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Can You Use Too Much Mushroom Compost?

Can You Use Too Much Mushroom Compost?

There can be too much of a good thing. Mushrooms can be very beneficial for plants they cohabitate with, and they are definitely good for them once they are turned into compost. However, a compost mix that has too many mushrooms can create too many problems.

Mushroom compost can stay too soggy, rendering it unusable or even turning it into the perfect breeding ground for mold and other undesirable. And the same way that all the medicine is poison but just in smaller doses, compost with a high mushroom content can even damage or kill your plants if you use it too much and too often.

Why are mushrooms good for composting?

They work in two ways to make your compost better. First, they are decomposers, which means that they will speed up the composting process. That will also help release additional nutrients that may be hiding somewhere in the composting material.

Second, they themselves are nutrition powerhouses. They are very rich in nitrogen which your plants love. They are also full of numerous minerals that will keep the soil healthy and happy.

It doesn’t take a lot of mushrooms to get these benefits either. Basically, whatever it is that your kids (or whoever is the pickiest eater in your home) leave on their plate after dinner will get you an extra step to these benefits.

And if that’s all that you’re adding to your compost (mostly casual meal leftovers), you can pretty much just add them to the mixture as you would add any other kitchen scraps. But if you plan on using more than that, you will have to pay more attention.

What is mushroom compost not good for?

Growing fruits. Technically, most of the botanical fruits (that means tomatoes too).

Pretty much, if there is an elevated level of acidity in produce, you should skip the mushrooms. They themself prefer materials that are more pH neutral.

What are the signs that I have too much mushroom in the compost?

The compost itself will be very soggy. It will not be able to achieve that crumbly, wet soil consistency you are looking for. It can also start smelling more moldy than earthy. The last part is also a sign that the fact that the compost is wet enough to start developing other issues.

But if you’ve already used the compost, you will see your plants grow and get green and rich very quickly. But then, the situation will turn quickly and your plants will slowly wither and lose their plumage. Adding more mushroom compost in an effort to revive them will be counterproductive.

What will happen to plants if I use compost with too many mushrooms?

They may start growing mushrooms. Though this is mostly the case if there are some spores that managed to survive and (by some miracle) didn’t start growing into shrooms while your compost was “cooking”.

But, as mentioned, you will probably have to deal with the excess of nitrogen. Nitrogen will boost foliage growth and you will end up with some lush greenery, but that will come at the cost to the roots and fruits of the plant. Good if you’re trying to get some privacy from the neighbors ASAP, not so good if you’re growing food.

How many mushrooms should you add to a compost? How much is too much?

You don’t want more than 50% of your compost to consist of mushrooms if you’re using said compost in the garden. If you need it for plants that grow indoors (no matter if it’s the greenhouse strawberries or the ficus in your home), don’t go over 25%.

Even if you don’t go over these limits, it would be the best idea to use compost with a lot of mushrooms sparingly. Perhaps only during initial planting or when your plants need extra love and care.

The browns vs the greens

It may be better to use mushrooms as part of your browns and not the greens. Any part of vegetation that can be dried can also be used as a “brown” in a compost mixture.

There’s one simple reason behind it – spores are less likely to survive the drying process. And if you have any spores left behind, they will latch onto something they find yummy in your compost and start growing. Therefore, any leftover raw mushrooms should go through a dehydrator before you chuck them into the composting heap.

Though there’s no need for all these extra steps if you’re just trying to get rid of the leftovers on your plate. Those guys are cleaned and cooked, making them perfectly safe to throw in as a part of your greens.


What should I do if my compost starts growing mushrooms?

Then you start growing mushrooms as well. They are already there, so why not?

Compost can work as a base for growing mushrooms, especially any species that feed on dying and decaying matter. And, fun fact, a lot of edible mushrooms do so.

Of course, this leads to a completely new and different set of issues that need to be addressed, but mushroom growing may be worth the shot. If you already have a green thumb, you’d be pleased to know that they are easier to take care of than anything you tackled before. You can read more about mushroom growing in these articles to see how you can start this new and fun activity.

Though you kinda need to figure out what type of mushroom has sprouted out of your compost and sort of dedicate yourself to it. Mushrooms don’t like to mess with each other’s turf, and you will not be able to rear several species together. Well, unless you want to leave them to battle it out and see which one emerges victorious.

But if mushroom farming is not your new calling, you’ll either need to “rescue” it or get rid of it.

Rescuing the compost

This one will work if you’re dealing with most of the types of fungi, no matter if it’s edible mushrooms or mold. Fingicide.

If you have a large amount of compost that is sprouting something you didn’t want it to sprout, you will need to introduce it to some good commercial fungicide. And that’s the thing you’ll have to pay attention to.

There are a few decent DIY solutions for killing mushrooms, but those should not go near your compost. They are as likely to kill it and the good bacteria in it, as much as they are like to kill the shrooms (think vinegar or bleach).

