Tips for Mushroom Composting

Written by k.c. morgan
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Tips for Mushroom Composting
Mushrooms provide rich compost for your garden. (mushroom aspen mushroom orange-cap boletus image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

Mushroom compost is the remains of the nutrient-rich manure mixture created by commercial growers who produce mushrooms. Also known as mushroom soil, this compost may no longer be used to produce the fungi once commercial mushroomers have used it, but it has a lot of applications in gardens and lawns. Mushroom compost may be mixed into soil or used as a mulch to provide slow-release nutrients. Master tips for mushroom composting to improve your garden.

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Wood Mulch

Mix mushroom compost with wood chips, a material that's often used in garden mulch mixtures. Wood chips are durable and easy to find, but they may harbour fungal sports which are released into the air. The flying spores are black in colour and sticky to the touch, making them potentially hazardous to paint and other building materials. Mushroom compost actually suppresses these flying spores when it's mixed into wood mulches. Pennsylvania State University researcher, Dr. Donald Davis recommends creating a mixture of 40 per cent mushroom compost, 60 per cent wood chips to form a weed-suppressing, safe mulch for garden and lawn areas.

Dilute the Mixture

Mushroom compost may be too nutrient-rich for some types of plants. Salt-sensitive and young plants may be damaged or killed by mushroom compost, which has high salt content. Rhododendrons, azaleas, blueberries and newly-planted seeds may not respond well to pure mushroom compost. Dilute the mixture with standard garden soil to cut down on the high salt content and protect younger and sensitive plants from the rich compost. Mix 1 part soil with 1 part mushroom compost to create a safer mixture for more sensitive garden areas.

Mulch

Use mushroom compost as a mulch around flower beds, vegetables, trees and shrubs. Wait until the garden soil is dry to the touch and till approximately 6 inches of the surface, breaking soil up into fine chunks. Mix approximately 3 inches of mushroom compost into the tilled soil to create a nutrient-rich mulch which helps prevent weed growth and other garden problems.

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