Best Bagged Compost — Best Store Bought Compost and Buyers Guide

Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

As we’re sure you already know, compost is a vital part of successful gardening.
Compost helps us fine-tune the balance of specific nutrients and moisture, required by specific plants.

It goes without saying then, that we actually need a variety of different composts….and there are many!
See our buyer’s guide below for the different benefits of different ready-made compost.

In a hurry? Here’s our top picks of bagged compost ;

Preview
Best Concentrated
Charlie's Compost 10lb
Best Peat Based
Michigan Peat 5240 Garden Magic Compost and Manure, 40-Pound
Best Organic
Hoffman HOF21045 20# Organic Compost and Manure 1-1-1
Title
Charlies compost
Michigan Peat
Hoffman Organic
Best Concentrated
Preview
Charlie's Compost 10lb
Title
Charlies compost
Best Peat Based
Preview
Michigan Peat 5240 Garden Magic Compost and Manure, 40-Pound
Title
Michigan Peat
Best Organic
Preview
Hoffman HOF21045 20# Organic Compost and Manure 1-1-1
Title
Hoffman Organic

Different bases are used for different types of compost aka ‘’black gold’’.
Chicken poop, cow poop, fish poop, crustacean shells or natural peat, are all different in both nutritional value and moisture-holding value.

Whichever you need, buying store-bought compost is far quicker and easier than making a load of different types of compost yourself.
The trick to buying the best bagged compost is thorough research…and that’s exactly what The Bovees Compost Critics have done for you!!

1. Charlie’s Compost – Best Organic Compost To Buy

Billed as a natural fertilizer and natural amendment, Charlie’s Compost is made right in the company’s farm in Calhoun, Kentucky, and from recycled manure from chicken manure along with locally sourced organic matter.

long time bulk compost producers charlies make these high quality bags.
Click image to see on amazon

A proud member of the US Composting Council, Charlie’s Compost is certified organic by the state of Kentucky, and is formulated to accelerate the bioactivity and nutrient content of your soil. This organic certification means that Charlie’s Compost is all-natural, safe and appropriate for use in the cultivation of organic fruits, plants and vegetable garden.

This highly concentrated formula means that you only have to use small amounts to fertilize even the most deficient soils. Its primary ingredient — vegetarian & antibiotic free chicken manure adds increases the water holding capacity, and helpful biota in soil.

Further, chicken manure provides essential nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to plants much more than other types of compost including cow, horse or steer manure.

Charlie’s Compost can be applied to your garden when soil is fresh or any age, and by simply scattering it on the surface, and working it in with a plow, rotary tiller, shovel, spading fork, or similar tools.

Charlie’s Organic Compost is a much better choice than synthetic fertilizer, because it not only addresses soil deficiency, but also the microorganisms and organic matter crucial for long term soil health.

Pros:

  • Made from chicken manure and locally sourced organic matter
  • Certified organic by the state of Kentucky
  • Much better choice than synthetic fertilizer
  • Vegetarian & antibiotic free

Cons:

  • Can burn certain plants if used in too large quantities

2. Michigan Peat 5240 Garden Magic Compost and Manure

Michigan Peat has been a leading name in the lawn care segment and offers a massive portfolio of both residential and commercial grower products.

Click image to see on amazon

The Garden Magic Compost and manure is yet another hit from the Michigan Peat hangar, and is a great choice for the vegetable garden, nursery planting, and as a top dressing for lawns and planting beds.

It is an odor-free and all-natural blend of peat, which is made from partially composting plants and mosses in acidic and waterlogged bogs. Reed-sedge peat is the classification of peat used in the Michigan Peat compost and arrives in a brown to reddish color.

This peat is formed primarily from a variety of plant materials such as cattails, grasses, reeds and sedges. It offers a 65 percent water holding capacity and contains over 90 percent organic matter.

