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Hi All on this cold and frosty morning! I have read several discussions on these forums on good and bad composts to buy. My question is, does anyone out there use homemade composts using sifted garden compost (and additives?) to sow their seeds and pot up in the greenhouse?
I don't make my own, I use John Innes seed compost, or occasionally I'll use multi-purpose for large seeds like squash and courgettes.
I don't exactly make it but as I find JI seed a bit 'solid' I add some multipurpose and some fine grit. That makes it just as I like it
I think very few people make their own seed compost for several reasons - you need to sterilise the soil you need by heating it e.g. in a microwave to kill off harmful viruses ..; normal compost will be full of weed seeds which will germinate when used in a seed growing situation; you can't be sure of the nutrient levels in your soil - seedlings need a soil of low nutrient level.
I usually use a brand from Aldi with good results.
I'd go with nutcutlet..............using the JI seed compost but mix with fine grit or Vermiculite - makes a more manageable mixture for average seed sowing
I sieve my compost, mix with sharp sand and use it for sowing seeds. Any weeds that come up are usually after ( or easily distinguished from) the seed I have planted. If pulling up the weed will disturb your seedling, just cut the weed off at ground level with scissors. When you plant your seedling on, the root of the weed can be pulled away.
I have never used 'seed compost'.
Same as artjak, I use my own for easily recogniseable seeds, so that I can identify and pull out the weeds. I have a rotary sieve I use to break down my compost to a suitable size, like this one: http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/clarke-crs400-rotary-soil-sieve?da=1&TC=GS-030711400
Thank you everyone for that. Yes I have got some of last year';s seed potting compost which has been left out side so it sounds as if I might be best digging it in somewhere and starting again. I am tempted to try using my own sifted garden compost as an experiment and see how things go, bearing in mind I must keep an eye on the weeds that sprout too. I do hate disappointment though!
Hi everyone, has anybody tried their local council's compost, if so was it any good.
The problem with that is that someone may have used weed and feed products on their lawn, then put the cuttings in the council green waste bin.
Thanks artjak, never thought about feed and weed,will have to have another think about compost, maybe better to buy from garden centre.
Hello artjak, what is sharp sand?
Sharp sand comes in various grades - some are used in the building industry and may not be suitable for horticulture as it may not be coarse enough or may contain salt as it's obtained by dredging.
You can buy horticultural grade sand from GCs etc but it is much more expensive - many gardeners buy the building grade sand and leave it out in the rain to wash any contamination out.
If you're buying the building type check that it's a coarse grain.
Pauly, it is what my builder calls it. It is gritty sand. I had some left from a hard landscaping project and my builder who is a keen gardener said to use it to 'open up' compost and clay. I also use it to mix with compost for seeds and just about everything. I think it is about £1.30 or so from a builders merchant for a small sack; but much cheaper if you get them to deliver one of those huge 1 ton bags.
Thank you for the info artjak and Dovefromabove. What ratio would you use for a seed mix? I also had given to me a bag of John Innes young plant compost, would this be ok to use as a seed compost?
I wouldn't use it as seed compost - it'll have too many nutrients - but it'll be fine for pricking out and potting on so very useful
Thank you Dovefromabove i'll have to get a bag of seed compost soon or maybe I'll have a go at making my own.
bumping this up for Edd
Thanks again FG.
I bought some Westland Gro-Sure seed and cutting Compost 20L - 2 For £4 at Wilko and have to say it is fantastic stuff. I passed it through a 10mm hand sieve and it took longer to pour it into the sieve than it did to actually sieve it. There was only a handful of bits remaining in the top. I was going to pass it through a 5mm Sieve but there is absolutely no need. It must be a fresh batch as it is still warm. Lets hope it is just as good at germination. I recommend it so far.
I'm pretty sure the weed and feed breaks down after a short period of time - the stuff from my local tip is just as good in texture as the homebase multipurpose compost I have bought. I also use a sieve but I bought a hand held riddle - much cheaper and takes up less room in the shed than the fancy one on a stand if you arent using it 24/7 !