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too alkaline?

Posted by little_digger NSW, Australia (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 1, 06 at 3:50

I have been using bags of mushroom compost, bought from a nursery, as an organic additive to my soil. Someone told me it may make the soil too alkaline. I also add homemade compost, cow manure and chicken manure, as well as sugar cane mulch and well-rotted woodchips. What do you all think?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: too alkaline?

HI Little Digger ....Well that someone was right but..... Mushroom compost we bought from the mushroom farm was just passed 9 when I did a PH on it and another time I bought a bag from one of the big named stores and I reckon it was full of old potting mix..but I did not think to take a reading, but I do know it did nothing for the soil..

Nothing wrong with home made compost though why dont you buy yourself a PH Test kit then you can test all your soil and you wont have any problems..I myself now prefer not to use Mushroom compost even though we used to let it mature for months before we used it..I am more for the H.M.Compost and cow manure and chicken manure in moderation well aged mind you everyone has different idea's and all soils are different.. You do what you think is right and if your plants are coming along fine well you have done the right thing....Cheers..MM.

RE: too alkaline?

Thanks, Misty. I think I will buy myself a pH testing kit ... one of those things you think about but then put off. Re compost, when repotting plants, is it OK to add the old, depleted potting mix to the compost heap?

RE: too alkaline?

It really comes down towhat you are trying to grow. Mucxh of my time is spent here, trying to increase the pH, so mushroom compost is excellent for my needs. If you are trying to grow azaleas or natives, then you have a problem. It also depends where you live - what your soil is like to start with. Here it is fairly acidic and heavy, so the mushroom compost increases the pH and adds humus.
9 is way too high a pH for most plants though.
I must say we had a lovely feed of mushrooms out of our new soil last year. We were eating mushrooms on toast twice a week all through winter and Spring. Yum!
I would never add straight chicken manure to my garden either as a mulch or dug in. It is way too hot, even if it has sat for some time. It would be good mixed into a compost heap and allowed to sit. Cow manure is a favourite of mine, because rumenants destroy most grass seeds during the fermentation process, so you don't get much weed growth from it, unless it has sat in a heap and had seeds blown in to it.
tell us what plants you are trying to grow for more useful assistance :-)
Cheers, Jan

RE: too alkaline?

The pH of mushroom compost always tends towards the high side, but to varying degrees. Misty is right, you need a pH testing kit.

RE: too alkaline?

Thanks Jan. As for veg: lettuce, rocket, silver beet, tomatoes, beans, capsicums, zucchini, cukes. Ornamentals include roses, perennials, several camellias, gardenias. No natives or azaleas. The soil is quite heavy clay, although in cultivated areas it has been much improved.

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