5 Best Bagged Compost for Garden Soil–[Reviews & Buying Guide]

Last Updated on August 8, 2021 by masudalam

It is true that you must meet certain conditions before vegetables, plants, and flowers can grow well. These essential conditions must be provided in adequate proportion for the growth of plants, shrubs, and other things you might want to grow in your garden.

A deficiency of any of the essential nutrients on your plant might result in stunted growth. If you’re a commercial farmer, that might lead to a gross loss. Since you wouldn’t want that to happen to you, there’s a need for you to embrace the idea of Compost.

As you’re reading this, several questions might be popping up in your mind as like-

  • You might want to know the characteristics of quality organic compost, so that you don’t just buy anyone you see in the market.
  • You might also want to know the types that are readily available and cheap.
  • Asides these you might be asking yourself why you need bagged organic compost for your vegetable garden.

If any of these is bothering your mind at the moment, you have definitely found yourself on the right page.

This article will provide answers to all your questions and satisfy your curiosity. It will also widen your knowledge about farming and compost. Luckily enough, we have put together a list of the best bagged compost for vegetable garden.

1. Charlie’s Compost

Charlie’s compost is a natural soil amendment and fertilizer made in a poultry farm in Calhoun, KY. The producers of this organic manure recycle it from their chicks along with other locally-sourced organic matter on site. In the course of 8 to 10 weeks, beneficial microbes that occur naturally transform the natural products into a complex mix of plant available nutrients which build up the soil for long-term performance.

A Product of Chicken Manure

As the name would suggest, a lot of individualistic handling has gone into the making of this particular compost. The said personal touch comes from the fact that the compost comes from locally-sourced organic matter. Additionally, the time and effort that goes into this process are what make this particular brand break into this list. After eight to ten weeks of the organic matter being collected, the natural product is transformed into a panacea of sorts, one that can solve all your garden problems and then some.

Charlie’s Compost

Why We Love This Product

All the nutrients you would want for your garden are incorporated into the compost. Made from the most excellent inputs, which include chicken manure, organic grasses, and biochar, you can rest assure that you will be getting a product at the perfection when it comes to compost products. All the ingredients used in the compost’s making are organic and natural, meaning that you will not have to worry about whether it is safe for your cultivation. Consequently, this makes Charlie’s compost the best compost for vegetable garden.

PROSCONS
  • Locally produced from chicken manure
  • Easy to apply
  • Odor Free
  • Dry products
  • May burn plants if you apply too much of it.
  • Its price is a bit high.

2. Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer, Wiggle Worm Soil Builder

This is an all-purpose natural fertilizer that is derived from nature without any alterations. It features pure earthworm castings. The earthworms are fed a rich organic material, containing a wide range or trace elements and minerals. They digest the material in its passage through the worm. The material is beneficially altered both physically and chemically, bringing about an organic fertilizer that is extremely fertile.

Excellent for:

-Houseplants
-Vegetables
-Flowers

This fertilizer mimics what is found in super healthy soil. Many earthworms are a sign that the soil is excellent and worm castings are the result of worms producing fertile, new soil with natural fertilizer. It is suitable for both outdoor and indoor plants. You need not worry about animal manure because earthworms are already in your garden and around plants enriching the soil. Wiggle Worm offers an additional boost of the result of this process directly to the root area of the plants you pack it around.

Why We Love This Product

With Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer, Wiggle Worm Soil Builder, you can be assured that all the nutrients essential for your garden are delivered. Not only that, but the soil in your garden will also become more aerated, and its structure will improve immensely. These are just some of the perks of using this product as the primary component of the compost.

The manure is very effective in repelling pests such as aphids and spider mites away. Consequently, the likelihood of you encountering pests eating up the plants in your garden is hugely reduced.

Besides, the way the compost has been collected and processed makes it possible to add it to the soil both before and after you plant. You don’t run the risks of burning your plants, as is the case with other fertilizers and compost manures.

Its cost-effectiveness is also another huge plus. By adding a small amount of the organic fertilizer, you can see massive improvements in your soil and in the productivity of the plants you’ve planted. All these factors make Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer and Wiggle Worm Soil Builder one of the best organic composts for a vegetable garden.

PROSCONS
  • Suitable for outdoor and indoor plants
  • Odorless
  • Non-Toxic
  • Organic and eco-friendly
  • It can attract gnats in rare cases

3. Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter

Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter is an organic compost made from a mixture of bone meal, feather meal, composted poultry, and some manure. It is regarded as a utility type of compost because of the numerous benefits it has for your soil and plants, and also the roles it plays in making sure that nutrients are not only available but also easily absorbable.

This product is OMRI Listed for Organic Use.

