Mushroom Compost

Compost used to grow mushrooms commercially can be used again in your garden to make a wonderful fertilizer.
Much Room for Mushrooms

Much Room for Mushrooms

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mushroom compost is simply compost that has already been used to grow mushrooms. Commercial mushroom growers use varying mixtures of manure and straw to grow the varieties they want. The compost is inoculated with the desired fungus, spread across growing beds and kept cool and moist until harvest. As the fungi grow, they break down the manure and straw mixture. It may take about two months for the mushrooms to develop, depending on the variety. The result is a really beautiful, dark compost that works wonders in the garden.

Although Pennsylvania is one of the most popular locations for domestic mushroom producers, there are growers scattered around the country. Check with your local extension agent to find out if there are any mushroom growers in your area. Mushroom compost is famous among gardeners for its benefits to the landscape, which makes it a very hot commodity. 

Producers handle requests for mushroom compost in different ways, but nearly all accommodate gardeners’ requests in some fashion. Some mushroom growers will announce days that compost will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Others may have a sign-up list. Some producers may even have a side operation where they sell mushroom compost. Delivery isn’t usually an option if you get your compost directly from the producer, so you’ll need a truck or some other way to transport your mushroom compost home.

Bagged mushroom compost can be purchased from some nurseries, garden centers, co-ops and box stores. Bagged compost is cleaner to transport and also can be drier and less pungent than mushroom compost fresh from the producer.

If there isn’t a mushroom producer in your area and bagged mushroom compost isn’t available at the store, you can make a mock mushroom compost at home. Simply mix cow manure and straw. Eventually, naturally occurring fungi and bacteria will arrive on the scene to break down the ingredients. Keep moist and mix regularly until the pile cools down. Apply your mock mushroom compost to the garden or add to other compost products. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, consider using your homemade mixture to cultivate mushrooms at home. Growing mushrooms can be tricky, but there are kits and inoculants available to help with the process. After harvesting the mushrooms, you can harvest your very own mushroom compost to use in the garden.

Next Up

Kitchen Compost Bins

To turn your kitchen scraps into valuable compost, start with a handy kitchen compost pail.

The Benefits of Composting

Discover the many reasons that compost is good for you and your garden.

Types of Compost

When it comes to composting, there are many ways to make and use these natural fertilizers.

Garden Compost Barrels

Get advice for choosing and using a compost barrel for your garden.

Compost Bin Basics

Before you buy or build a compost bin, understand all the options in composters to make an informed decision.

Compost Worms

Learn more about your wiggling workers, including which worms are best for composting and what scraps make the best worm food.

Garden Compost Bins

Learn about the many options for wood or plastic compost bins that are easy to assemble and use in your garden.

Garden Compost Tumblers

Before you decide what sort of compost tumbler to buy, take a look at this expert advice.

What is Bokashi Composting?

Learn the technique of Bokashi composting and how you can try it at home.

Ericaceous (Acid-Loving) Compost

Learn how to make special compost that is suited to acid-loving, low pH plants, such as azaleas and blueberries.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.