London (change)
Today 11°C / 8°C
Tomorrow 11°C / 4°C
1 to 20 of 25 messages
26/06/2014 at 11:16


In regards to my last post, I'm now getting my materials together plant the currents, all I need to do is get my hands on soil (450L) as I'm wishing to use my own fertilizer I do not wish to use a soil which contains fertilizers, as you can assume, all the soils I'm finding contain fertilizers.  



My question is: Can anyone recommend a good soil which does not use fertilizers. 

 Thank you

26/06/2014 at 11:52

Chris, This must be impossible as all soil will contain some matter which could be classed as fertiliser. You would need to prove where the soil came from, a lot comes from new build fields that are stripped down to clay and the soil sold, it could contain anything.. A very deep dig would probably get you some virgin soil which would contain practically no nutrients and would be virtually useless as a growing media. Why must it be your own fertiliser and where does that fertiliser come from that makes it special, I fail to see the point and having never heard of any one supplying this type of soil cannot help, just very curious?


26/06/2014 at 12:14

Hi Chris - just a thought - are we getting confused with our terminology here?  Are you confusing 'soil' and 'potting compost'? 

26/06/2014 at 12:18

You certainly do not want a soil that has no basic fertility.  Pure peat is the nearest you will get and aside from the ecological considerations it has inherent problems as to drying out and shrinkage.

26/06/2014 at 12:49


Perhaps I have nothing to fear but im, worried that I will get my hands on a potting soil which contains a fertiliser and then ill add more (blood,fish,bone) which may make the soil 'too rich' is it possible to make this mistake? 

Im a newbie so excise and correct my ignorance. 

Ive got two bags at the moment, one is 'canna - terra professional' and the second bag is 'oak tree productions- horse poop compost' it also contain a little lime

26/06/2014 at 12:54

Chris, where are you planting your currants - straight into garden soil, or a raised bed or other container?

26/06/2014 at 13:04


I'm planting them in a galvanised water trough (obviously ass add holes) 

26/06/2014 at 13:45

So pretty much the same as a raised bed then - when I filled my raised beds I used  a mixture of about half and half topsoil and well-rotted farmyard manure - both bought in bags from the GC.

 I then treat them as I would the rest of the garden, adding Fish, Blood & Bone at planting time and later on using tomato or other fertiliser as appropriate.

Each year in the early spring before planting/sowing time I dig in another bag of FYM as I do with the ordinary veg patch. 

In the past I've found that if you use bagged potting compost from the garden centre for long term jobs like raised beds the structure breaks down and it becomes thin and dusty after a couple of years. 

Hope that helps 


26/06/2014 at 13:53

Yeah that's very help full!

Would the plants still grow if the compost became thin? 


26/06/2014 at 14:12

Sorry for asking another question but would topsoil - rotted manuar and a fertiliser work for currents? (long term)

26/06/2014 at 14:20

Q. 1 - They wouldn't grow very well in thin and dusty compost - that's why plants that are in containers long-term either need a soil-based John Innes type compost (which would be expensive in large amounts) or they need repotting with fresh compost - I would say annually. 

Q 2 - Yes, that's what they would get if planted in a patch isn't it?  If you were planting them in a veg garden you'd dig lots of organic matter (manure) into the soil and then plant.

My only concerns about your container are:

  •  I would put a few inches of coarse gravel in the bottom to aid drainage, 
  • I would worry about the metal of the container heating up and scorching the roots.  Can you line it with some polystyrene packing sheets to protect the roots?


26/06/2014 at 15:09

Right Chris, I have the idea, never be afraid of asking as many times as needed, some one will know and it is what this forum is for.

Currants of any colour are shallow rooted, the best planting time between October and March although container grown ones can go in anytime. They hate bad drainage though if the soil is too thin they will have a short life. Enhance the soil with plenty of compost mixed with manure and because of the shallow rooting mulch often. A dusting of organic fertiliser in spring with some Potash added, keep well watered especially black currants.

I personally would not grow them in a container they could need staking, birds love them so netting may be needed, after a frost it pays to heel them in as they can lift.

Pruning, cut down to a few inches after planting so the roots can establish, there after cut out about one third of the last years wood in Autumn, red and white currants cut back around half of the old wood in winter. Cut back all the shoots to about one third after fruiting.