Pros:

  • Variety of uses
  • All-natural blend
  • Odor free
  • Naturally moist and fibrous
  • Screened for uniform consistency

Cons:

  • Price tends to fluctuate widely

3. Hoffman HOF21045 20# Best Organic Compost and Manure.

Hoffman Composting started its journey in sustainable agriculture roughly 25 years ago, and today offers a wide range of products geared towards small scale farmers and gardeners, and large, state of the art agricultural producers.

Hoffman HOF21045 20# Organic Compost and Manure 1-1-1

The Hoffman Organic Compost is a chemical free way of growing beautiful flowers and organic vegetables, and is formulated to add all the essential nutrients to your soil. Further, the company says it is a guaranteed way of building humus content and improving soil structure, and is non-burning, safe and easy to apply.

Hoffman cow manure and compost is made up of digestive grass and grain, and is also super rich in important nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Adding to this, Hoffman cow manure compost contains high levels of ammonia, and is composted by the company prior to being used as a cow manure fertilizer.

Hoffman cow manure and compost can be mixed into the soil or used as a top dressing, and adds a considerably high amount of organic material to your soil to produce healthy vigorous plants, and lawn.

Pros:

  • Purely organic compost
  • Add essential nutrients to your soil
  • Improves soil structure
  • Non-burning, safe and easy to apply

Cons:

  • Available in one size only

4. COAST OF MAINE Lobster Organic Compost Soil Conditioner

Approved for organic growers, and OMRI listed, The Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend is a lightweight dark and rich soil that is made with chitin and calcium-rich lobster shells, and composted cow manure.

The lobster shells used in this compost formulation are sourced from the dark, cold waters of the Bay of Downeast Coast of Maine, and the Bay of Fundy, making it an ideal choice for conditioning potted herbs, vegetable gardens, flower beds, and borders, and annuals.

The real lobster shells used in the Coast of Maine Quoddy blend are first blended with the blueberry brush and wood fiber.

Next, they are moved and formed, and then go through four to six months of churning, aerating and checking temperatures. The finished lobster compost is then bagged in a production facility in Marion, Maine, and shipped all across the United States.

Lobster shells add phosphates, calcium and magnesium to compost piles, and contain chitin — a carbohydrate that retains moisture and deters harmful insects. The calcium in the Coast of Maine compost is perhaps the most important element, as it prevents blossom end rot, and several vegetable diseases.

Pros:

  • OMRI listed and certified organic
  • Contains chitin and calcium-rich lobster shells
  • Composted with cow manure
  • Lobsters sourced from Bay of Downeast Coast of Maine, and the Bay of Fundy
  • Prevents blossom end rot in tomatoes, and various other vegetable diseases

Cons:

  • Expiration date not listed on the package

5. Malibu Compost 100507243 715970 Growing Media

Malibu’s flagship blend Bu’s Blend Compost is a proprietary blend that contains no GMO’s pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones or sewage sludge. It can be used throughout your lawn and garden, and provides an array of benefits, starting with the fact that it aerates your soil to make it rich, fertile, properly draining, and full.

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When applied properly, Malibu Compost helps break up clay soil, which improves its structure, and helps eliminate drainage and compaction problems. Further, this ready-made compost by Malibu works on any type of soil to make the soil easier to work with, and helps maintain a neutral pH level.

Malibu Compost encourages healthy root systems, and helps roots spread easily, so they can easily absorb essential nutrients from the soil. But that’s not all, Bu’s Blend compost by Malibu saves water to protect against drought, and also considerably decreases runoff to keep water on the property.

Malibu Bu’s Blend compost can be used as a compost and top dressing for plants, trees and shrubs, for which it is recommended to add 1/2” of compost throughout the beginning of early spring and fall. For houseplants, Bu’s compost should be applied at 1/16” for 4” pots every spring and fall, and 1” of compost to raised bed food gardens at the start of every growing season.

