Mushroom compost is a type of slow-release, organic plant fertiliser. The compost is made by mushroom growers using organic materials such as hay, straw, corn cobs and hulls, and poultry or horse manure.
Since the mushroom growing process varies slightly between individual growers, mushroom compost recipes may differ here and there. For instance, additional materials like gypsum, peat moss, lime, soybean meal, and various other organic items may be added to the compost as well.
Once the mushroom spawn are mixed into the compost, it is steam pasteurised to kill weed seeds and any other harmful agents. A mixed layer of sphagnum moss and lime is top dressed onto the top of the pile for the growth of mushrooms.
Mushroom composting takes about three to four weeks to process, during which it is monitored closely by mushroom growers to maintain adequate temperatures. After the process is complete, the leftover compost is disposed of and sold as fertiliser.
There are several uses for mushroom compost. It can be used as soil amendment for lawns, gardens, and container plants. Mushroom compost should be used with caution due to its high soluble salt levels and alkalinity.
These salt levels can kill germinating seeds, harm young seedlings, and cause damage to salt-sensitive plants, like azaleas and rhododendrons.
To temper the alkaline levels of mushroom compost, consider using aglime.
The beneficial uses of mushroom compost, however, far outweigh the downside of high salt levels.
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The chilly winds seem to have chased the rain away and it is the perfect time to get a generous layer of mulch down to lock in the moisture, keeps the weeds at bay and keep your plants warm.