This is referred to as a starter because it helps in breaking down complex molecules in compost material into smaller nutrients. It does this using a triumvirate of microorganisms; bacteria, fungi, and a certain species of Archaea. As a result, this makes it easy for the plants to absorb the aforementioned nutrients.

Why We Love This Product

This organic compost is best for vegetable gardens because it breaks down compost materials. It also increases the activity of microorganisms which improves the health of soils. This product comes with billions of beneficial microorganisms, Archaea that decays organic materials aggressively for faster, more abundant results.

PROSCONS
  • Delivers fast results
  • OMRI listed
  • No artificial chemicals
  • Can be safely used for organic gardening
  • The odor is a little bit too strong

4. Dr. Earth 803 Compost

Dr. Earth 803 Compost is an organic compost produced by Dr. Earth, an organic company that concentrates on using safe, and natural nutrient compounds for fertilizer, soil and pest control needs. You can apply it to a myriad of plants and trees, and the results will be the same; improved productivity not only for the plants but also for the soil. Flowers, vegetables, and even lawns all benefit from this compost. You can use Dr. Earth 803 Compost in many places, and in each one of them, you can expect to get the full results.

This ability to fit into any landscape and improve its productivity can be attributed to the supplements used in making this particular product. Cold-water kelp meal, valley grown alfalfa meal, green-fed earthworm castings, and a wide array of other products make it possible to provide the soil, and subsequently the plants, with the nutrients they so desperately need.

Why We Love This Product

Apart from increasing the nutrients in the soil, it also works wonders in aerating the soil. You can also use it to break up clay soil that is too close together. Additionally, it is one hundred percent organic, so you do not have to be worried about the chemicals that come with artificial fertilizers. It is because of all these factors that Dr. Earth 803 Compost is considered one of the best bagged compost for the vegetable garden.

PROSCONS
  • All natural and organic
  • All Purpose Compost
  • Slow release formula which works quickly and lasts for months
  • Safe for children and pets
  • It is not that easy to find in stores
  • There might be a slight delay before you see results

5. Blue Ribbon Organic Compost

Blue Ribbon Organic Compost is a nutrient rich and odorless food source for vegetable gardens. This compost is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certified and it consists of composted vegetables, grass clippings, and other natural fertilizers to provide your plants with a healthy boost. It can make your plants strong, vibrant and healthy.

Blue Ribbon is consists of natural ingredients, which are fully composted in a DNR-licensed facility. The compost does not burn and you can use it at any concentration. You may add worm castings of other natural fertilizers to provide your plants with a healthy boost. Its organic and unique content makes it compatible with other necessary ingredients.

Made from grass clippings, composted vegetables, and other ingredients, this particular compost covers a broad spectrum of the issues you might have experienced in your garden. Couple this with the fact that all the products are fully composted in a DNR-licensed facility, you get a top-tier bagged compost product with a plethora of benefits and upsides.

Why We Love This Product

The consequence of this is that you get a product that is an effective source of nutrients for your plants, irrespective of whether they are flowers, shrubs, or even grass. It makes the said plants strong and healthy, while also making them vibrant and disease-resistant. To top this all off, you are assured of increased yields from your plants. The fact that you can use any concentration of the product without your plants facing any burning places Blue Ribbon Organic Compost as the paragon of the best organic compost for a vegetable garden.

PROSCONS
  • Improves the structure of the soil
  • OMRI certified
  • Water retention
  • Compatible with any soil builder
  • Safe to use in any proportion
  • A little bit costly

Need of compost to improve soil Health/Better Garden

Compost is best used as much for soil quality improvement in order to help the growth of plants. Sometimes, compost is prepared from food scraps and yard waste. Let’s highlight some of the benefits of using composts in your vegetable gardens.

