As both the health benefits and environmental impact of leading a self-sufficient lifestyle become increasingly apparent, more and more people have started to venture into their outdoor spaces to grow their own vegetables.
Growing your own produce also comes with a smaller price tag than store-bought vegetables, which is another reason it’s seen a rise in popularity.
However, although growing your own vegetables at home might seem like a fairly straightforward process, there is a little more to it than dropping a seed into the soil and waiting for it to grow.
A little tender loving care and the right growing conditions are needed to raise your seeds into plants that will produce high yields, and one of the most important things you’ll need is a good quality vegetable garden compost.
Compost helps to feed your plants with the nutrients they need to grow healthily, as well as improving the structure and condition of your soil at the same time. It can also be used to grow vegetables in directly and is ideal for filling raised beds or containers.
But, with so many different compost choices available, how do you know which one is the best for your vegetable garden? To help remove any confusion, we’ve listed five of the best composts you can buy for a vegetable garden below, each of which will help your plants grow into strong specimens that will produce delicious homegrown veggies!
We’ve also put together a useful buying guide that is designed to help you consider the different needs of each garden, and make finding the best vegetable garden compost a quick, easy, and simple task. Keep reading to find out more!
Our Top Pick
If you simply can’t wait to get into your garden and start forming your vegetable beds, our top pick below is a fantastic choice for helping you get the area up to standard before you begin planting.
Designed and formulated to help break down organic waste in a much faster time, this Compost Starter from Jobe’s Organics is the ideal choice for anybody looking for a way to add extra nutrients to their compost before working into the soil of their vegetable gardens and raised beds.
One of the things that makes this compost starter ideal for vegetable gardens is the fact that it contains Biozome™. This is a mix of microorganisms that help break down organic materials and also feed the soil and roots of your plants, giving them the nutrients they need to grow strongly and healthily.
Biozome doesn’t only improve soil and root health though. It’s also been shown to help plants improve disease-resistance, raise moisture retention in the soil and even repel annoying pests that would otherwise feast on your homegrown vegetables.
It’s also incredibly easy to add to your compost pile thanks to the design of the easy-pour bag, so it’s ideal if you’re a gardener who prefers to keep their hands as clean as possible. This compost starter is pet friendly too, so you won’t have to worry about it causing any harm to curious dogs or cats that find themselves digging in your vegetable garden.
- Designed and formulated to quickly break down any organic matter and add the nutrients back into your soil
- Contains a mix of microorganisms called ‘Biozome™’ which help your soil absorb nutrients with greater ease
- Helps plants and vegetable crops develop better disease resistance and even helps repel pests
- Improves soil structure and increases moisture retention levels
- Easy to add to your existing compost and is totally pet friendly
- You need to work out the correct measurement before adding to your compost as too much can cause leaf burn once in the soil
Created by the amazing composting abilities of the red worm, this Worm Compost from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is 100% natural and is packed full of nutrients that will feed your vegetable plants with everything they need to produce high yields.
Made completely by worms, this compost has had absolutely no chemical additives to break down the organic waste. It’s also been created without any microorganisms. Instead, it’s the red worms that do all of the hard work and leave you with a nutrient-dense compost.
Taken directly from the growing pits that the red worms on Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm reside in, this compost isn’t only perfect for improving your vegetable garden’s soil structure and adding beneficial nutrients to the soil, but it can also be used for planting into containers or using as mulch in existing potted plants.
Don’t be alarmed if you find a red worm has hitched along for the ride when you open this bag of compost either! This is a testament to the fact it’s made of 100% natural worm castings, and the little wriggler will go on to continue its good work in your own backyard.
- 100% natural worm compost created by commercially grown red worms
- Formulated without any microorganisms or chemical assistance
- The all-natural composition is perfect for organic vegetable gardening
- Can also be used for planting into containers or as a mulch for existing potted plants
- An ideal choice for anybody looking for a nutrient-rich compost without having to make their own
- Some customers noted finding whole sticks or pieces of bark in the compost. However, this is due to the natural composting process and these can easily be discarded of or added to your compost pile
Containing a wealth of nutrients and minerals that will feed your vegetable garden and help your plants grow healthily, this Organic Vegetable & Flower Soil from Espoma has an all-natural formulation and is ideal for anyone looking to grow their own produce.
