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Are you trying to find out the best nutrient source for your soil? Using compost is an economical and convenient solution. However, have you used worm castings or mushroom compost before?

They increase mulch health and vegetable production. Both are highly beneficial and rich in nutrients, but what is the difference between the two, and which one is better for your soil?

Let's study the two in detail below so you can decide which is best for you.

What Are Worm Castings?

In simple words, worm castings refers to worm poop. It's also known as vermicast or compost. Gardeners use this worm excretion in soil because it is fairly high in nutrients.

The worm waste contains water-soluble minerals and bacteria that help avoid common pests. Worm manure and other waste can improve and aerate your soil owing to the organic matter present in it. In simple words, it works as an organic fertilizer and looks like coffee grounds.

Its excessive production of humus helps in the hydration of the soil and is highly beneficial for the growth of vegetable gardens, like tomatoes.

What Is Mushroom Compost?

As evident from the name, mushroom compost refers to growing mushrooms on a substrate.

Compost in itself means the decomposed form of humus. Since it's easy to make, you can create your own compost by adding a pile of waste materials into a worm bin, such as a mix of fruits, vegetable peels, grass, and more. The composting process is further assisted by worms, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

One of the most popular blends for mushroom compost includes gypsum, chicken manure, horse manure, cow manure, wheat straw, and grass. Thankfully, you can easily find mushroom compost bags in local stores.

Which Compost Is Better and Why?

Aeration

Vermicompost consists of organic materials and is relatively high in humus and nutrients, improving the ventilation and hydration of the garden soil.

Also, worm castings have a fine structure and require a minute space to reside in, unlike mushroom compost. You can also use a worm bin indoors if specifying the ground for compost outdoors sounds difficult.

Placement of the Compost

Vermicompost can be used indoors as well as outdoors depending upon the temperature of the area, and it gets done in relatively less time.

Whereas mushroom compost is better kept in outdoor mulch as it is rich in ammonia and takes time for the compost to settle in.

Bacteria

Worm castings are known to have mesophilic bacteria. This type of bacteria is grown at moderate temperatures. On the contrary, mushroom compost comprises thermophilic bacteria, meaning it needs extreme temperatures to survive, be it in hot compost or cold.

Sensitivity

Mushroom compost has an abundance of soluble salts, which helps in eliminating new seeds. However, it can negatively affect the life quality of salt-sensitive plants.

Differences Between Worm Castings and Mushroom Compost

Worm poop is different from mushroom compost in several aspects. This includes texture, nitrogen amount, preparation method, water holding capacity, composting, etc.

That being said, let's look at a couple of dissimilarities between the two composts and what they have to offer.

Preparation of Vermicompost

Making worm castings is relatively easy and requires less effort, especially if you're doing it for houseplants. The steps are as follows.

Worm Bin

Take a worm bin of medium depth. Shallow bins are preferred because of castings' robust odor.

Bedding

Once you have the bin, place a layer of mulch and damp newspaper, coconut coir or peat moss, or any other organic material as the bedding.

Components

Next, mix the components, i.e., cow manure, compost, and grass clippings. Put up another layer of good soil and the chosen worm bedding. Once everything is set, add food in the worm bin like leftovers, kitchen scraps, etc., and then add the worms, red ones are your best bet. That's it!

Preparation of Mushroom Compost

On the other hand, mushroom compost can require a bit of effort. The process is as follows.

Hot Composting Process

Ammonium nitrate acts as the main strength of the mushroom compost. The compost goes through a hot composting process for a minimum of fourteen days.

Components

For composting, mix up animal manure, soybean meal, peanut meal, crushed feathers, fibrous peat, cottonseed meal, and wheat straw.

Weed Seeds

Once the compost pile temperature reaches 71 degrees Celsius, the pile will be free of weed seeds and all types of harmful bacteria.

Time Period

Make sure you check and turn the compost every two days, so to keep the composting well aerated. Then add a second pile and let it age for at least a month. It will break down after some time, and your mushroom compost will be ready.

Bags

You could also use the mushroom bag compost for plant growth as they are more economical.

Harvesting

Vermicompost 

In a period of three to four months, your worm box would give out an entirely organic fertilizer in the shape of worm castings. Harvesting the castings is pretty simple. First, put out a sheet of plastic or aluminum foil and spread the compost mixture in the worm box onto the sheet. Separate the worms from the castings by making some soil amendments. Then, place the worms in a new box and store the leftover worm excretion for the plants in your vegetable garden.

Mushroom Compost

You can harvest mushroom compost as soon as its composting process concludes. Mushrooms could be an ideal material for composting, but they are subject to spores once they reach their maturing age. The spores are not harmful, but they can cause unnecessary production of mushrooms.

Heating the compost pile for mushrooms can be challenging, and people use mushroom spawn as an activator to grow mushrooms. As the bacteria in the pile decomposes the organic material, the mushroom spawn will assist the process as the compost activator.

Often, while breaking down the mushrooms, the spent mushroom compost might give out a new spawn that will carry out the activation process in the garden soil.

Conclusion

You can combine your mulch with mushroom compost or worm castings. Both will nurture your soil in the best way. They enrich plants with enough nutrients to keep plants healthy and increase their water-holding capacities.

Having vegetation at home is an excellent way to create an attractive environment as opposed to over decorating your home with unnecessary goods. So choose the one that makes your soil feel loved.  We are a little biased towards Simple Grow!

Grow Bigger Plants with Simple Grow

Do you wish your plants would grow bigger? Was your garden less than it should've been last year?

If you're tired of growing puny vegetables and fruits, it's time for an upgrade...Simple Grow Worm Castings!

What are worm castings? Another term for worm manure. Why would you want to use it in your garden, raised beds, and house plants? Because it makes them grow bigger, faster and healthier...with no chemicals!

How do worm castings do this? It's like giving your plants a powerful multivitamin with everything they need to grow. Trace minerals, nutrients, and most importantly...worm castings are chock full of beneficial microbes. Why does that make a difference?

In recent years, we've learned the importance of gut bacteria for humans and know that it impacts so many different parts of our health. The same thing applies with worms. Gut bacteria from the worm's digestive tract gets into the soil from the worm castings and promotes plant health. Plants have a symbiotic relationship with the microbes from the worm's digestive tract. Plants respond to it and grow really big...really fast!

If you've never tried worm castings before, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. Instead of using traditional chemical fertilizers from the big box store, why not try fresh, certified organic worm castings this year? You'll be able to grow bigger, healthier plants that you actually can feel good about eating. 

Take advantage of our special bundle sale on 25lb bags today!

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