Compost

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Green Aura
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Compost

Post: #284447 Green Aura
Mon May 11, 2015 1:09 pm

We're having a major revamp of our garden,this spring. Despite having three daleks in production we can't produce anywhere near the amount of compost we need for the new raised beds, seed sowing, re-potting etc. We'd really like some top soil too but have you seen the tiny bags it comes in? So compost it is and we've brought a few bags the last couple of times we've been to Inverness.

Anyway the point of my post is that I'm stunned by the difference in price and quality of the different brands - they're all multi-purpose so you'd think they'd be vaguely similar. We've had several different brands thus far
1) J Arthur Bowers from T***o - 50l bags, 3 for £10
2) Grow Your Own from Asda and - 75l bags, 3 for £10
3) Verve from B + Q - 125l bags - £6.60 each
and 4) Coir compost blocks from Home Bargains - 50l (supposedly), £1.79 each

The first two were really coarse and full of big twigs - one of them obviously had added biochar as it smelled burnt (can't remember which, unfortunately - we used all six bags at the same time potting up our tomatoes and peppers) and it made my hands black, which took some scrubbing off. One of them dries out to a hard crust too, which is a bit harsh for young seedlings.

The Verve brand has been far and away the best, thus far IMHO, in terms of price, consistency - it's quite fine for sowing as well as potting on and is by far the cheapest too and four bags fitted nicely in the car.

We've only used the coir for bulking out the other compost for the beds - I've not tried it on its own for sowing or potting on so I can't really compare it to the others. I'm not convinced it rehydrated to make 50l though, it didn't seem to go anywhere near as far as the compost of similar volume.
Maggie

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Odsox
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Re: Compost

Post: #284450 Odsox
Mon May 11, 2015 1:36 pm

I get "Westland" general purpose compost at 3 x 60 litre bags for €15 from my local garden centre, which I use for seed sowing. I also bought some in Lidl but I can't remember the price, but I think it was somewhere about €2.25 for 60 litres.
The Lidl one is a bit coarser with some small twigs in it, but as I always riddle all compost for seed sowing it didn't bother me. All the riddlings are tipped into a bucket and spread on the tunnel beds.

I have an area in one of my tunnels where I dug in lots of used peat compost as it needed building up, but it is now a hellova job to keep it moist. Being about 75% peat it is virtually impossible to wet, so when I water it it lays on top and evaporates. I hope you don't have the same problem by making beds with pure seed compost.
Tony

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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Compost

Post: #284451 diggernotdreamer
Mon May 11, 2015 1:44 pm

some garden centres supply 1 tonne bags of top soil and compost, you can get stuff delivered from online suppliers, not sure how far up they go, but it is worth a look. Luckily, I have all my poultry supplying me with compost, which is one of the main reasons for having a fair few, I can make all the compost and stuff I need without having to buy in

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Re: Compost

Post: #284454 Green Aura
Mon May 11, 2015 11:12 pm

None of the beds are any one type, Tony. The biggest bed is a combination of all four types of compost plus soil from some of the old beds we're dismantling. It's been p**ing down for the last two days and the beds are looking good,neither dry nor water-logged. I have high hopes for them.

And the strawberries look very happy in their new bed.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Flo
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Re: Compost

Post: #284456 Flo
Tue May 12, 2015 8:05 am

I'm afraid that unless you use peat based compost you are going to get bags which are more recycled material than compost. Due to the demand it seems that there is not enough time to get the recycled items properly composted. So it's ethics against rubbish it seems. It's maybe that you got old stock as some of the newer J Arthur Bowers 3 for £10 from our local garden centre seems a little better this year. I got the kids to bring me a couple of bags of Levington's compost for the back garden earlier in the year and though it wasn't twiggy - well I can make better compost myself up the allotment.

Pick of the bunch is Humax, good but expensive and great for seedlings followed by J Arthur Bowers Traditional compost. Both peat based. Ethically bad but good for seeds.

ina
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Re: Compost

Post: #284457 ina
Tue May 12, 2015 12:32 pm

Last year, I mainly used the free stuff from the council - mixed with coir for the seed trays. Had no major problems with it. This year I thought - well, I should at least buy a bag of seed compost to give them a proper start... Bought one at Lidl's (cheap, cheerful and a smallish bag, important when you are carrying it on the bus!) - and it is not doing my brassicas any good! The lettuce looks fine on it, though. So I thought, maybe the pH of that is too low? The council compost is a very high, which is why I thought I'd invest in a bag of "proper" compost, but it seems that was not a good move. And I know brassicas prefer it higher...
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Re: Compost

Post: #284460 The Waxbill
Wed May 13, 2015 10:22 am

I found the Lidl multi purpose compost quite good this year. It's in 60lt bags for 4euro. It seems to be peat based but with a good loamy soil content in it too (supposedly this is John Innes No.2). I bought some of the Verve multi purpose from B&Q last year but thought it was poor, lots of lumps of twigs, very similar to the council mulch/compost which you can get for free.

ina
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Re: Compost

Post: #284463 ina
Wed May 13, 2015 3:20 pm

The Waxbill wrote:I found the Lidl multi purpose compost quite good this year. It's in 60lt bags for 4euro. It seems to be peat based but with a good loamy soil content in it too (supposedly this is John Innes No.2).


They do peat-based and peat-free here... The peat-free isn't that great, but I've used it to top up my raised beds on occasion.
Ina

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Re: Compost

Post: #284484 doofaloofa
Fri May 15, 2015 8:15 pm

I get the lidl/Aldi MPC

I use it as a base and add other ingredients to suit the plant I'm propagating
ina wrote: die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln

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Re: Compost

Post: #284497 Odsox
Mon May 18, 2015 9:20 am

OK, the test results are out, and the conclusion is .... you get what you pay for. :iconbiggrin:

These tomatoes were all sown at the same time, potted up at the same time and grown on in exactly the same conditions.

There are 2 different varieties here, the left hand 2 are Gardeners Delight and the right hand 4 are Ferline, and all have been fed Tomorite since the first truss set
The middle 3 were potted up with Lidls Grandiol Multi-purpose peat free compost that was two something for 60 litres
The 2 on the right and the one on the left were potted up in Westland peat based multi-purpose compost that was €15 for 3 x 60 litres, so about twice the price.



Compost.jpg
Compost.jpg (200 KiB) Viewed 1765 times
Tony

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doofaloofa
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Re: Compost

Post: #284498 doofaloofa
Mon May 18, 2015 9:43 am

It's good Tony, but what it really needs is a pie chart
ina wrote: die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln

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Green Aura
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Re: Compost

Post: #284502 Green Aura
Mon May 18, 2015 10:26 am

The difference is incredible. I've been quite interested to read the difference experiences folk in different areas have with the same brand though.

It doesn't seem to guarantee the same quality if you recommend a brand, as it seems people in other countries/regions may not get the same stuff. :roll:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Compost

Post: #284504 Odsox
Mon May 18, 2015 11:15 am

I'm sorry, I should have posted this before, but I forgot that I'd done it ... my memory is REALLY crap nowadays
I wondered for some time why those tomatoes in the middle were such poor specimens, thinking that I may have labelled the varieties wrong at the seedling stage.
But my good old gardening diary came to the rescue. I was looking for something entirely different when I came across my notes about trying Lidls compost versus my normal compost, and it all suddenly made sense.
Every day is real adventure for me now. :lol:
Tony

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