One of the most beneficial nutrients you’ll find in this garden compost is Myco-tone™. This is a specially formulated blend of 11 different Mycorrhizae that all work together to add potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus into your soil. This, in turn, improves soil structure and water intake, as well as helping your plants to recover faster from transplant shock.
This compost also contains kelp meal, which is hugely beneficial and acts as a nutrient-rich soil fertilizer that your plants will absolutely love feeding on. Kelp is also a fantastic alternative to blood, fish and bone fertilizer, making it a wonderful choice for anybody attempting veganic gardening.
It even contains sphagnum peat moss, which is renowned for its ability to hold several times its own weight in water. This makes it a fantastic compost for any areas that are subject to prolonged periods of drought, allowing you to reduce the amount of water you need to use without your plants suffering. It’s also been fortified with earthworm castings for extra nutrition.
- Contains a wealth of minerals and nutrients all of which have been derived from organic waste products
- Features Myco-tone™ to improve soil structure, encourage water uptake and help with transplant shock recovery
- Also contains kelp meal which is a fantastic, vegan alternative to traditional plant fertilizers
- Incorporated sphagnum peat moss helps with water retention and is ideal for vegetable gardens in drought-prone areas
- Is also fortified with earthworm castings for added nutrition
- Is only suitable for soil improvement and in-ground plantings, so cannot be used as a potting mix on its own
The second compost on our list that has used the power of the red worm in its creation, these Pure Worm Castings from Wiggle Worm are 100% natural and are the perfect choice for anybody looking to start organic vegetable gardening.
This fantastic worm compost can be used in a variety of ways. You can work it into your soil as a soil improver, it can be used to amend the structure of your soil, or it can even be used to plant directly into in pots, containers, and raised beds.
One of the most appealing aspects of this compost is that it is also totally odor-free. This is thanks to its all-natural production, with absolutely no chemicals or additives incorporated into it. Just 100% natural worm castings created by nature’s most effective composting machines!
Apply to your vegetable garden in spring, summer, and fall, and your plants will feed on the plethora of nutrients this compost will add to the soil. The natural formulation also means that there’s no chance of your plants suffering from leaf burn, even at high levels of concentration. This means that it’s even delicate enough to use as seed compost to start your spring vegetables off during the winter months.
- A 100% natural, nutrient-rich compost that is created entirely by red worms
- Can be used as a soil conditioner, structure improver, and can also be used to plant directly
- Is totally odor-free and has had no chemicals or additives used in its formulation
- The natural formation also means that there is no risk of leaf burn regardless of what concentration you use it in
- Is gentle enough to use as a seed compost
- The structure of this compost may not be thick enough to use as a mulch in fall or spring
This All Purpose Compost from Dr. Earth won’t only add a ton of minerals and nutrients to your vegetable garden that your plants will love feeding on, but it will also help to improve the structure of your soil at the same time. This gives your vegetable plants the best chance to produce high yields of organic, homegrown produce.
Rich in green-fed earthworm castings, it’s extremely nutritious and also contains kelp meal which is renowned for being a wonderful alternative to other traditional fertilizers such as blood, fish, and bone. This also makes it a great choice for any gardener taking on the veganic method of growing their own vegetables. It’s also fantastic for improving disease-resistance.
Another ingredient used in the formulation of this compost is valley-grown alfalfa meal. This adds a load of nutrients into your soil including phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, all of which will ensure your plants grow as healthily as possible. Alfalfa meal also feeds the microorganisms that live in your soil as well as the plants, which in turn encourages underground activity and keeps your soil in great condition.
This compost can also be used to help break up heavier soils, such as clay, and improve the structure over time. It can be used to plant directly into as well and makes a great choice for anybody looking for a great compost to fill raised beds or containers with.
- Helps feed your plants and improves soil conditions at the same time
- Contains highly nutritious kelp meal which is a great vegan alternative to traditional fertilizers
- Also contains alfalfa meal which feeds underground microorganisms to improve soil health as well as feeding your plants
- Suitable for a variety of uses including vegetable gardens, containers, raised beds, and house plants
- Can also be used to break up heavy clay soils and improve soil structure over time
- Some people that purchased this compost noted that it was quite gritty in places, however, this will help to aid with drainage when used in containers
Growing a vegetable garden takes a lot of care and attention. From the moment you sow your first seed of the season, right through to the harvest, you need to make sure that your plants are strong and healthy.
