Learn how to make your own organic mushroom compost at home to help enhance your garden! Or make mock mushroom compost. Either way, you'll be able to grow huge, fertile plants with this amazing addition to your soil.
In order to perfect your garden, mushroom compost is one of the right additions you can make to enhance the garden soil. Here in this article, we will shed some light on how to make organic mushroom compost for your garden.
NOTE FROM VICTORIA: We use mushroom compost in our Back to Eden gardens and I have to say, it makes a huge difference in the quality and quantity of the produce. While we have an organic mushroom compost location just about 15 miles down the road, not everyone does. So, learn how to make it yourself today!
Because there are many types of compost, you must know what mushroom compost is, as it offers nutrients and help grow healthy plants. Let us see what Mushroom compost is!
What Is Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom compost is an organic fertilizer which slowly releases into the garden soil and is created with soil that has already been used to grow mushrooms.
As the mushrooms grow, the straw and manure used to help the process, breaks down leaving a beautiful dark soil that can then be used to produce great home garden results!
How to Make Organic Mushroom Compost for Your Garden
Traditionally, mushroom compost is made by mushroom growers with organic materials they already have consisting of the soil where they grew mushrooms, straw, corn cobs, hulls, and hay.
If you are growing mushrooms at home, the process of making mushroom compost is simple!
First, mix the soil, straw, manure, and mushroom bacteria together and allow the massive piles of mushroom compost to sit for 30 to 60 days to heat it up. In this time period, the bacteria feed on the straw and chicken manure that give most of the essential nutrients
After harvesting your mushrooms, you'll need to let the compost process down so that's it's safe for garden use.
Using "fresh" mushroom compost can cause nitrogen burns (otherwise known as fertilizer burn) or other issues for your garden. So, you'll want to process the compost a bit before using it.
During the processing weeks, you'll need to monitor the mushroom compost, to ensure that pile maintains the adequate temperature which is needs to stay at 140°F minimum to achieve pasteurization.
Commercially, this is done by injecting steam at 140°F into the pile of compost. At home it may be a bit trickier and you can skip it if you need to. Just turn your compost periodically (every few days) so allow it to break down more. Do this for about a month.
However, the steam heating process is best as it helps ensure that you won't have mushrooms popping up all around your garden. Though that may still happen. The heating process also kills other pathogens, pest larvae, and weed seeds so that your compost is garden ready!
Once the compost pasteurization process is completed, then you need to allow the compost to cool before using. Compost must be lower than 90°F OR the ambient air temperature before applying to your garden, otherwise the seeds will overheat and die.
So, for example, if the air is 100° then 100° soil would also be fine.
The end result of this effort is that the mushroom compost is perfectly ready to use in growing a beautiful garden. After the completion of one composting cycle, the leftover compost is used as a fertilizer to gardeners, landscape supply firms, general contractors and nurseries.
NOTE FROM VICTORIA: You can see here the rich soil under our top layer of mulch. That's all mushroom compost!
Benefits Of Mushroom Compost:
Let’s delve deeper into the number of benefits that mushroom compost offers:
- Firstly, it is the least expensive fertilizer to invest in unlike other fertilizers or compost. It is not just pocket-friendly but also enriches the soil greatly and provides essential nutrients for the healthy growth of plants.
- Using mushroom compost also improves the water holding capacity of the soil which nicely decreases the regular watering needs of your garden.
- Many of the garden plants are extremely benefited with the mushroom compost when added to the soil where you are growing fruits, flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
- In order to reap the perfect outcomes, make sure that the mushroom compost is adequately mixed with the garden soil. You can also leave it to sit over the winter season properly and kick start the gardening next spring.
RELATED: How we used mushroom compost to grow 1,500 pounds of produce without weeding or watering!
How to Make Mock Mushroom Compost
While mushroom compost may seem like a lot of effort, you can also get a lot of the same benefits from making your own mock mushroom compost.
To make mock mushroom compost, just combine soil, straw, and manure. Chicken, or cow manure is traditionally used, but you can also use other animal manure.
Mix about 40% soil, 40% straw, and 20% manure in a large pile until thoroughly combined.
Continue to turn the soil every two weeks, making sure to get the deepest parts of the pile mixed well. As you mix, check the water content of the soil. You want it to be moist, but not soaking.
* If the soil is too wet, spread it into a thinner later and allow to dry out. Be sure to cover your compost pile before a rainstorm in an attempt to keep the soil moisture level consistent.
* If the soil is too dry, add more water and mix.
Turn the pile at least 5 times, with a 2 week delay in between turnings. As you turn, make sure the center of the pile is heating up well. If it is not getting warm, at more manure to the mix and combine well.
The heat is what helps kill any unwanted bacteria and microbes.
Once the pile has been turned at least 5 times, cover the compost with a tarp and allow to age at least one month before using.
If you can let it age longer, then it will be even better for your gardens. Age up to six months before using.
To Sum Up
Thus, by following the tips, you can easily make organic mushroom compost for your garden. Or skip the mushrooms all together and make your own mock mushroom compost!
No matter which compost type you choose, you'll have amazing garden results to enjoy from all your hard work!