Mushroom Compost or soil

Asked March 23, 2020, 2:31 PM EDT

1. Is mushroom compost or soil good for your garden? Certain places carry it mixed with topsoil. I want to place it in my raised beds and wondering if it is okay to use. 2. Is the leaf compost at the Eastern landfill in Baltimore County good to use in your vegetable garden? I noticed bits of plastic mixed in with it.

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

Hi- we have seen excellent results with mushroom compost mixed with native soil, used by itself in raised beds, or used as a compost/topsoil mix.

We don't have specific information about the compost made at the Eastern landfill in Baltimore Co. We suggest you ask them for the results of their compost test. Private and public operations that make any type of compost for sale will send samples to certified soil/compost testing labs. Short of that, you could try out some of the compost in containers and see how vegetable seeds germinate and grow in the compost. Unfortunately, macroplastics and microplastics are ubiquitous in the environment, including soil and compost. Although unsightly, very small amounts of plastic will not cause soil or plant problems.

Check out this compost directory for contact information for the Eastern landfill:

Thank you for the answer. My concern with the plastic is how does it affect the plant in terms of chemicals getting into the plants and you eating that plant? By using that compost would you be ingesting plastic chemicals that are being broken down and absorbed by the plant. For example, by putting the County leaf with plastic pieces compost around my lettuce, would the chemicals in the plastic get into the lettuce and therefore me when I eat it?

There is a lot of relatively new research about microplastics and aquatic organisms but not much is know at this point about the effects of microplastics and nanoplastics on soil organisms or plants.

This is a good research overview that addresses the questions around how plastics could affect plants:

Certainly, it makes sense that choosing the least contaminated compost would help reduce potential negative impacts from plastics on soil organisms and plants.