They can be high maintenance to get the best from them, who said gardening was easy?


26/06/2014 at 16:57

Aiding in drainage - don't worry about that, I'm placing the trough on three solid concret blocks so some sections will not be touching the ground. 

The roots- I never thought that would be a problem but I can line the trough I also have some other ideas to stop this. 


The trough is 8 feet long, by 18 inches wide by 16 inches deep(this would be £120 by my friend is selling one to me for £50)


I really don't know what to grow them in anymore but by the sounds of thing I'll go for 100l compost, 150l horse poop and 200l top soil, With a fertiliser when needed. Does that sound good? 


The currents are out at the moment in the pots they came in, so far the birds haven't even looked at them, I'll be happy to get  netting if needed. I personly want to keep them in the container.

26/06/2014 at 17:48

Chris, Any good mix of soil manure and grit, I buy small bags of small grit and mix it in everything especially seed sowing. The birds will only eat the nearly ripe fruit that is when to net them, a flock of Starlings stripped my bushes after getting under the net. Do not fill the trough to the top leave plenty of room to top up with a mulch as containers will dry out quite quickly in full sun. Currants will be happy in partial shade and you may need to use some kind of support for them and the nets later.

In the Autumn ask again about pruning it is essential for the next years growth.


26/06/2014 at 23:30

Sorry for not replying! Thank you all for being patient and helping me. 

Yep, I'll go for the netting as soon as but I'll look out for somthing a little more bird friendly perhaps a wire meshing(small gaps) 

a mulch sounds great, ill make sure to leave a four inch gap from the lip and I'll keep the mulch from touching the stems.

27/06/2014 at 00:30



So sory my friend but.  I am at a loss at understanding what exactly you are aiming for.  Forgive me, but in no way am I promoting my status.  See my profile.  Also I am in part a plant pathologist.   I am so sorry friend.  Perhaps your post/question might be elaborated upon.  OK I understand that a visit to the local garden center will provide you with many bags of compost for this and that.  Perhaps one needs to discern just what compost is?  Then back to the bagged items.  Most have various chemicals added.  So why the the problem.  I the UK there exist very stringent measures etc.  Pardon me for saying.  Might you have wandered into an area where you truly are an infant?  Truthfully, as far as I know.  There doesn't exist a compost that lacks additives. If you wish to use only the basics. Then believe me friend.  I have spent a long life-time researching this kind of area.  Might I ask you.  How good are you at biology, botany and general if not basic chemistry?.  Truthfully and without wishing to down in any way your question.  The only plausible answer is to be.  Research and put together a concoction of numorouse chemicals and apply. Might I respectfully add.  Totting up the individual cost of each ingrediant shal we settle for around eigty to one hundred pounds, with lots of unused chemicals left over. Now take the marketed products. Thankfully in this country.  MAFF etc take a strong hold.  For under twenty pounds you can get all you need.

27/06/2014 at 16:31

A reply to the above mail would be this forum is for learners to ask questions, the answers they do not know hence the question. Some of the more experienced or not gardeners to answer such questions and also learn from the experience of other gardeners who have made their mistakes and pass them on and who among us never made a mistake, I certainly have.

Many of the young  people today did not have the type of education we old lags had including science physics experimentation and how to research, not their fault just a broken system. My point being we should give a straight answer to the question or request more information even not answer rather than cause people to not ask. It took me a while to work out what Chris was doing and would probably work in a different way but who is to say he is wrong, I think we all wonder what goes into compost and after some of the debacles with chemicals over my life time who is to say he is wrong to worry.


27/06/2014 at 16:43


"experiment, fail, learn, repeat." it may sound odd but I'd rather fail first time and get it perfect the second time then not experience failure at all.

While the advice I've gotten has been incredibly helpful (thank you all) I am going to follow it but I will be using a little

27/06/2014 at 16:47

..... Of my own judgment, if this ruins everythingthen I'll learn from It and I'll try again. 

Today I gave the branded compost to a friend and I've gotten my hands on composted poop from a poo pile(don't worry it well composted). I've also spoken to a stable manager who has done the same thing as me but he's growing some kind of flower. 



27/06/2014 at 16:48

^ it's been a long day please excuse my grammar. 

1 to 20 of 25 messages