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My new compost bins arrived today after taking artjaks advice... yet once again so you know what I will be reading up on tonight
Question regarding using your own compost. I'm always left wondering when Monty Don uses his own in pots; doesn't it have to be sterilised? Surely it's full of weed seeds, slug eggs etc.
If you have 'hot' composted then there is no need to sterilise. When you add green waste especially grass cuttings the good bacteria create heat that will cook any seeds and slug/eggs. That is why you often see the heap steaming. Sterilising the compost will destroy any bacteria including the good ones in the compost. The good bacteria will destroy most pathogens so you will be doing more harm than good.
Only sterilise compost if you think that there is a disease in it. Perhaps you put plant cuttings in it that you later found out had a disease. Even then sterilising may not kill the disease. It is best removed and not used at all.
Remember certain bacteria and fungi are needed for healthy growth. If those are not present the plant will struggle.
If you are unsure then you could microwave small bags for a couple of mins or use a steam cleaner.
Ah, I see what you're saying Edd but my garden is only tiny and so my composting is done in a compost bin which does not get hot. I've got a very old book (1920) which deals with sterilising compost . . . I guess gardening was hard work back in those days.
Does anyone know if bags of compost go 'stale'?
I have opened bags of compost, farmyard manure, peat and a box of bonemeal that have all been hanging around the garden for a few years.
They've been kept dry, but have been baked in the summers and frozen in the winters, so is it all still good to use? There's not much of a smell to any of it, even the bag of manure.
The problem with mp compost from say BQ is that like most big suppliers there is no date of when the compost was produced, so you really don't knothole old it iis.
The last lost of mp compost I brought was from Homebase .I find this quite good and well broke down.
The best place to buy would be your local garden centre as they will give you good advice on its uses and also would attempt to supply you with new instead of old supply
Also have a go at producing your own as its amassing the good quantity you can produce from 1or2 compost bins as long as you follow some simple processess
Angela, with a good mix even a black darlik can get hot in the summer.
I have opened bags of peat based compost to find it has a strange odour
I would normally leave it to dry out in a dry area then check the compost again
It should all be fine Tomsk, as it has been kept dry. It's only if it's left outside in the rain for a long time that you get issues as the nutrients can get washed out. If any of the peat has dried out completely though, then you might have trouble wetting it.
Well! quite a mixed bag of compost...sorry, comments. In the past I have made do with whatever has been to hand. Let's be honest. Most of todays products are marketed to be attractive to the eye and have enticing slogans. I've raised seeds and plants in basic leaf mould. I had a friend, a fuchsia grower in Kent. He used to get a local dairy farmer to drop a load of cow dung to his nursery. That was all he would use. I have tried Levingtons. OK fo lime loving subjects. OK. I tried B&Q own composts. Cheap yes. Lots for your money and various special offers. However I fond most, very dusty/dirty. To explain. I could imagine the various staff members of office cleaning firms. At the end of their shifts. Emptying the vacs into a big container. That's it. I have to admit. I have never carried out any scientific tests analysis etc on any commercial composts. I have experienced being choked by the dust given up by many ones such as B&Q. also somewhat dangerouse. I have found many steel bristles from the sweepers, in the compost. Many of these composts, I would have to add my own additions, so that at the end of the day. I would be out of pocket. The most reliable one that I have found and use for everything is. J.Arthur Bowers general purpose compost. From seed sowing to planting out, even for bulking up the garden soil.
If your garden soil dried out or got frozen, would you throw it away?
I wonder if most composts come from the same factory and is sold in different bags maybe monty don could do some tests
Zoomer, Black Darlek's are great - I've got one in the church garden and it heats up nicely. My home one though is aluminium. It was the only square one I could get that fits a corner where the landscaper left a flag out for me to put a compost bin. It had to have straight sides so as to fit in the corner. As you know many of them are a graded width (goodness knows why). Anyway, it doesn't get even warm on the hottest days so far as I can see.
Is normal A4 copier paper OK to put in a compost bin? I have the best part of a ream of old A4 that's been left exposed for years to cigarette smoke and kitchen steam. The edges are a bit dented, it's no longer pure white and it smells!
I was going to put most of it in the recycle bin, but is this kind of paper good for compost 'browns' or are there unwanted chemicals in it? My compost is rather green-heavy at the moment so I need something to make it lighter and fluffier.
Maybe if you run it through a shredder first of all and feed it in bit by bit?
I just invested in a composter, so wont have my own until next year.
I just bought 1200 litres of compost from all kinds of sources in the last 2 weeks. Wilko, Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons were my choices. I did not buy from B&Q as they had no small bags, only those large bags of 80 and 120 litres or more. I am a little woman just over 5 foot. I cannot lift those. Their prices were OK though.
Wilko: the yellow 15 litre bags for £1.00 are only good for throwing on heavy clay soil or using as a bottom filler in a very high-rise bedding arrangement. The stuff is very light and dry. Needs lots of water. It has larger bits in it. The bigger white bag selling 3 for £10 is also filled with some light stuff that needs to be wet up before anything can be done with it. But it’s definitely better that the £1 bag. But both are quite similar.
I also bought from Wilko the John Innes seeding compost. I was not impressed. Too many large bits like stones and thick twigs in it.
I have the John Innes 2 and 3 but have not yet used it.The Wilko graded top soil is excellent.Morrisons multi purpose compost is great for filling up a bed. But not as cheap as Wilko.
Used Westland seeding compost. Much better than John Innes. Hardly any large bits. I got that from Wilko too.
Aldi had some general compost and their grow bags. My goodness, the soil was black, not brown like the stuff from Wilko. To me it seems like the stuff is going to do well. I mixed that into the high rise bed as well and used it in potting up some plants as well. It has this composty smell. Nice.
Then picked up some from Lidl today. The compost is very good quality.
Also got chipped bark from Wilko and from Lidl. The one from Lidl smells woody as if they were just made. Unlike those from Wilko which has no smell.For the high bed I mixed up lots of different composts, added some Growmore and left it covered up with black material to sit and warm up. The water was quite cold when I set up the bed. Now I will plant my various types of strawberries and Garlic into one, and squashes, melons etc. in the other one. I cannot wait for summer.
I also mixed up different types of compost in my potato barrels and super grow sacks for the tomatoes and various peppers and for my large planters for the herbs and small peppers.
Martel, I bought some Asda compost last week and only realised later that it was peat! No wonder you thought it looked good but we shouldn't be buying peat. I'll have to find a different compost source.