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Best Compost for Garden: Ultimate Guide 2024

Amend your soil with the best available compost that aids in improving the aeration and water retention capacity of your garden grounds.

Generally, compost is an organic fertilizer prepared from animal or plant waste to provide optimum nutrients to your plant. Several homemade and commercially packed compost is best for your garden, including vermicompost, mushroom compost, and manure.

The list of best compost does not end here, as there are many to choose from. So look at the recommended compost in the article.

How Do I Choose The Best Compost?

An alternative to synthetic fertilizer is garden compost which is full of organic matter and has low to no damage to the soil.

However, you cannot put too much compost in a garden as it increases the soil’s acidity and can kill beneficial microbes. Also, it increases the risk of water pollution.

So use it optimally to get these slow releasers to provide your plant with the required nutrients.

First, to choose the best compost, look for its composition material. The compost is good if it contains all plant material without chemical indulgence.

Secondly, the compost should be lighter in weight and completely matured with a fine texture.

Lastly, look at the purpose of the compost, as some suit young potted plants by being gentler. Some promotes established plants, while some are special for specific plants only.

Best Natural Compost For Garden

Natural composts are mostly kitchen scraps, including coffee grounds, uneaten leftovers, fruit cores, peelings, and eggshells.

All you need is a bit of patience to turn your household scraps into compost. This will eventually be the best homemade compost for a vegetable garden or potted plant.

1. Leaves and Yard Trimmings

Leaves and yard trimmings are one convenient and inexpensive composting method that can be the best compost from garden waste.

To prepare compost, put them in a compost bin or piles. Cover with plastic, soil, or a container lid and dig into the pile.

In 6 to 12 months, your compost will be ready. You can obtain faster results using a compost tumbler.

And the best part is you can use leaves and yard trimming as compost or mulch.

2. Manure

Animal manure might stink, but it is regarded as ‘black gold’ with the highest nitrogen level for vegetables.

However, avoid fresh manure in the garden as it burns the root and damages the entire crop.

Prepare it for composting using three different medium-sized (3 by 3) bins. Fill the first with oxygen-trapping material like straw, wooden chips, and grass.

Use the first bin to collect fresh manure, the second to finalize the process, and the third to spread.

Cover the pile and wait for your compost to be ready. But keep turning your compost pile every few weeks.

Wastes like grease, meat and fish scraps, and dairy products are the 3 things you should not compost. This is due to the risk of pathogen spread and attracting rodents to the garden.

3. Mushroom

Mushrooms are the most advantageous organic substances to add to your vegetable or flower garden.

Mushroom composts promote water retention and are richer in nitrogen than leaf composts. However, they are not suitable for germinating seeds and salt-sensitive plants.

You can mix the mushroom compost adequately with garden soils for ideal results.

4. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds contain 2% nitrogen and are an excellent plant nitrogen source.

This compost is best for acid-loving plants like blueberries, roses, and tomatoes.

You can add 1/3 of coffee grounds to your regular compost pile. Ensure adding an equal amount of carbon sources like ground pieces of paper or dry leaves.

5. Banana Peels

Banana peels are another easily compostable material. You can throw your leftover banana peels into the compost pile as a whole or chopped.

However, the process completes faster when the peels are chopped. You need to aerate the compost well and turn the pile frequently.

Specifically rich in potassium, banana peels make composts best for potassium-loving plants such as roses.

Also, banana peels add sulfur, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphates with carbon and nitrogen to the compost.

You can take the best out of banana peels by burying them in the backyard with roses and letting them compost naturally.

6. Egg Shells

Eggshells are a rich source of calcium that can be crumbled down to maintain soil calcium levels and reduce the soil’s acidity.

However, be careful of composting the rotten eggs since the smell can attract rats and other scavengers.

Start by washing the eggshells, baking them in a preheated oven at 200ºF, and crushing them in a blender. Lastly, mix them with the regular compost pile.

You can also use the eggshell powder directly to the plant and water to blend it thoroughly.

Best Way To Make Compost For Garden

Natural compost needs help from your side to give out its best, as some cannot be used in their original form.

