A very important part when gardening is making sure that your soil is ready for planting. Growing a vegetable garden requires different soil requirements than growing flowers or plants. It has to be filled with more nutrients and to do that you need to add a top-quality compost. With the right compost, your vegetable garden will produce the most delicious and nutritious harvest!
What Exactly is Compost?
Compost is a kind of material that encourages plant or vegetable growth when added to soil. These are some of the benefits of adding compost to your soil:
- It adds nutrients
- Preserves moisture
- Suppresses plant/vegetable pests
- Promotes beneficial bacteria and fungi
There are many types of compost that have different bases, such as: various types of poops (chicken, cow, fish), crustacean shells, natural peat etc. Not all compost is right for vegetable gardens.
It is important that you test your soil before choosing the type of compost that will be added. This is because some vegetables respond better to alkaline soils (carrots, cucumbers) versus acidic soils (potatoes).
Several inches of compost should be added to your garden soil in the fall and handfuls should be added into each hole that is dug for vegetable seeds.
Once the vegetables start to grow, more compost can be added along the base of each plant.
Types of Bagged Compost
As stated above, there are different types of compost made from various bases for different gardens and/or plants, but our focus will be those good for vegetable gardens.
- Multi-Purpose Compost – As the name indicates, this compost can be used in several areas of your garden, like beds, borders, hanging baskets and pots. This type of compost comes in a variety of nutrient filled blends.
- Organic Compost – This type of compost is considered the best for vegetable gardens. It is made from a mixture of materials like compost bark, wood fibers and naturally occurring nutrients. The best quality organic compost will not have any herbicides or pesticides. Green manure – a compost made through mulching, plowing and mixing crops with soil adds organic matter and nitrogen to the soil. It does not have the same risks as animal manure (pathogens).
- Peat Moss Compost – Can be found in several variations. The base is peat with other ingredients such as fertilizer, grit and/or sand. There is also peat-free compost.
Why Purchase Store Bought Compost?
If you have the time and an in-depth knowledge of gardening, then making your own variations of compost should be a snap.
However, if you are new to gardening, especially a vegetable garden, then buying bagged compost that guarantees results and is specifically made by experts, is the way to go.
You can find bagged compost practically everywhere, even your grocery store. If you are looking for larger quantities you can try your local garden centers, garden/hardware supply stores, mulching suppliers, even places on the internet, like Amazon.
Buying bagged compost is just easier because it saves you time, effort and money. Top-quality organic compost should run no more than $50.
However, you still need to purchase the right type of compost with the right type of materials and nutrients. You want a vegetable garden that is thriving. So, let’s do some research.
What are Some of the Best Compost for Vegetable Gardens?
Here are some of the most popular bagged composts recommended for use on a vegetable garden. Check with your local garden center/nursery to see if they carry them and if not, don’t forget to go on-line.
- Malibu Compost Bu’s Blend Biodynamic Compost – This is one of the most popular blends that is great for vegetable gardens. This compost is Demeter-certified or has the highest agricultural standard, with quality ingredients that are slow released. So, it not only nourishes your vegetables, but repairs the soil’s ecosystem and saves water.
- Natural Choice Compost – This compost is 100% organic, is certified by OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) and OIM (Organic Input Materials), great for vegetable gardens and can be used indoors and outdoors. There are no manure and/or toxic/synthetic materials in this product.
- Black Gold Garden Compost – This compost is a high-quality, all organic, all-natural blend great for nourishing vegetable gardens.
- Blue Ribbon Organics – This compost top-rated, certified by the OMRI, known for its nutrients and disease-resistant vegetable yields. There is no odor or toxins, only natural ingredients.
- Worm Castings Soil Builder by Brut Worm Farms – This compost contains high-quality earthworm casting, is non-toxic and odor free, is great for vegetables because it provides excellent nutrients and long-term nourishment to the soil.
- Garden Magic Compost by Michigan Peat – This compost is great for vegetable gardens. It is an all-natural blend of peat that is odor free. It is made of 90% organic matter and has 65% water holding capacity.
- Hoffman Organic Compost – Is a chemical free, organic compost that not only adds nutrients to your soil but improves the soil structure. It is great for growing organic vegetables.
As stated above, there are some concerns regarding the use of manure in compost that are used for vegetable gardens, mostly due to the possibility of pathogens which can cause illnesses. Here are a few exceptions of bagged composts that contain manure but are considered safe for vegetable gardens.
- Black Kow – This compost has all the nutrients that vegetable gardens need and is made from all organic materials, including manure. It is known for retaining moisture in cases of extreme sandy soils and helps with aeration for clay-based soils.
- Charlie’s Compost – This certified organic compost is all natural, safe and great for vegetable gardens. It is made from local, vegetarian and antibiotic free chicken manure that increases soil structure and encourages water preservation.
Which is the Best Compost?
Composting is essential for a thriving vegetable garden. The right type of compost enriches your soil, retains moisture, prevents diseases and can even ward off pests. Which one is the best for you? The answer is ultimately yours to make.
We have provided some options of bagged composts, which helps save time and takes away some of the guesswork. However, there are several other options, so visit your local garden center, speak to someone at a nursery, do your research, then watch and enjoy your vegetable garden as it grows!