  • Compost helps to reduce landfill waste: In some households, food scraps are usually unavoidable. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), once estimated that 25% of landfill wastes could have been used as compost to increase soil fertility and subsequently yield a bountiful harvest.
  • Helps to introduce essential organisms to the soil: Fungi and bacteria are essential micro-organisms that help in decomposing organic materials. These micro-organisms are very essential for the health of the soil because they aid aeration. Soil aeration is a vital aspect of the composting process. Also, bacteria aid in converting nitrogen found in the soil to a usable form. In addition, bacteria help to repel certain diseases from attacking plants.
  • Compost aids garden pest control: Some of the micro-nutrients found in compost work the same way as pesticides. Hence, compost is a better replacement for harmful chemical pesticides that are liable to destroy your crops.
  • It improves soil structure: By composting your farmland, you tend to improve the soil structure of your farm. This also allows plant roots to expand and access micro and macro-nutrients in the immediate environment.
  • Compost enriches the soil: The number of nutrients have been increased by composting your farmland/garden. This will definitely lead to the improvement of soil quality. When you add compost to your garden, the plants will definitely thrive.
  • Aids soil neutrality: One of the best ways to neutralize alkaline or acidic soil is to compost such farmland. If your garden is too basic or too acidic, it will affect plant growth.
  • Compost aids improvement of air quality: Some people do not get rid of their yard waste by dumping. Instead, they gather the wastes together and burn them. Little do they know that when yard wastes are set on fire, they can release toxic chemicals that are in bug sprays, fertilizers, and weed killers into the air. This would lead to air pollution and will affect the plants. One additional advantage of using compost is that it doesn’t pollute the air and it’s highly effective.
  • Compost aids clean-up of contaminated soil: EPA has proven that composting helps to absorb odors. In a few cases, the composting process has led to a noticeable decrease in hydrocarbons, pesticides, and wood preservatives that may be found in the soil.
  • It reduces green-house gas emissions: It is widely known that landfills have been one of the major contributors to greenhouse (methane) gases. However, if you add composts to the organic portion of the land, there will be a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases emission.
  • Reduces erosion: When compost is added to the soil, the soil can hold water better. This will then help in preventing erosion from washing away the topsoil.

Types of Compost

There are three basic types of compost. They are Vermicomposting, Farmyard manure, and Green Manure.

Vermicomposting:

The concept of vermicomposting involves the degradation of organic wastes by earthworms, moisture, and oxygen. The basic function of the earthworm is to aerate, crush, and mix the organic materials in the soil. In other words, earthworm can be described as a de-grader and agent of decomposition. So far, Vermicomposting is one of the most suitable techniques for recycling animal wastes, agricultural industry wastes, and residues of crops. Vermicomposting can be made from different animal manures, organic wastes, and poultry wastes.

Farmyard Manure (FYM):

Farmyard manure is a mixture of cattle excreta, litter, urine, and other leftover organic materials such as fodder and roughage. FYM is one of the most common manures because it is cheap. When you go to the cattle farm, these wastes are there. You can even store these wastes in a pit for it to decompose. FYM contains phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. One of the numerous advantages of using the FYM is that it helps to replenish lost soil nutrients. They also aid in adding humus (a kind of organic matter) to the soil. Humus basically helps to improve soil texture for better water retention.

Related Article: How to Prepare Soil for Vegetable Gardening?

Green Manure:

Green manure is not really different from the types of compost you’ve read or probably heard about. Green manure involves growing and mulching by the use of plow to mix green crops with soil so as to improve the structure and fertility of the soil.

You might be wondering what these plants really have to do or add to the soil. The answer is not farfetched; they add essential nutrients to the soil. Some of the nutrients added to the soil through this method of composting are nitrogen and phosphorus. Green manure may include the mixing together of leguminous and non-leguminous plants to aid soil fertility.

Another special type of Compost is Mushroom Compost.

Mushroom Compost:

Mushroom compost is a type of organic plant fertilizer made by mushroom growers. Some of the constituent elements of mushroom compost are; hay, poultry manure, straw, hulls, etc. The process of growing this compost differs from one grower to another. Some growers add gypsum, lime, peat moss, and some other organic contents to further increase its potential. Mushroom compost contains nutrients that regulate the pH of the soil. They are best used to plant vegetables because veggies only thrive on lands where the pH is alkaline, and NOT acidic.

Characteristics of Quality Compost/Identifying Quality Compost

It is not always easy to select the best and quality compost in the market especially if you have little or no knowledge about compost. This is because the market is filled with a conglomerate of fake and original products nowadays. However, you can easily identify the best organic compost for your vegetable garden if you know the certain physical characteristics they must possess:

  1. Good compost must have been sieved through a mesh sieve to get rid of unwanted particles
  2. Good compost is humic.
  3. It is usually dark brown in color.
  4. Good compost must meet the PAS 100 standard.
  5. The percentage ratio of Carbon to Nitrogen has been calculated and specified on the bag.
  6. It contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in the right formulation.
  7. Good compost is not acrid or putrid but smells earthy.
  8. It is not possible to distinguish the constituent matters i.e you can’t say which bit is banana peel or peat.
  9. Mercury and other potentially toxic elements are reduced to the barest minimum.
  10. It is usually fine and contains no stone or any traceable matter.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs) about Best Bagged Compost for Vegetable Garden.

1. Is multi-purpose compost suitable for vegetables?

Simply put, the answer is “Yes”.

You can always use a multi-purpose compost to grow your vegetables irrespective of the type.