This is why finding the perfect vegetable garden compost is one of the most important things you need to do before embarking on your vegetable growing adventure.
No two gardens are ever the same though, and different soil conditions, light levels, and weather exposure all need to be accounted for when you’re looking for a vegetable garden compost.
Below, we’ve outlined some key points to help you find the best compost for your vegetable garden. Paying attention to these will make sure your plants get the best start in life, and continue to grow as healthily as possible to produce large crops of delicious vegetables.
When you’re growing your own vegetables you need to decide whether you intend to grow them organically or whether you feel like you may need some chemical assistance in the form of pesticide or fertilizer.
Organic vegetable gardening is the preferred method among most gardeners, and if you decide that this is the route for you, then you’ll need to make sure the compost you choose is also organic.
Luckily, this is a fairly easy thing to check. Materials such as grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and other matter that has been grown organically are what you need to keep an eye out for. This means that no chemicals will have been used to grow the materials that went into the compost, and as such, they won’t have been passed down the chain during the composting process.
Some composts are also certified organic, and this is another good thing to look out for if you choose to grow your vegetables organically.
The whole reason behind adding compost to your soil is to fill your soil with nutrients that your plants will then feed on. These include nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which help plants grow big and strong.
It’s not just the plants that benefit from the added nutrients in the soil though. The soil itself can be improved by the addition of a nutrient-rich compost, and it can turn heavy clay soils that are notoriously difficult to grow vegetables in, into a much more workable soil.
Some composts also feature patented blends of nutrients, such as Myco-tone™ which helps promote root growth and reduce transplant shock. Biozome™ is another, and this is designed to help your plants absorb nutrients with greater ease.
The nutrients found in your compost will all have been derived from the natural ingredients and organic matter used in its formulation. With that in mind, it’s often a good idea to look at what natural materials it contains. And, while any organic matter is beneficial, there are a couple of special ones to look out for.
One of the best you’ll find is sphagnum peat moss. This provides your compost with amazing water retention properties and allows it to hold several times its own weight in water, making it an ideal choice for any vegetable gardens that are located in areas bathed in sunshine, or anywhere that suffers from periods of drought.
Kelp meal is another good natural material to look for in a compost’s formula, and it’s one that plants absolutely love feeding on as it provides high levels of nutrients. It’s also a great alternative to traditional fertilizers, such as blood, fish, and bone, so it’s perfect for anybody looking for a 100% veganic gardening experience.
It’s not just your plants that benefit from the nutrients provided by certain natural materials either. Any compost that contains alfalfa meal will feed the microorganisms that live in your soil, which, in turn, will improve soil conditions and keep your vegetable garden fertile and healthy.
One of the more popular methods of vegetable gardening is to use raised beds and large containers to grow produce in. These give you more control over soil conditions, weeding, and also allow you to grow certain vegetables in a smaller space.
If you’re thinking about growing your vegetables in containers, you’ll need to make sure that the compost you choose is suitable for the job. Some composts are only suitable as soil additives, whereas others are fine to use as a soil replacement. Those that aren’t suitable may cause damage to your vegetable plants and can cause leaf burn or bolting.
It’s also a good idea to look at what levels of water retention your chosen compost can provide your vegetable garden with as well. Most vegetables are grown in the summer months, and this means that there is an increased chance of your soil drying out and your plants wilting.
Your compost needs to be able to hold as much water as possible. This is particularly important in drought-prone areas as it will allow you to use less water without your plants suffering too much.
Look for a compost that lists sphagnum peat moss or Myco-tone™ amongst its ingredients. These are highly moisture retentive and will help to keep your soil moist deep down, even if the top layer appears to have totally dried out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need compost to grow vegetables?
Yes! All vegetable plants need a certain amount of nutrients to help them grow strong and produce the crops you’re looking for. By incorporating compost into your vegetable garden’s soil, you’ll be feeding the plants, improving their living conditions, and increasing your chances of getting high yields.
How can I stop my vegetable garden’s soil from drying out?
Incorporating a compost that’s been created using an ingredient such as sphagnum peat moss into your soil will help it retain moisture for a longer period of time. Even if the top layer of your soil seems completely dry, adding compost into the soil will keep things moist below the surface and give the roots of your plants regular access to water.