Pro:

  • Free from pesticides, herbicides, and non-GMO
  • Offers several benefits including repairing damaged and compacted soil
  • Can be used for houseplants, fruit trees, raised gardens, etc.
  • Mimic nature and keeps waterways clean

Cons:

  • Planting directly into the compost isn’t recommended

6. Fishnure Fish Manure Organic Living Humus Compost Soil

Fishnure is an organic natural fertilizer, which just as the name would suggest is made from fish manure combined with clay. It is highly beneficial to increase soil nutrient content, decrease parasites, restrain some plant disease, and eliminate weed seeds.

Even though the Fishnure is compost made from fish, it does not emit a fishy smell, but rather has a clay like smell and feel just like regular compost. This compost formula by Fishnure offers a long list of benefits for your lawn and garden including lawn aeration, increased yield, and water holding capacity, and enhances soil fertility.

One pound of this highly concentrated formula can treat up to 60 square feet (5.57 m²), so you use less, while treating a larger ground area. The Fishnure compost provides long-lasting results, given that it doesn’t decompose, but remains in the soil to increase the total organic matter.

Pros:

  • Organic natural fertilizer
  • Long lasting results
  • Made with fish manure and combined with clay
  • Doesn’t emit a fishy smell
  • Increases water holding capacity and much more

Cons:

  • Not available in larger sizes

Store-Bought Compost Buying Guide

Types of Bagged Compost

There are several different types of compost to choose from such as:

Peat Moss Compost

Peat compost can be had in several variations, all of which made from a base of peat combined with other ingredients such as sand, fertilizer, or grit. Then there’s also peat-free compost, which can be made from several base ingredients including composted bark, coir, wood fiber, and green compost.

long time bulk compost producers charlies make these high quality bags.
high quality made from peat moss

Organic Compost

Organic compost does not contain any pesticides or herbicides and can be made from a mix of materials such as wood fibers, composted bark, etc. Organic compost is then enriched with naturally occurring nutrients, and may or not be certified organic by leading organizations.

Multi-Purpose Compost

This type of compost product can be used in several areas of your garden including containers and hanging baskets, beds, borders, and pots.

They are available in a wide range of blends of ingredients and work well to enrich your lawn and garden with essential nutrients.

Compost Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

Buying the best compost greatly determines on the type of plants you’re growing. You should ideally also check the soil pH of your garden before you start planting, as you may have to add a little lime soil before getting started with adding compost.

Leftover compost can be used around your lawn and garden as a soil improver, so there’s no need to trash it just yet. It is a good practice to add fresh compost to your existing and new plants each year to reduce the chances of pests and diseases.

Don’ts

If you’re going to sow, you will need special compost that provides optimum root growth, and one that provides the essential nutrients to help the seeds develop. Some acid centric plants such as camelia do require ericaceous compost with a lower pH, so refrain from using regular compost.

Try not to keep the bags of compost for too long before use. It is possible that potting soil can go bad after several years. It’s not the end of the world, as you can still use it in certain circumstances.

Reasons to Buy Store-Bought Compost

One of the biggest reasons to buy store-bought compost is the time and effort you save in making compost at home. Plus, if you’re just getting your feet wet with gardening and the composting process, you may find it easier to buy bagged compost from garden centers, as it is developed by experts, and delivers unmatched results.

Bagged compost is also labeled properly with regard to the ingredients used including the type of manure, so you can make sure to choose the right one for the plants you’re growing.

Final Thoughts

Composting is an important beneficial gardening practice and provides a plethora of benefits when done properly, and with the right compost. The right type of compost can enrich your soil to help it retain moisture, and prevents plant diseases and pests. This greatly reduces the need to add chemical fertilizers and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Making compost at home is easy, that’s if you know what you’re doing, although it does require a few tools to make good compost. But if you don’t, then using the wrong type of compost can prove detrimental to your lawn care efforts.

So, if you’d like to avoid the guesswork about what ingredients to put in your compost pile to make compost beneficial to your lawn and garden, then buying ready-made compost from the big box store is perhaps your best option.