Thursday 23 March 2023

Buying The Right Compost.


 I bought 3 bags of potting compost the other day.

My biggest outlay in the polytunnel and garden every year is bought compost. 

 I have tried using garden soil in my plant pots  but these contain weed seeds.  It's  ok to half fill them with homemade compost or topsoil and top them up with bought compost.

I find that a lot of bought compost consists of composted bark and peat.  It's  better than nothing but it contains very few nutrients and it often cakes when it dries out.

I noticed the one in the photo.  It's dearer than the cheap compost but I notice it's  got John Innes in it.  I hope it's the John Innes number 3 recipe which is soil based.

I opened the compost bag and noticed its made up of a lot of composted bark but it's soft and friable and I will experiment with it this growing season.  I will add the seaweed fertilizer pellets to it that I featured on here yesterday.

Do you buy a lot of potting compost or do you make your own?  

I have a big pile of fym from the livestock winter quarters.  I was thinking of getting a lorry or trailer load of wood chippings and mixing it with some of the stable manure and covering it in black plastic for twelve months or so.  I think it would make a  super growing medium.  

Old leaves stored in black bin bags for a year or two  also make a great growing medium.  

This what the compost above looks like.  What do you think of it?



What's your favourite potting compost?

14 comments:

  1. F has taken on the dire warnings about depletion of peat bogs and carefully reads labels for contents - even on the compost bags. This year it is sifted 'soil' from the 'compost' pile on the corner of the allotment (more soil than organic material, and lots of perennial roots to sift out), mixed about 70/30 with some cheap soil extender bought at one of the German beer, grocery and garden stuff providers. The cheap soil extender stuff, which masquerades as potting mix, doesn't even pretend to have been composted and looks like woodchips and shredded coconut fibre. It should aid aeration, be something to absorb some water and will do nothing to suppress the weed seeds - we will simply have to put up with those. I, the Tigger, quite like the recipe as something to dig in; I have already mussed up a few of her seeds trays! She loves me really. :-)

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    1. Yes Tigger your comments echo my thoughts about cheap shredded bark and coconut fibre mixed with peat. Somewhere in a box in the attic I have an old nineteen thirties gardening book containing the John Innes number 1,2 and 3 potting and seed compost recipes. I go through tons of compost for all my perennials and shrubs cutting that I make every year. Fortunately I don't have to buy plant because people collect them for me. There's a cat of our patrolling the polytunnel area at night and walking all over my newly sowed seed trays.

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  2. We have two compost bins in the garden plus a wire cage for rotting leaves. When I filled two pots with garden soil for my parsley, I microwaved it for a minute or so first before planting to try to kill off any nasties. Hope it has worked. The pots have been on the kitchen windowsill (south facing) for the past two weeks and the seedlings are doing really well.

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  3. Hi JayCee. Tigger mentioned a water soil sterilizer the other week on here. The old country estate gardeners use to use mole hill soil for potting and seed compost. River in Australia informs me that her council sell compost. I have leeks and beetroots sprouting in seed trays in 'Portugal' my polytunnel with the torn cover. Hopefully the weather will start to book up and we can get sowing outside.

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  4. I don't know, but have found you can buy exactly the same thing two tears running, and one will be great and the other awful.

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  5. Hi Tasker. I find with the discount supermarket gardening products they are only limited lines and you rarely see them again. I really like the seaweed fertilizer featured on yesterday's blog post. I often buy bags for the price of 2 for 18 Euros from our local DIY store in Bantry. There's a Irish compost called Gardeners Gold and its organic and excellent but not cheap. I wish I lived near a mushroom farm and could buy bulk loads of spent mushroom compost.

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  6. I buy compost but not every year and just get the cheapest available. Last year I realised tons of autumn leaves around here get swept up and put into rubbish bins, so I took my broom and bucket outside and gathered what I could and spread it around on my garden. They broke down nicely over winter and I shall do the same this year. But I will still buy compost to top up the pots.

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  7. Leaves make excellent compost River. I find the very cheap composts are prone to forming a crust, have few nutrients and dry out very quickly.

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  8. Just because I mentioned Yorkshire Pudding Number 2's, didn't mean you had to send my previous comment to the "Spam" factory!

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    1. I didn't know you had left a Yorkshire Pudding Number 2 YP. How do check for spam? The Grocers perhaps?

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  9. Great when you can make your own.
    We always go for the peat free compost. Daughter buys the wool waste/bracken compost. It is really good, if a tad expensive as yet...it is slowly becoming more affordable as the production increases

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  10. It is great GZ. You can never have enough homemade compost. I'm not familiar with wool waste compost. Will Google it. Thanks!

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  11. When I worked in a greenhouse, we steamed the potting mix to kill off seeds and fungus. Don't know if you have a way to do that - use steam - to sterilize your potting mix...

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  12. Thanks for the steam potting mix advice Cappy.

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