Mushroom Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Name: John Starkey
Shenandoah, PA
Question by thebigdog_pa
February 25, 2000
I just started a raised bed garden about a year ago. I used a 50/50 mix of soil and mushroom soil bought from my local dealer. I would like to know your thoughts on this type of mixture and what I might add to it to make it a decent soil.
I understand that the mushroom soil is probably weak in nutrients due to the mushrooms that were raised in it. Is a fertilizer (I use 10-10-10) enough to make the garden productive?
Is there anything else that you could suggest that would make it more productive?
Thanks for your help....

Answer from NGA
February 25, 2000


The very best advice I can give you is to run some basic soil tests and find out for sure about the existing soil mix; there is just no way to tell just by looking at it, and top soil and mushroom soil can vary widely in their composition and analysis. As a rule of thumb, the complete fertilizer should be fine to use although it may be over or undersupplying one or more of the nutrients -- the soil tests will indicate where you need to be supplementing and where you don't. It is a good idea to keep on "feeding" your soil by regularly adding more organic matter such as compost or rotted leaves or aged stable manure and bedding. Using a natural mulch will also feed the soil as it breaks down over time. If nothing else, you really should check the pH. The only other possible addition would be a bit of sand to assist with drainage, but this would depend on how well draining the existing mix is. Your County Extension (622-4225) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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