There is no reason to be concerned if you find mushrooms or mold growing in your compost pile. Fungal growth, including mushrooms, yeast, and molds in your compost pile, is harmless.
The presence of fungi in the compost could mean that it contains a significant proportion of cellulose-based material. Fungi can speed up the decomposition process of organic materials.
Mushrooms have a high concentration of phosphorus, potassium, and copper, and they also include mycelium, which can degrade tough organic matter and enrich the soil.
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Are Mushrooms in My Compost Good or Bad?
Mushrooms in your compost are a good thing.
Every mushroom is a fungus, but not every fungus is a mushroom. Some types of fungi can produce mushrooms. These caps are analogous to flowers that develop on plants. Most fungal species that produce mushrooms are also key decomposers.
The organic materials are decomposing if you notice mold growing on your compost. So don’t be alarmed if you see mold growing on your compost; this indicates a healthy compost pile.
They are essentially turning the organic waste you have into nutrient-dense soil.
Why Are Mushrooms Growing in My Compost?
So, if you reside in a climate typically cool and humid location, or if it has recently rained heavily, you might find mushrooms growing in your compost pile or bin.
Some mushrooms have an extremely rapid growth rate and seem to arise out of nowhere.
However, the mushrooms you see are the fruiting bodies of a bigger fungus that is developing in your compost and aiding in the composting process of cellulose and other woody materials.
The following are the circumstances under which mushroom-producing fungi thrive:
- Temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 24 degrees Celsius)
- High humidity
- Indirect light
- Proper airflow
Although, optimal temperatures differ based on the mushroom species.
What Types of Mushrooms Grow in Compost?
Mushrooms come in a wide variety of species, each of which feeds on a particular organic material that has reached a specific stage of decay.
The mushrooms you find in your compost will depend on the organic material it contains and the stage it has reached in the decomposition process.
Oyster mushrooms and shiitake: Primary decomposers, including oyster mushrooms and shiitake, feed on freshly cut down or recently cut trees.
Wine cap Stropharia: The next group comprises organisms that break down trash, such as the wine cap Stropharia, which consume decaying leaf litter and wood chips as their food source.
Blewits: Next come the mushrooms, such as blewits, which grow on the decaying organic matter found in gardens and yards.
Portobello, Button, Cremini: Secondary decomposers are the microbes that flourish in compost that has already been created.
These include the portobello, button, and cremini mushrooms typically grown on Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS) compost made from gypsum, chicken manure, straw, or horse manure.
What to Do if You Notice Mushrooms in Your Compost?
We’ve confirmed the safety of these microorganisms in your compost. And they also have many practical applications.
If you see any sprouting in your compost, you can do one of two things:
1. Get Rid of the Mushrooms
There are a few different approaches you can take to stop the growth of wild mushrooms in the compost bin, including:
- Ensure that you have sufficient nitrogen-rich, organic materials, like food scraps or kitchen scraps, to counterbalance the carbon-rich branches and dry leaves the mushrooms consume.
- Turn the compost pile regularly. By doing so, you can destroy any mycelial networks in the compost.
- You can try vermicomposting and adding worms. The mycelium of the fungi is disrupted because of the worms’ continuous movement and burrowing, which prevents the fungi from producing fruit.
- Try hot composting. Keep temperatures between 141 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit (60 and 68 degrees Celsius). Since mushrooms cannot tolerate temperatures of this nature, they won’t be able to grow.
2. Compost the Mushrooms
Digging a hole at the center of your compost heap and using that space to add mushroom leftovers is the most effective approach to compost mushrooms.
To hasten the decomposition process, include additional “green” compost materials in your pile, like veggies or used coffee grounds.
Finally, bury them with yard waste so the unwanted vermin cannot discover them. When ready, you can add the compost to your garden soil.
3. Eat the Edible Mushrooms
You can use the edible mushrooms as an additional ingredient in your dishes.
Edible mushrooms include:
1. Wood Blewit
You can find these gorgeous edible mushrooms in various colors, including blue, pink, and lavender.
They like somewhat decomposed organic materials and rotting leaf litter.
Because of this inclination, they are ideal for growing in compost piles or garden beds with good soil amendment.
You can grow blewits on a wide range of half-composted organic materials, like yard waste, twigs, leaves, hay, or grass clippings.
They produce fruit in the fall, but you need to wait a whole year after planting blewit spawn in your compost pile before you see any results.
Wood blewits’ unique, earthy flavor and solid texture make them a welcome addition to sauteed butter or hearty stews.
2. Wine Cap Stropharia
These huge mushrooms are nutty and crisp.
They’re a good choice for first-time mushroom growers who’d like to start out in the wide outdoors because of how simple they are to cultivate.
Fast-growing and resistant litter decomposers, they can thrive on a wide variety of woody debris.
They are remarkable in that they can adapt to a wide variety of climatic conditions and can even tolerate some sun.
They boost crop production when employed in an adequately mulched vegetable garden.
Whether you’re looking for a tasty alternative to portobello or cremini mushrooms or want to try something new, wine cap mushrooms are a great ingredient.
3. Shaggy Ink Cap
Compost piles or soil that has been amended with manure are ideal environments for the growth of shaggy ink caps, also known as shaggy manes.
They thrive in active compost heaps but can’t make it through the higher temperatures.
Shaggy ink caps are best harvested and used when they are young, so monitor them because they start to auto-digest the moment you pluck them.
They taste great and are reminiscent of asparagus in flavor, but they spoil quickly, making them unsuitable for commercial mushroom growing.