The 5 Best Bagged Compost Options for your Garden

The secret to success in the garden is healthy soil, and creating healthy soil is an ongoing process.

Every year we enrich our garden soil with compost to build up the organic matter in the soil. This boost of ready to use nutrients encourages plant growth, helps combat bug pressure and leads to the best harvest. We’ve been adding compost to our garden for over 10 years and our soil is now rich and healthy.

Finding the best bagged compost for your garden can be overwelming. There are many options and variations in cost.In this post we will share the 5 best bagged and help to simplify the process to help you choose the best bagged compost for your garden.

If you are looking for a fast soluation – see directly below for our top choice of the best bagged compost or scroll down for more details. While this is our favorite – all the options below are great options for enriching your garden.

Our Favorite Bagged Compost – Coast of Maine Lobster Compost

This compost gets our vote for the best compost. As a Mainer, I love this compost and use it whenever I need a bag for our garden!


Benefits of Bagged Compost

Adding Compost to your garden is possibly the number one thing you can do to build a successful garden that thrives for year. The first step when you are starting your garden is to get your soil tested. It took us years to test our soil and it was one thing we wished we had done sooner. Contact your local cooperative extension to get your soil tested. Generally you will get a report that gives suggestions on the best steps for improving your soil – but in general, adding compost will always improve the health of your garden.

Here are 5 reasons to add compost to your garden:

  1. Nutrient-Rich Soil: Compost is a natural and organic source of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients enhance soil fertility, promoting healthier plant growth and development.
  2. Improved Soil Structure: Compost helps improve the structure of various soil types, including clay and sandy soils. It enhances water retention in sandy soils and improves drainage in clay soils, creating an optimal environment for plant roots to thrive.
  3. Water Conservation: The organic matter in compost acts like a sponge, improving the soil’s water retention capacity. This helps reduce water runoff and enhances the efficiency of irrigation, ultimately leading to better water conservation practices in your garden.
  4. Enhanced Microbial Activity: Compost introduces a diverse community of beneficial microorganisms to the soil. These microorganisms break down organic matter, releasing nutrients in a form that plants can easily absorb. This microbial activity also contributes to disease suppression and overall soil health.
  5. Reduced Need for Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides: By enriching the soil with natural nutrients and promoting a balanced ecosystem, compost reduces the reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This not only benefits the environment but also contributes to the production of healthier and more sustainable crops.

If you have a large garden, it may make the most sense to get a load of compost delivered. We typically do this every other year on our homestead depending on our current projects.

You can also make your own compost. This is the best way to ensure you have gorgeous compost, but for us – we can never make enough compost for our garden needs. This means there are times when we need to purchase bagged compost. Most garden centers carry several different brands of bagged compost and it can be hard to decide which are the best options – below you can see our top suggestions for bagged compost. Scroll to the bottom of the article for specific things to look for in your bagged compost.

best bagged compost
best bagged compost

5 Best Bagged Compost Options for Garden Success

Michigan Peat 40 Pound Garden Magic Compost and Manure 

This bagged compost is a great choice with high quality, performance, and fertilizing properties. This compost is rich with a nice texture and is good for the garden as well as a top dressing for your yard. This compost does have small twigs in it so if you are looking for something really smooth, this may not be the best compost for you.

Our tomatoes in particular loved this bagged compost.

Espoma Compost

This is an excellent compost and we’ve had incredible results in our garden. We use this compost often in our raised beds and to top dress our potted plants. Our biggest negative for this is just that it is slightly more expensive – this does add up if you need a lot of compost, so we typically use it when we just need a bag or two.

Coast of Maine Lobster Compost

This organic blend of compost is made from sphagnum, peat moss, aged bark, lobster and crab meal. It is an excellent choice for building a healthy garden and we’ve been using in our garden for over 10 years.

This compost is ideal for nourishing vegetable gardens, flower beds, borders, and shrubs, this soil conditioner serves as an excellent foundation for overseeding and revitalizing lawns.

Mushroom Compost Organic Brands

This is a great compost that has excellent results in the garden. My only complait about this compost is the cost. I would recomend this compost if you need just one bag to top dress or mix in some to your potted plants or a small raised bed.

R&M Organics Premium Organic Compost

This is the only compost of the list that I haven’t tried personally. It’s an organic option that consistently gets good reviews. It is made from cow manure and you only need about 1/4 in to improve the soil quality.

Key Considerations when Choosing Bagged Compost

Organic vs. Synthetic Composts

  1. Benefits of organic compost: Opt for compost derived from organic materials to promote soil health, enhance nutrient content, and support sustainable gardening practices.
  2. Considerations for synthetic compost: When evaluating synthetic compost, weigh factors such as chemical composition and potential environmental impacts.

Compost Ingredients

  1. Balanced mix of green and brown materials: Choose compost with a well-proportioned blend of nitrogen-rich green materials (e.g., kitchen scraps) and carbon-rich brown materials (e.g., dry leaves) for optimal microbial activity.
  2. Presence of essential nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium): Ensure the compost contains essential nutrients crucial for plant growth, fostering a nutrient-rich environment.

Texture and Consistency

  1. Well-rotted and crumbly texture: Select compost with a well-rotted and crumbly texture, signifying effective decomposition and ease of incorporation into the soil.
  2. Absence of large, woody chunks: Opt for compost free from large, woody chunks to ensure a uniform and manageable consistency.

pH Levels

  1. Neutral to slightly acidic pH for versatile use: Look for compost with a neutral to slightly acidic pH, suitable for a wide range of plants and gardening applications.
  2. Specialized composts for specific plants (acid-loving or alkaline-loving): Consider specialized composts tailored to the pH preferences of specific plants, such as acid-loving or alkaline-loving varieties.

Packaging and Brand Reputation

  1. Sustainable packaging options: Prioritize compost products with environmentally friendly packaging to minimize waste and promote sustainability.
  2. Reviews and recommendations from trusted sources: Explore reviews and recommendations from reliable sources to gauge the reputation and performance of the compost brand you are considering.
best bagged compost
best bagged compost

Tips for Using Bagged Compost Effectively

To maximize the benefits of bagged compost, follow a few key steps in your garden.

Begin by preparing the soil, removing debris, and cultivating it to a loose texture. Apply the compost evenly across the designated area, ensuring a layer of about 2 to 4 inches deep. Incorporate the compost into the soil using a rake or garden fork, promoting a thorough mixture. For planting, create pockets within the compost-enriched soil, inserting seeds or plants at the recommended depth.

When topdressing existing plants, carefully spread the compost around the base, avoiding direct contact with stems. Water the treated area adequately to encourage the compost to settle and facilitate nutrient absorption. Regularly monitor the moisture level and adjust watering accordingly.

best bagged compost
best bagged compost

Find more ideas for finding the best compost for vegetable garden success.

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