I'm getting sick of gardening solely in pots, so I think I might spend my tax return on finally doing raised beds... plus it's a good excuse to get into the yard and do some work so I can forget about my day job for a couple of hours :-)
I was wondering - out of all the "recipes" for filling a raised bed, is mushroom compost a good idea? I don't have much in the way of organic stuff to go in the beds, so I was thinking of getting a delivery of mushroom compost and maybe mixing it with a delivery of garden soil.
Is this a good or bad idea?
Check the pH of the mushroom compost - from reports it seems to vary and can be very alkaline. Better to get something about neutral to slightly acid so amending it later will be less of a hassle. Most of the usual plants we grow like that range exceptions are Blueberries and Strawberries and Potatoes.
Garden soil is stolen from somewhere else. I suggest a premium potting mix if you can get it delivered in bulk and shovel and barrow it yourself you'll get a lot more for your money than buying in bags. Plus the extra exercise ;-) Oh and check that pH too before you buy, either ask or better if you can take a meter or a pH test kit with you. If the landscaping supplier objects, go somewhere else. One of our forum members had pH 12 delivered and found it totally useless so a great waste of money, time and energy.
Once you get some mix into your beds you can bury each day's kitchen scraps to compost away. Then do a thick cover crop to lay a foundation of organic material. And make sure you can reach across your bed/s and not make them so wide you have to walk on them.
Same with Rudi, the bulk of the veggie beds I made at my parents' place were mushroom compost (bought 5 cubic metres as that's the minimum for delivery). You'll have to check the PH as Elaine suggested as it varies depending on your source. The problem I found is because it's all organic matters the volume of the beds shrink very quickly. We top them up regularly with more mushie composts, dirt from the chicken run, horse manure, home made compost, a bit of sand, mulch ... anything I can get my hands on really...
The garden beds at my parents place are going great guns with lots of worms and as long as the chooks leave them alone, things generally grow pretty well ;P unlike my place at the moment ...
I was shocked at just how much it took to fill my raised beds. I did the 'lasagne' layers, and really glad I did as I know have the yummiest 'soil' ever. I got most of the stuff I needed from Redcliffe Produce at Rothwell. Their prices are good.
Not sure exactly what order I did it, the recipe is:
sugar cane mulch (and see if you can get some really coarse stuff in a bale rather than the bags)
handfuls of blood and bone
(repeat the above so you have lots of small layers, rather than bulky ones)
Then the top layer is compost (you can buy it if you don't have any stuff yourself) which you plant into.
You won't be able to grow root veggies until it breaks down. But since we're coming up to summer anyway, your corn / tomatoes / cucumbers (etc) will love it. I promise. :)
I did a raised bed and got potting mix delivered and and on the advice of my father inlaw only layered it once or twice with sugar cane, big mistake! The potting mix I was assured was great for growing veggies in but it was sooo dense and full of cLay. I mucst admit I have been able to grow plenty, but it's taking a long time to get it where I want it, when I think if you do what TRacy and Elaine say you will have better luck of having something great straight off
Just wanted to add a few thoughts that haven't been mentioned based on my experiences.
Mushroom compost has a number of advantages:
However, there are also disadvantages to be aware of:
A few tips if working with the mushroom compost: