid any chalk build up.