So look at the golden steps to prepare compost at home.

  • Choose your location: Select a convenient location receiving full sun for open pile composting. Or else you can choose a compost bin to use.
  • Alternate layers: Layer the innermost surface with twigs, followed by leaves. Then, create an alternate layer of carbon and nitrogen-rich materials.
  • Collect the compostable items: Keep all the kitchen scraps in a place to transfer them into the bin or pile later. Ensure carbon-rich materials are more to boost the decay process.
  • Add layers: Continue filling the bin with the waste as the contents keep shrinking when decomposition is processed.
  • Cover the bin: Use a bin lid, soil, or plastic to preserve the moisture and hasten the process. Your compost will be ready to use within 4 to 6 months. Be sure to use the compost within 3 to 6 months, as it starts degrading after reaching its peak.

If you need visual help with composting, try this out!

Best Bagged Compost For Garden

Homemade compost takes a longer period and enough patience from your side. But sometimes the vegetables cannot wait that long.

Thus, you can opt for all-purpose best compost in a bag that is peat free and combines green composting material.

It is readily available in the market, but choose the best since the list can confuse you.

Best Compost For Garden Vegetables

Vegetables require nutrient-rich composts containing diverse organic matter like plant waste, eggshells, leaves, and coffee grounds.

Here are some recommended products for garden vegetables.

1. Mountain Valley Worm Castings

The Mountain Valley Worm Castings are vermicomposts that primarily enhance plant growth by promoting water retention in the soil.

This compost is OMRI certified because it is made of cow manure, processed, and refined by red earthworms.

Earthworms act as aerators and help to break down the ingredients by mixing and crushing them.

It slowly releases nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and maintains a neutral pH, helping grow the plants green and thicker.
The image represents Bagged Vermicompost.
Vermicompost is best suited for vegetable gardens.

It is also an excellent alternative to chemical fertilizers. Organic compost provides excellent soil amendment and maintains water retention.


  • Clean, odorless, and convenient
  • Minimize plant disease and easy delivery of nutrients to plants


  • Expensive

2. Black Kow Compost

Black Kow compost is a package of 41 pounds where composted soil once used for growing mushrooms was further decomposed and filled.

It is a good soil supplement to nourish the soil and feed the plants.

You can mix this mushroom compost with planting soil to help in plant growth. You can also use it as a top-dressing soil for potted plants.


  • Higher organic matter content
  • Help to break dense soil
  • Excellent for vegetables, especially broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower


  • Does not work for radishes, cucumbers, and beans
  • Expensive than regular compost
  • Unpleasant odor

3. Hoffman Compost

The Hoffman compost contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in a 1:1:1 ratio and cow manure.

It improves the soil texture and is very suitable for growing organic vegetables as the compost is chemical-free.

The image represent bagged organic compost and manure.
Compost from Cow manure helps to improve the soil texture.

You can use it by broadcasting or mixing directly into the soil.

Though it does not contain earthworms, it provides a platform for the worms to grow.

  • Contain balanced nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium
  • Easy to mix with the soil
  • Does not burn the plants
  • Odorless
  • Higher price than other brands

Best Compost For Garden Soil

1. Dr. Earth Compost

The organic constituents of Dr.Earth compost are forest humus, fir bark, peat moss, worm castings, soybean meal, fish meal and bone, soil microbes, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal.

This dark, rich compost helps to amend the soil and balances the soil acidity and the NPK ratio.

You can use the compost as mulch or to break down the clay and unnecessary substances in the soil.

As this compost helps to balance the fungal activities in the soil, gardeners highly recommend it to hungry plants.

  • Excellent for vegetable garden
  • Rich in organic nutrients
  • Improves soil texture
  • Help the flower roots to grow
  • Expensive
  • Have pieces of rock or other unwanted substances

2. Malibu Compost Bu’s Compost

Malibu compost is a popular compost made from composting of cow manure, grapevine trimmings, and added herbal preparations.

Compost is a good source of humus that dramatically improves soil quality with only a slight addition.

The image represents Malibu Biodynamic Compost.
Malibu’s compost can be used for garden soil.