Walk down to your nearest garden center (or go online) and get a good, commercial fungicide. Make sure that it’s a formula that is safe to use with other vegetation. If you have someone who you can talk to, describe your problem in detail. But, if you’re on your own and shopping online, pick one that comes with a guarantee not to damage your flowers or veg.

Though it could as well be that the situation is not that bad, to begin with. If your mushroom problem did not grow large enough to resemble a forest on top of your compost, you will probably be able to remix everything and balance the mushroom to compost ratio.

This means that if you just finished reading this article and realized that you’ve added too many shrooms to your compost mixture, you can now (or first thing tomorrow) run outside and fix the situation by adding more of your browns and greens. Pretty much, as long as you don’t see new mushroom growth, you’ll be right to assume that you can just readjust your mixture.

However, the troubles start if the thing you managed to develop is mold and not species that are more palatable.


Getting rid of compost

This is a final solution for a compost that is so unusable because of its fungal infestation. Though unexpected growth of the humble button mushroom can be the start of a new adventure, some other fungus can be a death sentence.

Certainly, you should always start by treating the compost with fungicide and giving it a fighting chance, but if you need to repeat that treatment numerous times, it’s time to pull the plug. Obviously, it’s not helping, and you’re adding just more and more unnecessary chemicals to something that is supposed to be “plant food”.

Old compost that was just “used up” can be repurposed in the garden without any issues, but don’t test any of those ideas with this stuff. You will have to get rid of it completely.

You’ll probably have to pass it on to someone who can use it – usually as a construction material. However, before then, treat the whole pile with bleach and kill any of the nasties. People who are taking that stuff off your hands will not look forward to dealing with bacteria, bold, and other fungi.

On the other hand, if you’ve just had an idea of how you can repurpose it for non-planting needs, still remember to sanitize it properly before you start with your project.

Making the Most of Used Mushroom Compost and Plugs

Making the Most of Used Mushroom Compost and Plugs

What is mushroom compost?

Mushroom compost is a versatile and useful gardening end-product of fungi culture. It accounts for an organic compost that supports vegetable varieties’ growth, and it can be used for both fruit gardening and floriculture. It’s also ideal for plants with hydrophilic features since it has mulch properties.

Generally, compost for mushroom cultivation constitutes agricultural products, such as stable horse straws, poultry solid excretes, cobs from corn, and hay, among other natural organic materials. These composts act as a substrate for mushroom cultivation.

Mushroom compost plug, for instance, is the mushroom substrate from which the mushrooms are already harvested. It’s then processed into a homogenous end-product, the mushroom compost.

Should the mushroom compost be needed again in mushroom cultivation, it will be pasteurized by steam to alleviate hygiene alarms from the subsequent mushroom growth. Provided that it’s not be used for mushroom, the compost can serve other agricultural purposes as its ideal for soil-enriching properties and nutrients.

However, nutrient content varies according to mushroom species grown in the compost and the different substrate preparation methods. For instance, the Straw mushroom uses mainly cellulose alone, leaving lignin still, whereas the rot fungi are antagonistic to straw. In regards to this, mushroom compost can serve lots of functions.

What are the best uses for mushroom compost?

· It can be used as a Fertilizer

Mushrooms compost is designed for mushroom growth; hence they serve as mushroom growth substrates. Moreover, it’s considered a valuable fertilizer when added to soils containing potted plants such as fruits and vegetables. They continually enrich the soil with organic matter and promote growth.

Since it contains significant nutrients for plant growth, it can act as a substitute for inorganic fertilizer. Different trials show that mushroom composts have recognizable traces of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus as well.

High calcium amounts in mushroom compost can help plants such as tomatoes grow and reduce the chances of blossom-end rot disease, which results typically from calcium deprivation. The compost also can retain water and prevent loss; hence it acts like organic mulch. Therefore, it’s ideal for crops that need much hydration, specifically the hibiscus flower, among other plants.

· Improving soil structure

Since spent mushroom compost contains tremendous amounts of organic content, it can help rebuild and enhance the soil’s physical structure. Soils that have progressive tillage properties always have minimal or less organic matter. Consequently, less or no organic matter in the soil will result in a poor physical structure. That makes the soil hard to work with and restrain drainage.

Undoubtedly, such tendencies are prevalent in horticultural zones and tillage systems that were formerly using farmyard manure. In this case, should mushroom compost be used, it will increase microbes and worms, which improve soil structure and porosity.

· It can be a Feeding to earthworms and insects

Earthworms and insects can either be fed to chicken, fish or directly fed to domesticated animals. Mushroom substrates usually contain cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Edible fungi, in this case, secretes enzymes that dissolve this organic material into absorbable foods; hence worms and insects can freely feed and breed.

The decomposed organic matter can be presented in the worms and insect bodies, hence optimizing the animal feeds’ nutrients ingredient ratio. Worms from Mushroom compost consist of 14% protein, significant vitamins, and micro-minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Furthermore, mycelia remnants in the spent mushroom compost plug are rich with essential amino acids that other animal feeds lack. With regard to this, mushroom plug turns out to be an essential animal feed with nearly all nutrients that animals need.


