Harvesting plentiful red ripe tomatoes is a dream for most tomato growers. We never stop seeking the best methods to improve plant growth. If you’re a pro or a beginner in growing tomatoes, you will notice a lot of products in the market claiming to be of big help in achieving your goal, and among them is mushroom compost.
Is mushroom compost good for tomatoes? Well, let us see what it can offer.
What Exactly Is Mushroom Compost?
Mushroom compost is a combination of organic materials such as hay, peat moss, chicken manure, hulls, corn cobs, and others. It helps generate fungi that have an actual figure of a mushroom. It is not the real mushroom that others think to be the main ingredients.
Ingredients of mushroom compost vary from source to source. Each component is estimated and combined thoroughly to produce the desired output.
After mixing the ingredients, let the mushroom compost sit to heat up for about 30 days. The combination of ingredients provide an individual contribution to the product.
While the straw plays as the structure and food to the bacteria, the chicken manure, urea, and some other ingredients provide most of the nutrients.
The increased bacteria of combined ingredients drive the heat to rise to more than 160 degrees. The heated temperature can kill any weed seeds or any pathogens present in the straw or even in the domestic animal manure. This process makes the mushroom compost ready to use.
Mushroom compost adds nutrients and helps retain soil moisture. However, pure, undiluted mushroom compost can kill germinating seeds.
Young plants are salt sensitive, and to avoid killing germinating seeds, mixing mushroom compost with garden soil is highly recommended before use. You can also leave mushroom compost uncovered for several months before use.
“The soluble salts and other nutrients in fresh, undiluted mushroom compost are too concentrated for germinating seeds, young plants and other salt-sensitive plants including members of the heath family such as rhododendrons, blueberries, and azaleas,” OSU’s John Hart said.
Using mushroom compost as mulch around perennials and shrubs can be of big help to your plants. However, it requires care to apply.
Also, a cubic yard of mushroom compost can cover about 100 square feet of your garden about two inches deep.
10 Benefits of Mushroom Compost
Using mushroom compost provides a lot of benefits, and here are ten popular reasons why using them can be beneficial to you.
- Boosts tomato growth
Mushroom compost is proven to boost crops as it is popular in mushroom cultivation. It has an exceptional ability to hold water in the soil, and using the compost in your tomatoes helps the plants thrive well.
- Early-stage protection
Tomatoes are vulnerable to blossom end rot, especially if the level of calcium in the soil declines.
Mushroom compost is not only rich in calcium, but it can increase the alkaline content of the soil. Giving it in the early stage of your tomato plant will help protect your crop.
- Natural anti-fungal
Pests and pathogens in the soil is another issue growers have to deal with because these pesky nuisances can kill plants if not addressed promptly.
Tomato growers can use liquid compost, also known as mushroom compost tea, to protect tomato plants from various bacteria and diseases through the spray. It is one of the best natural anti-fungals to protect your plants against them.
- Feed plants
Does your hungry tomato plants demand its dinner? Either toss them some mushroom compost in your garden or lay as a mulch.
The nutrients are slowly released into the soil and become the food for your hungry tomatoes. In addition to that, it will stimulate beneficial microbes in the garden soil.
- Superior weed control
Tomato growers who are busy and have limited time to tender the garden do not need to deal with nutrient-stealing weeds. A thick layer of mushroom compost used as mulch is sufficient enough to block the light and suppress weeds.
Mushroom compost is proven to be beneficial to prevent weeds. Weeds are one of the constant struggles tomato growers have to deal with during the planting season.
- It does not smell bad
Yes, one of the significant components of mushroom compost is from domestic animal manure.
However, it does not emanate like pooh, as you think. It smells slightly musty, but it does not stink.
You can mix them with your bare hands in the container bag without throwing up, and that musty smell will slowly disappear once it’s in the garden.
- Exceptional soil amendment
Like other types of compost, mushroom compost can amend the soil and add nutrients to your plant’s needs.
It neutralizes acidic soil, while its alkaline content is beneficial for specific plants.
- Generate sufficient drainage
Root rot is a common cause of overwatering. Water-logging and root drowning happens if the soil is compacted with a lack of drainage.
Of course, tomato plants love moist, but well-drained soil. Mushroom compost can be of big help to provide what your plant soil needs. Mushroom compost can significantly improve clayey, compact, and chalky soil.
- Organic produce
Mushroom compost is the best friend of organic growers. You don’t need to worry about chemicals seeping into your tomatoes and are guaranteed to pick nutritious produce.
- The price
Mushroom compost is inexpensive compared to the price of traditional fertilizer.
You Should Not Use Mushroom Compost in These Plants
Acid loving plants are not keen on the alkaline qualities of mushroom compost. Tossing them around the garden can cause nutrient deficiency resulting in their yellow leaves.
Common Problems in Growing Tomatoes That Mushroom Compost Will Help With
Here are the most common problems your tomato plant can have that mushroom compost can address well.
Blossom End Rot
Lack of water causes dark spots at the end of your tomato plant. Many gardeners also call it blossom end rot.
The use of mushroom compost helps the plant hold sufficient water that your plant needs.
Lack of calcium in the soil can also contribute to soil dry-out, and the compost is an enormous help to address this problem.
Leaf mold causes yellow patches in the leaves and contributes to the loss of tomato plant fruits.
Aside from picking a variety that is naturally mold resistant to counter this problem, keep your area well ventilated. This is particular with growers in greenhouses.
Another way to address this problem is by the use of mushroom compost as mulch. It will help kill the pathogens in the soil and help the plant resist mold.
Tomato blight is a bane to most growers. There are varieties of tomatoes that are resistant to tomato blight.
However, some tasty and sweet varieties of tomatoes is susceptible to this problem. It causes the fruit and leaves of the plant to rot prematurely. Tomato blight has become one of the most common problems for tomato growers, particularly in regions with wet climates.
Spraying liquid mushroom compost is an excellent aid for this.
Is Mushroom Compost Good For Tomatoes?
Yes, as we’ve learned, your tomatoes are better off with the use of mushroom compost. Just remember to use the right amount along with proper directions to take advantage of its optimum benefits.
The increase in calcium that mushroom compost can bring lessens the risks of blossom end rot that reduces tomatoes fruit production.
Besides, mushroom compost holds the soil water well, and tomatoes love to grow in moisture-rich soil.
By spraying mushroom compost tea into the plants, it will help protect your tomatoes from diseases like leaf mold and other pathogens.
Will Mushroom Compost Burn My Plants?
Plants that are sensitive to alkaline and newly germinate seedlings are at risk of burning with a high level of salt in mushroom compost.
Professional gardeners always advise to mix mushroom compost with garden soil equally to avoid plant damage.
To reduce the risk of burning, other gardeners leave the compost sitting for several months in an open area before use.
Final Thoughts On Using Mushroom Compost For Tomatoes
Mushroom compost without a doubt can bring lots of benefits into your tomato garden. It is a smart choice to amend soil naturally.
So why not experience plentiful tomato produce with the help of mushroom compost?
I hope this guide helps you grow healthy tomatoes with the use of mushroom compost and you can then prepare tasty salads, sauce, and many other dishes.
Any questions in mind? Feel free to write them down in the comment section below.