It can be used for plants that prefer acidic soil and those that do not.

Adding handcrafted ingredients exclusively to this compost makes it best suited for organic gardening.

Also, Malibu compost is the best compost to buy for vegetable gardens, according to customer reviews.

  • Saves water
  • Good consistency
  • Free from pesticides and growth hormone
  • Great for fruits and vegetables
  • Not suitable for applying directly to the plant.

3. Blue Ribbon Organics Compost

Blue Ribbon Organics is an OMRI-certified compost for raised beds, organic farming, lawns, grasses, and trees.

It is made of food recycles and materials like leaves and cut firewood as the key ingredients.

The compost enriches the soil by delivering nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

It is rich in nitrogen derived from natural materials and is vital in improving soil texture.

  • Odorless
  • Free of weed seeds
  • Suitable for corns and eggplants
  • Safe for any concentration
  • Expensive

Best Compost For Garden Pots

1. Coast of Maine Compost

The Coast of Maine is OMRI-certified and preservative-free compost made of grounded lobster and crab shells.

The balance of compost and nutrients makes it ideal for flowering plants and container gardening.

The image shows lobster compost.
The Lobster Compost is rich in nitrogen.

With the blend of all essential minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen, this compost ensures all vital nutrients to the soil.

  • Helps in consistent drainage of water
  • Lesser large chunks and rocks
  • Easy to use
  • Minimal smell
  • Expensive for the quantity

2. Sustane Compost Tea Bag

The OMRI listed Sustane compost is composed of 4% total nitrogen.

You should brew the tea bag in water for 24 hr and spray it on your flowers or vegetables. Alternatively, you can install it directly into the soil.

When used on container plants, it promotes flower blooms and the healthier growth of your flower.

  • Convenient to brew
  • Provides nutrients to the leaves and soil
  • Solves blossom rot, yellow leaves, and brown spots
  • Smelly after brewing
  • Expensive for the quantity

3. Charlie’s Compost

Charlie’s compost is suitable for all types of gardens as it is made locally from chicken manure, cornstalks, straw, forest products, and hay.

Chicken manure, the main ingredient of this compost, delivers essential nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to the plants.

It provides the advantageous microbes that plants need, resulting in a noticeable difference in growth and flowering.

This compost is cheaper and more mineral-dense than other manures, like cow and horse manure.

When used for garden pots, it provides an excellent soil amendment.

  • Only a small amount is needed to get the benefits
  • Free from plastic and heavy metals
  • No odor
  • Potentially burn your plants when the mixture is not light

4. Sun Gro Compost

Sun Gro compost is OMRI-listed that contains a blend of earthworm castings. It will be best used in patios, lawns, gardens, and garden containers.

You can use it as a top dressing or add it to water for casting tea.

The Black Gold Earthworm Casting helps in water retention.

The compost has also proved to loosen the soil when mixed with potting soil, orchid bark, and perlite and helps to keep the plant happy.

  • Contain a good amount of iron
  • Helps in water retention
  • Does not burn plants
  • A good amount of worm castings and good delivery of nitrogen
  • Expensive

Tips for Using Compost to Garden

Now that you have your compost ready, here are some tips I think will be handy for applying to your garden.

  • For growing vegetables, pour the compost into each hole you are planting.
  • For growing flowers, loosen the soil and mix a 1-inch layer of compost.
  • Generally, vegetable gardens need 1-3 inches of compost.
  • You can use compost as mulch by adding 2 to 4 inches above the soil.
  • For sandy soil, put a 4-inch thick layer of compost over the ground and mix the compost well, about 10 inches deep.
  • Add 1 to 2 inches layers when using bagged compost at the beginning of the Spring.

Add compost to the garden soil before planting new crops. It is better to add compost 3 to 6 weeks earlier than planting.

From Editorial Team

Extra Tips!

Vermicomposts, mushroom compost, and several other organic composts can be used in the soil for the healthy growth of plants.

As for an urban gardener, getting hold of natural compost might be turbulent.

But, try your best to go for the natural approach as it is environmentally friendly and safe for the plant and soil.

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