Is mushroom compost high in nitrogen?

When talking about nitrogen, studies show that mushroom compost contains low amounts of nitrogen. However, mushroom compost contains lots of hypha proteins since much of the cellulose and lignin constitutes usually are decomposed. Despite the low nitrogen concentration, the hypha proteins presented through compost mushroom can be used on farms to prevent nitrogen deficiency.

Do worms thrive in mushroom compost?

Worms are prominently known to convert wastes into composts rich in nitrogen. They feed on dead leaves, fruits, and vegetables, as well as some fungi. However, they have a hard time digesting fats and meats.

In the case of mushroom compost, worms tend to thrive as soon as the mushrooms are harvested. Usually, mushrooms break down food in the substrate to soluble nutrients, making digestion easy for worms. They, therefore, thrive in mushroom compost, and they can be cultured as animal feed.

How much mushroom compost should I add to my vegetable garden?

When using mushroom compost for a vegetable garden, you have to till three-four inches of the mushroom compost into the six top inches of averagely dry garden soil. Should you use it for containerized vegetables, the fresh mushroom compost shall have to be about one-quarter of the container’s soil volume.

fungiculture mycology

What’s best between mushroom and cow manure?

Cow manure

As the name suggests, the organic cow manure is made from cow excretes. It’s capable of inducing minerals like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the soil.

The cow wastes used in cow manure preparation are cost-effective with no potentials for environmental pollution. Additionally, cow manure devours weeds and pests that may cause low yields from plants.

On the other hand, availability is not a cause for concern; cow dung is easy to find. Even though it’s an excellent fertilizer, cow manure is massive, and it must be combined with light materials such as ash, straws, and hay.


Pros and cons of mushroom compost and cow manure

Pros of Mushroom Compost

· It’s affordable and cost-effective

Mushroom compost is a proficient nutrient provider to garden plants at an affordable cost. It permits your soil to improve its abilities for water retention. That’s majorly an advantage that maximizes the utilization of water.

· Can be used on any garden crop

Most garden plants, whether fruits, flowers, or even vegetables, thrive well with mushroom compost. It’s even more effective if it’s thoroughly mixed with the soil before being used for gardening.

Cons of Mushroom Compost

· It requires a great deal of awareness and may cause acidic burns

Even though mushroom compost is ideal for gardening, you should be cautious and aware of when to use and how-to, as they contain high amounts of salts. Consequently, they are not ideal for Salt-sensitive plants, and they may affect seedlings through fertilizer burns. On the other hand, if properly prepared and used moderately, mushroom compost is always useful in growing seedlings and other garden crops.


Pros of cow manure

· Improves the soils water holding mechanisms

Cow manure provides your garden crops with essential nutrients and increases the soil’s ability for water retention. Consequently, you won’t have to water your plants consistently.

· Improves soil aeration

The other upside of using cow manure is that it promotes soil aeration and ventilation for the crops you are gardening. Cow manure promotes the growth of good microorganisms in the soil. In return, the microorganisms break organic matter into simple and absorbable nutrients, thus quickening the nutrient absorption rate.

· Allows for the breeding of worms and insects

The fact that mushroom composts allow for worm and insect breeding makes them outstandingly beneficial. That even means that you won’t go searching for poultry and other animal feeds.


Cons of cow manure

· The duration Preparation is time costly

It takes up to 180 days before manure becomes ready for use. Meanwhile, nothing can be cultured into the yet-to-be manure as it causes acidic burns. For instance, if you were to use mushroom compost, the benefit will be mutual since you can culture mushrooms on the substrates and deviate its use upon harvesting.

· Good for bacterial breeding

In as much as cow manure is beneficial to the soil, you have to consider it a breeding site for bacteria such as Escherichia coli, which is pathogenic.

· They contain excess ammonia

Leave the bacteria aside; cow manure is highly concentrated with ammonia making it hazardous for your plant. Excess ammonia means excess nitrogen, thus acidic burning of plants.

· They harbor parasites

Cow manure also houses parasites; it’s not a cause of alarm to find the parasite e.coli and tapeworm. The presence of such parasites in garden crops poses a significant threat to human health.

For these parasites to be killed, cow manure will have to stay for long before being used. In turn, that requires more time, making it unreliable. Cow manure, at times, may also contain salts depending on the feeding environment.

If you were to compare it to mushroom compost, you would find that mushroom compost is sterilized; hence, no bacteria or parasites present.

In retrospect, there are many uses for mushroom compost. Should you consider using soil amendments, it will be wise if you opt for mushroom compost.

They are great for any garden crop and soil. They are also free from bacteria and parasites, and without forgetting, they serve consistently as soon as they are prepared, meaning don’t have to wait for them to get ready. They are also worth it if you are dealing with hydrophilic crops!