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Waterbutts, how do you use your garden compost? Do you use it for seeds, cuttings, potting etc, or just on the garden? And if you do use in pots, etc, what do you mix it with? I am an avid compost maker, even gathering my neighbours' garden waste, and never seem to have enough for the garden, but would love to use it for all of my potting/growing needs, and import manure for the garden. There seems to be so much conflicting advice on this use of home-made compost.
Not getting into the debate. All compost seems to be crap these days, (other than that made at home, carefully, with the right 'crap' of all kinds!) no consistency from bag to bag and very variable results, sometimes smelly and mouldy, even from trusted brands.
I also would dearly like advice on sterilizing compost for greenhouse use.
Did see this link yesterday, though
Looks interesting, going to do more reading and checking, but is giving ideas fro my own mix.
I use it for everything. If I'm planting seeds I mix it with a little good quality soil and a bit of vermiculite if I have any to hand. My thinking is that plants grow in nature in spite of the conditions that they find themselves in, so anything I do can hardly be worse.
I don't claim to have fantastic results with my seed sowing, but I'm happy with what I manage to produce. At the moment, I have just potted up about 100 big blue scabious seedlings into their own little pots. They came from a couple of plants that are already in the garden. If, at the end of a wet and mouldy winter, I have fifteen or sixteen that I can grow on to become full sized plants, I shall have more than enough to see me through the next year.
No, you are right, there is never enough compost. There is never enough soil, even though the garden is full of it!
It's a sad fact that we are being kept in the dark about compost. I have no axe to grind with anyone. I just want to know what I am using is safe, and getting that answer is impossible. The government has invested a lot of money in these composting sites. They are trying like mad to not only to make a return on investment, but to get rid of the dam stuff.Many of the tests carried out are by government funded institutes..which says it all. Take a look at this link. It's against pesticides and it shows thir findings on clopyralid, the weed killer that is used on every lawn in the UK and carted off to be composted. You will notice that for cancer, liver disease and many life threatening illnesses there are no results. A failure by government to carry them out? I am not a green activist, but in my lifetime ( I'm and old git now!) have seen so many government projects that have been launched, that they have swarn are safe and unrelated to health issues, that over time have proved incorrect and people have suffered. Are these products with their residual chemicals really safe to grow food in? And we havent even touched on the heavymetal content which the government knows is a problem with mass composting.
Right, I'm really p'd off now. Twice have tried to send long answer back to Blisters , when tried to send, has been deleted. 2hrs wasted as not good typist! I wouldn't mind if moderated first, but they just disappeared into the ether. Someone tell me they are here somewhere. And for a change they were relevant and serious. (I'm not as thick as you all think!) And the bugger is, I haven't even checked on Tea yet!
gardenjeannie (OT) write your responses in notepad, wordpad or in a word processor first. Then you can prune, hack, spell-check add subtract etc. Then you can cut and paste your immaculate and beautiful prose in to the web forum, (loike whot i have just done) without worries that you might lose it.
Back to the original discussion .....
After experiences with multi purpose compost containing uncomposted garden cane, bulbs, chipboard etc , I vowed to only use John Innes loam based seed compost. Over past few years, despite it being seed compost, I have found that I have to sieve it , producing large percentage of large lumps - twigs, coir etc etc. For past few years I have regularly written to the long established company that makes this. I send a sample, they send a voucher with a letter saying , there was a problem with the sieving process in that batch. This year I just couldn't be bothered. I didn't raise seedlings, I bought from my local independent nursery. He uses some compost that is only available o the trade - no problems. It is great to recycle and be green I have been doing it for years but I feel us public are sold a lot of trash under the pretence of recycling / organic / green! I did used to compost my own kitchen waste but it encouraged rats, in a small garden it was not very acceptable.
Neighbouring allotments have had the problem of manure contaminated with weedkiller The seeds of New Zealand "spinach", a popular cattle feed pass through the cow undigested. My allotment is covered with this weed!
.....and possibly sieving it is more likely to make an aerosol containing pathogens?
Motherbear, ask your nursery if he will sell you some pro compost.I have been using Levington M3. It was a revelation after all the other stuff I have been using for the past two years, including the levington multipurpose in red bags sold by garden centres.I know someone who buys it by the palletload, and sells me some.
Allotment associations can buy this by the palletlload too.
Interesting read, i am too new to gardening to have formed an opinion, but from talking to my dad, he is adament that peat free is poor and his local allotment association only stock peat free, this is down to "save the world dogooders" who run the allotment shop.
I recall reading in one of the garden mags recently that the head honcho at T&M will not use peat free due to results in their testing, just had a quick google and not been able to find the article.
I don't know if anyone picked up on this, but a few weeks ago on Beechgrove, Jim was quite comfortable with stating that he uses a peat mix for some of his plants (cuttings possibly) and will continue to do so.
I have recently discovered Beechgrove, very interesting and informative program. Dare I say it easier to watch then GW!
Yes Fairygirl i noticed that, he almost apologised for using it, shows what a mad world we live in where people feel the need to apologise for not comforming with others views.
Being a save the world dogooder I can't and won't agree with the commercial cutting of peat for use in anything. Whilst peat cutting was done traditionally (IE by hand) it was almost sustainable. Many natural wetland habitats around the world are being destroyed by gardeners (buying peat-based compost). I wish that was an exageration -
"Almost 40 percent of Ireland's bogs were destroyed between 1995 and 2012, according to the BBC. And because peat takes a very long time to form, once the bogs are damaged, they can take up to 100 years to regrow." http://www.livescience.com/38498-ban-on-turf-cutting-peat.html
It's akin to building raised beds out of mahogany or teak and all so a few, pretty seedlings can survive/thrive in an alien environment and be enjoyed by one or two very selfish people.
A lot of people, in my experience, are too eager to either take shortcuts without thought of consequence or bury their heads in the sand to the damage they are contributing to.
The last part of my post also applies to the OP about the mass manufacture of "compost" in heated sheds.
And I should add my post wasn't aimed at any of you
Oh and some more reading from a trusted source - the national trust (pun intended)
I wrote to Jim on Beechgrove, and unlike some RHS folk he did write back. However as you can imagine he can't give his own opinion, so they conduct tests. By this I mean that Beechgrove will bring in several different composts at the beginning of the season. (unbranded) But they tell you what's in them ie 50% peat, non peat, wood etc Then they plant into them and show you over several shows how they are performing.
At Harrogate the RHS chap told me that Peter seabrook was one of the main people who was anti municiple composting...however I have not been able to establish if this is true