Using Mushroom Compost
Organic composts, such as mushroom compost and soil are a natural way to add goodness back into the soil without adding in a ton of hazardous chemicals.
Where Does Mushroom Compost Come From?
It is a by-product of mushroom farming and is a mixture of various materials used in farming such as straw, poultry litter and hay, amongst others. These products are converted into a nutrient dense mixture that is used as a base for growing mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms have been harvested, this material is harvested and processed.
Why is Compost Good for the Soil?
Used in a proper manner, organic compost will nourish soil that is marginal or poor and provide nutrients for plant growth. The compost changes the make-up of the soil and helps not only to add nutrients but also to break up and aerate the soil. This improves drainage and microbial activity in the soil, thus improving it overall.
What is so Special about Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom compost tends to look a lot like dark topsoil and has a loose structure. It smells earthy and rich. Pennsylvania State University has proved that mushroom compost is made up of an average of 25% organic material and almost 60% moisture.
This makes it ideal for mixing with soil and handling. The nitrogen content of mushroom compost is around 1.12% and it is in a form that is easily absorbable by plants. It also has an ideal pH for most plants and it is a stable and mature organic compost.
How Much to Use?
You should aim for a uniform application of approximately a three-inch thickness on the surface. This should then be worked into the soil below.
Make sure that you work it into the soil properly to ensure that salts in the compost are properly diluted. Also be sure to get a proper lab analysis from your supplier to ensure that you are receiving a good quality product.
What about Weeds?
Before the compost is taken out, the entire inside of the mushroom house is steam-treated in order to get rid of any possible seeds, pests or pathogens. It is important to ensure that the mushroom compost has been properly treated and has not been left outside where it could be exposed to various seeds and pathogens spread by the elements.
Even if the soil is steam-cleaned, if it is left out for too long, it is possible that it can become contaminated with weed seeds again.