Council "Soil Enhancer"

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ina
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Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283228 ina
Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:14 pm

I've been using a lot of the free "soil enhancer" that the council produces... Has anybody else done that - or does any other council do this, anyway? I've been kind of using it as I would normal commercial compost, thinking that it can't be all that different. However, a friend of mine (who works in a soils lab where I also used to work) has done a pH test on it for me, and it came back incredibly high (almost 7.5). Any experience with that? And what could I do to lower the pH, if it really is that high? Normally you'd say "add organic matter", but basically it is all organic matter already... A bit puzzled.

Any suggestions gratefully received! :icon_smile:
Ina
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283230 Green Aura
Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:14 am

According to the RHS, 7.5 is "slightly alkaline". I wonder what the prevailing pH is in your area - do you think they add lime to correct a very acidic area? If it's marketed as a soil enhancer it presumably is intended just as an additive your soil, not replace it like potting compost etc. Does it give any instructions about using it?

I wonder if they add seaweed. We used to buy calcified seaweed to neutralise our clay soil. Again the RHS site suggested testing a little of the soil by adding vinegar - if it fizzes it means there's free calcium carbonate (lime) so it wouldn't be easy to lower the pH. I'm not entirely sure why.

As for lowering the pH, do you have a St4rbucks near you anywhere - the have a policy of recycling coffee grounds and give away 2kg bags of the stuff, usually in a basket near the door. They get brownie points for shifting these things and are very glad when someone takes them. Or you could buy a bag of ericaceous compost to mix with it.

It may also be worth getting your pal to test your soil, after you've added it, it might just be doing what it says on the tin.
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283234 Odsox
Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:37 am

I don't think I'd worry about it too much Ina, it is after all "more or less" neutral. At a guess, I would have thought that your soil is naturally on the acidic side, so mixing your compost in would only be a good thing.
I don't think there is any vegetable that would object to a pH of "almost" 7.5, and if you want to grow ericacious plants, just don't use it on them.
I wish there was a source of free compost around here, apart from the stuff I make myself.
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283236 diggernotdreamer
Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:31 am

Are you having a problem getting things to germinate or grow? is that why you had it tested? I always thought that normal compost would have a ph of between 6.5 and 7, like GA my thought was they are adding some lime to the mix to adjust acidic soils. I used to get the municipal waste from our local tip and just put it on the garden when I was starting a veg bed and it was absolutely fine.

My experiments with coffee grounds this year were disastrous. Adding it to my potting compost actually inhibited germination, so I did an experiment with varying amounts in my normal home made potting compost and observed that even in small amounts, it hindered germination. I would, however, add it to my compost heap where it produces a good heat when composting down.

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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283246 Green Aura
Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:39 pm

I didn't know that, but all I've ever used it for is sprinkling round my blueberries. :lol:
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283249 Crastney
Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:48 pm

I prefer hundreds and thousands sprinkled on my blueberries
Global average carbon emissions - one ton per person per year.
Current emissions in UK – 9 tons per person per year!

ina
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283253 ina
Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:18 pm

Thank you all for your input - I'll try to reply to your various questions...

My soil was tested at the same time and came out as around 6.5. Now that's fine - but for blueberries (yes, I'm trying to grow them as well), it's a bit much - and I expected the compost to be rather lower... No St*rbucks in the area, and I really don't like going there whenever I'm in town, but I add all my own coffee grounds to the compost I make myself. So maybe I should start adding it directly to the containers with the blueberries?

I really had it tested because of the blueberries; I only got the plants this year (cheap at Lidl's, where else...), and I wanted to make sure they have reasonable conditions. I'm quite sure they don't add seaweed. I have added a bit of lime on some areas in the garden, for the brassica plants. Otherwise I've just used whatever I can get hold of and is free (like daggings etc) for filling up my raised beds - hence quite a lot of the council compost, too. Most stuff I've had in it has grown fine, and where it didn't, there was likely a different reason.

Oh yes, the prevailing pH in the area is slightly acidic rather than otherwise. Maybe I should just go up into the hills and dig up a bit of peaty soil for the blueberries!
Ina

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Flo
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283274 Flo
Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:44 pm

Blueberries are lovers of peaty soil. When I planted mine I dug in a large bag of Ericaceous compost for each of them. It worked. That's a common practice here to adjust the local clay. Saves a whole lot of worrying our heads.

ina
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283275 ina
Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:33 am

Flo wrote:Blueberries are lovers of peaty soil. When I planted mine I dug in a large bag of Ericaceous compost for each of them. It worked. That's a common practice here to adjust the local clay. Saves a whole lot of worrying our heads.


I was trying to buy ericaceous compost for just that purpose - couldn't get any!
Ina

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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283276 ojay54
Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:59 am

Herefordshire C.C. sell this stuff at the recycling centre £2 for a big bag.It's pretty good,I've sieved it and used it as a base for potting compost,as well as just digging it in.
For the blueberries,I have a special stash of hop waste which a mate got me when he had a temp job at a hop kiln.The neighbours moan a bit about the stink when you spread it about,but there you go..

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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283292 doofaloofa
Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:11 pm

Wish my council did that
ina wrote: die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln

ina
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Re: Council "Soil Enhancer"

Post: #283294 ina
Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:58 pm

doofaloofa wrote:Wish my council did that


Does your council collect garden waste? I thought they all had to do that now... And if so, they must do something with the resulting stuff, whatever it's called.
Ina

I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)


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