Mushroom Compost for Container Vegetables?

NoRoom2GrowApril 23, 2012

I went to home depot to get some supplies for my container garden. Someone told me to use mushroom compost instead of potting mix..

Anyone try this?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Caution - Depending on how fresh it is, it can be very hot (high in N), and very high in soluble salts. You can also count on it to break down rapidly (structural collapse). As it breaks down, the composting process generates a lot of heat as well. All in all, I'd rate it as a poor choice as a fraction of your media, let alone as the foundation.

Al

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 7:45AM
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Joe1980(5)

Agreed. My one word answer: NO.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:29PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

That would be a negatory

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 3:36AM
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calistoga_al

Any suggestions from Home Depot nursery employees relating to container growing, in my opinion would be suspect. Al

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 9:50AM
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afr0byte

Since when does finished compost (I assume they're selling finished compost, that's not still "cooking".) generate a lot of heat? I agree one shouldn't use all compost as a potting soil, but certainly it's good in a mix.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:23PM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I've had problems with my tomatoes for the last 5 years where they suddenly collapse shortly after starting to bear fruit. I keep trying things differently each year and nothing seems to work. I decided to go against convention and use mushroom compost this year. I think my tomato containers need less drainage because of the environment they must suffer in. I have my garden journal online which shows the collapse of my tomato crop last year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bucktown Garden

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 12:06AM
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mbrasseau(7)

I have used it in containers successfully, but kind of treated it as a manure, rather than compost... maybe thats why...

But other's responses left me with another question... if it is high in nitrogen, and will produce heat, would it be suitable as a top-dressing in colder months? or mixed in for winter greens?

brainstorming... I only know enough to be dangerous...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:54PM
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tn_gardening

I would use it to create your own potting mix, not instead of a potting mix.

In other words, I'd most likely mix it with other ingredients.

Are you planning to use it exclusively in your container?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 6:18AM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

As a follow up I'd like to summarize my results this season from adding mushroom compost in a pine bark based potting mix. In conclusion, the veggies exceeded my expectations and I will use mushroom compost next year. The only question is how much considering I recycle potting mix and I have no idea how mushroom compost decomposes after one season.

That said, there are a ton of variables that could have led to the success of my veggies. I discovered spider mites early and was able to keep them from killing my plants like in previous years. I rearranged plants into buffer zones so disease couldn't spread as quickly. The weather was completely different this year too. In general, the plants grew much larger and I had practically zero BER on the tomatoes and I added no lime. So I'll try mushroom compost again next year as my only form of long term fertilization.

Just wanted to add this note here since I had the same question about mushroom compost and container veggies at the beginning of the season.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:13AM
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greentiger87

The "mushroom compost" they sell at Home depot.. isn't actually mushroom compost. At least not in my state, where they sell "Nature's Helper" brander. It's mostly composted forest products, manure, etc (it varies. It's very coarse really, with fine particles holding them together.

It's a great mulch or partially finished compost.. I use it as a topdressing sometimes. I can see how it would make a good component of potting soil. Just don't don't go into it thinking you'll get the specific benefits of true spent mushroom substrate (chitin content), because you won't.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 3:14PM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I looked at that Home Depot "mushroom compost" (purple bags) and thought it looked and felt like topsoil. The mushroom compost sold at Menards wasn't any better. I had to go to a nursery and bought the mushroom compost bagged by Town & Country out of Markham Illinois. It comes in brown and green bags and cost around $5/1.5 cu.ft. Just the feel of a handful you can tell it's good stuff. Too bad I didn't take a photo of it. Maybe I will next spring when all this madness starts anew. They have been selling this compost in the Chicago market for as long as I can remember. I've even seen it sold at Home Depot some years but not this year.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 8:57PM
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