The problems with Mushroom compost
Mushroom Compost good or bad?
Mushroom Compost is not truly compost; it true name is Mushroom Substrate. The name
Mushroom Compost began by mushroom growers that were having trouble dispossessing
of an agricultural waste product. People did not respond to free Mushroom Substrate
however, Mushroom Compost was easier for people to accept. Besides what is in a name
any way. A Rose would still smell as sweet if it was call something else. While there
is truth in the statement, it does not hold if the name change is to take advantage
of a good reputation to promote a bad product.
Homeowners that wanted to grow organic food and tried using Mushroom compost were disappointed with compost that did not live up to the idea of a natural organic producing growing medium. Mushroom Substrate was a medium for growing a certain variety Mushrooms for human consumption. The substrate had to be treaded in a manner to kill all other type of competing fungus and
The steps that go into making compost are very important. Good Compost like “Mother Nature’s Compost” is more than making a growing medium for plants or recycling plant material. Mother Nature’s Compost does make a great growing medium and it does recycle old plant material and other organics However, the main thing we concentrate on is making sure we have an environment that will support diverse beneficial Bacteria and fungal hyphae. For Compost to provide the correct environment, raw ingredients need mixing at the correct percentage along with water and air with close monitoring as the breakdown of organic matter is taking place. Compost piles must be monitored and turned to assure air and moisture are kept at the correct level; failure here and the compost pile will go anaerobic destroying beneficial microbes. Anaerobic conditions are correctable but damage has taken place damaging the future nutrient output.
In Mushroom Substrates, every grower seems to have there on formula of making their growing material. They are not interested in growing any crop but the Mushrooms they are preparing to grow in the substrate. They use the cheapest easiest to get ingredients that usually contain some source of animal manure as nitrogen source along with supplementing Urea or other source of nitrogen. Once they feel the substrate has decomposed to the right level, they will use some method of sterilizing the pile killing all
Microbial life and weed seed. Then they will inoculate the substrate with the species of Mushroom the grower wants to grow.
When the grower has utilized the substrate extracting all of the nutrients growing mushrooms and the production cost increase he will start over; removing all of the growing medium (Mushroom substrate) and sterilizing the grow house.They now have what they call Mushroom Compost for sale. The price can range from free to a few dollars a cubic yard the price based on the difficulties they have of getting rid of the waste product.
There is a use for Mushroom Substrate; it can be used to help build up sandy soils with organic matter; it can increase water holding capacity. However, you must be careful. I would not recommend ever using this for growing eatable crop of any type. The mushroom grower destroyed all of the soil diversity before he inoculated with his mushroom crop and unless you inoculate with beneficial microbial life, you will have a growing medium that will populate with harmful bacteria and fungus.
My suggestion is do not waste your time and money. Get a product that is made for you and your growing needs; not something already used up and no chance of producing a crop without greater expense.
Mushroom substrate can be re-composted by adding corrective items and with time you can get a good growing medium out of the substrate. The question is how much does it cost you to compost this into a good mix verses buying a Compost that you can start using immediately.
The idea behind manufacturing any compost is to make sure you have a good diversity of microbial life and good food source for future microbes to live on. I talk about Mushroom substrate but it holds with a lot of products on the market. Black Cow is sold in bags at locale box stores. The product has a lot of value but when used in a wrong manner it does not provide all of the benefits that it can. It can be a good source for microbes but being a single source of food it does not have the diversity to provide all the benefits plants need. When added with other organics it can be a natural source of nitrogen and other microbe stimulants. But, it takes other
Ingredients to make most products balanced to provide the environment for diverse soil food web.
That is what we have done with Mother Nature’s Compost we make sure it has the best environment for microbial life to live. Promoting beneficial microbes so the food soil web can expand and do what nature intended for it to do; Promote plant growth and plant health.