However, for the best result, I would advise you to use composts for targeted purposes for your vegetable garden.

From the name “multi-purpose compost”, it means a compost that can serve many purpose. Therefore, a multi-purpose compost is one that you can use for a variety of plants and still achieve a desirable result. We have several types of gardens, although the type of vegetable that is planted on each garden makes it unique. For example, we have the butterfly garden where only flowers that attract butterflies are planted, we also have the vegetable garden where edible plants are grown, and so on.

However, you might be wondering if you can use a multi-purpose compost on any of your vegetables irrespective of the garden it is being grown.

2. Should I mix topsoil with compost?

There has been a lot of advice regarding composting and farming over the years. But what about mixing topsoil with compost? Is it effective? Don’t worry, I will be discussing this extensively.

The topsoil is the topmost layer of the soil where you can see the visible part of the plant. Compost has many nutrients and organic matters when compared to the topsoil. However, topsoil also has numerous benefits especially when it is mixed with compost. If your farmland is shallow, there will be a need to use topsoil to augment the insufficiency. Besides, good topsoil must be able to retain water. This makes it very useful for general farming.

If you are concerned about the growth of your vegetables, and also want to make some potting compost, a mixture of topsoil and compost is the best choice. When you mix the two together, they tend to hold more water than using either of the two.

Topsoil is available in different types. There’s the ‘screened‘ topsoil which has been well treated. In fact, any additional matter such as small stones would have been completely removed to aid proper growth. These small stones are capable of distorting plant growth. There’s also the ‘value‘ topsoil. Although this topsoil retains some debris, but still a great option for growing plants, especially vegetables.

3. When should I add compost to my vegetable garden?

Composts have the basic nutrients that are needed for plant growth. They can be added to the garden beds you just planted and to those you have not planted.

Bagged compost is usually a go-to option for most farmers in urban settlements. This is because it’s readily available and very easy to use. For bagged compost, the application is slightly different from the regular compost.

In early spring, add about 1-2 inches thick portion of compost in layers. Just dig the garden lightly with a rake and apply the compost. Allow the compost to sit there for about 10 days before you start planting. However, if you’re using a homemade compost or the compost has traces of fibrous and green matters, use these options only in autumn.

4. What is the best ratio of compost to the soil?

The soil-compost ratio has long been a topic of discussion in agriculture. Many farmers are desperate about improving their soil quality to yield a bountiful harvest. So, they use every available resource to buy bagged compost and use for their farmland without adequate knowledge. Buying the best compost for vegetable garden in the market is not enough to yield a bountiful harvest. If you don’t know the right proportion of compost to add to your soil, you’d be doing your plants more harm than good.

Another factor that plays a vital role in determining your harvest is the type of soil. If your soil has more clay, it’s safe to use perlite in place of sand to reduce the density of the soil. If, however, your soil is much of sand than loam, then mix one part of the soil with two parts of bagged compost. That adds the essential nutrients needed for the soil to thrive.

If there’s no garden soil available, you can as well mix an equal amount of topsoil and compost together to get started.

5. Can too much compost hurt plants?

There’s a popular saying that “too much if everything is not good“. Adding excess compost to your garden would definitely hurt your soil and plant. Most especially, manure compost.

Although, we can’t shy away from the fact that compost adds more nutrients to the soil. You should know that the amount of nutrients you are adding to the soil depends on the type of compost you are using and your mode of application.

If you’re using compost made from plant materials, the nitrogen level is about 7 times the amount of phosphorus present. And that is exactly what your plant needs to grow.

However, commercial compost and manure compost have a 1:1 ratio composition of phosphorus to nitrogen. In such cases, when all of the nitrogen has been used up by the plants, there will still be a sufficient amount of phosphorus in the soil.

6. Is mushroom compost good for vegetables?

Every plant has a particular place where they thrive best. For instance, Broccoli may not survive where rice will grow well. Simply put, the pH of the soil has a lot of influence on plant growth. If you’re considering making a vegetable garden, you must observe the garden and ensure the soil has all the nutrients needed for the growth of your vegetables.

For vegetable to grow well, it must be planted where the soil is mostly alkaline. If however, the soil is slightly acidic or not alkaline enough, that’s when mushrooms come to play. Mushroom composts help in improving the alkalinity of the soil.

Mushroom is arguably one of the cheapest ways to mulch and increase the alkalinity of the soil for planting vegetables. Also, mushrooms are readily available in local farms, garden centers, and places where they are selling agricultural materials.

Conclusion

Selecting the best bagged compost for vegetable garden is essential for healthy growth of your plants. The right compost can boost plant growth. The organic composts mentioned above can ensure healthy growth of vegetables year-round.

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