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Tomsk


Latest posts by Tomsk

Lidl Compost

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:09

I bought a bag of multi-purpose compost (not peat-free) from Aldi yesterday, and it smelt of Jeyes fluid or bitumen. Must be the same stuff Lidl have been selling.

It's almost black when it's soaking wet and the same colour when it's bone dry (unlike any other soil I've seen, which lightens when dry).

I bought a bag of the same stuff about four months ago and it was very different. Not the best, but quite woody and smelled of forests in the rain. That was OK for £2 but the bag yesterday was rubbish even for £2, and I worry about what's in it due to that smell. Not to mention what effect this might have on my fruit/plants.

The annoying thing is that most of my compost was J Arthur Bowers, and I only bought the Aldi bag to top up the last bits, thinking it would be good enough and save me another trip to the garden centre.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:03

Thanks for the replies, especially the thread about Lidl's compost having the same issue. This does suggest they both use the same supplier.

Unfortunately, I've already emptied the bag in my soil and pots, though I haven't mixed it into any soil beneath it. I'm uncomfortable with this compost, now that I know it certainly shouldn't smell of Jeyes fluid (and could even be oil contamination), and I certainly will never buy from Aldi again (nor try Lidl).

I think I'll leave things as they are for now, but once the plants in the relevant areas have died down, I'll scoop it all up and replace it with J Arthur Bowers. It costs three times as much, but this appears to be one of those occasions when you get what you pay for.

What I can say after a very hot day is that my own compost (made from vegetable waste) is very dark when damp but turns silver/grey when it dried out completely. The J Arthur Bowers is a very deep brown when wet but turns a reddish brown when dry. But this particular bag of Aldi's compost was almost black when it was wet and remains almost black when bone dry after a day of hot sunshine.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 20:25

It's very dark and, as you say, the chemical smell masks the smell of what it contains. I bought a bag from Aldi a few months ago and it wasn't like this. It had a very woody smell and was less powdery.

I didn't think it was the best compost, but I just needed one bag to top up a few dips in my soil and pots, and thought this would be good enough. I wasn't expecting the smell of Jeyes fluid.

I suppose all compost brands are a lottery, but this shows that the contents can change a lot in just a few months of the same year. It was only £2 for 40L. But next time, even if I just want a small amount to top something up, I'll spend £6 on a big brand like J Arthur Bowers.

My main concern is what effects the Jeyes fluid/bitumen could have on fruit & veg growing in it, or the wider health of the soil.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 18:41

I bought a bag of multi-purpose compost from Aldi today, and it has a clear smell of Jeyes fluid to it, or a similar bitumen smell.

I assume this cheap compost has been sprayed with something to kill the bugs rather than be heated like some of the big brands, but is this potentially harmful to plants or things you plan to eat? Could this stuff be to the detriment of better compost if mixed into it?

I got my hands very dirty fluffing it up from its compressed state and then topped up pots and planters, some by hand. Then I washed my hands thoroughly with shower gel, but a slight smell of Jeyes fluid lingers on my skin.

Last week I bought a few bags of J Arthur Bowers multi-purpose, which didn't have any artificial smell or leave a smell on my skin.

Wilting Dahlia

Posted: 26/06/2014 at 13:49

After a couple of days, the purple has turned a bit more red. I also notice that the yellow circle of 'dots' around the centre of the flower started turning fluffy around the edges and is steadily becoming fluffy toward the centre. I assume that once all of it has gone fluffy, the flower will start to die:

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/50852.jpg?width=350

 Best £2 I ever spent!

Wilting Dahlia

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 12:06

Thanks for all the compliments! For someone who's never been able to get anything to grow, I've had a good year in the garden, probably thanks to it being so warm after a mild winter.

The variety is supposed to be Fire & Ice, but what's grown doesn't look much like the picture on the packet. The flower was supposed to look like a red cross on mainly white petals, but this is purple with a white/lavender stripe on each petal. I much prefer this over how it was supposed to look, though.

Wilting Dahlia

Posted: 23/06/2014 at 19:12

To update this thread, the dahlia did all right in the end, so I don't know why it went a bit funny for a while.

I planted it in March and shoots first appeared on the surface in May. It's grown very quickly in the last month and this morning I got up to find its first flower had bloomed. It was just beginning to open last night, but was still pretty much closed. There are many other heads on the plant, which I'm now looking forward to flowering over the next couple of weeks:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/50413.jpg?width=427&height=350&mode=max

 

Using compost early

Posted: 21/06/2014 at 20:39

Would it be OK to use home-made compost created from old vegetable matter and garden cuttings/pruning that's only 90% rotted?

I need to fill a planter, and would like to mix the contents of my compost bin into three times as much compost bought from a garden centre. Ideally, I'd leave it to rot another month or two, but I need to fill the planter now.

It's pretty much mud/soil now, so almost ready to use, but when you turn it over with a fork you see the occasional half-rotted piece of vegetable or cuttings from trees and bushes. Nothing has been added to the bin for four months, and I started filling it 18 months ago.

If I can use it in a 2-feet deep planter, should I mix it evenly with the bags I buy, or use it as a layer at the top of bottom? The bags will be much lighter and fluffier than my own muddy compost.

Tomato

Posted: 21/06/2014 at 20:11

I'm not sure how tomatoes actually pollinate. Is there some kind of powder that grows on the leaves that, when you shake the vine, falls onto the flowers?

What I'm wondering is, what happens if you have small tomato plants of different varieties in pots next to each other, and they start flowering? Does this lead to cross-bred tomatoes or will I still end up with normal Marmande and Money Maker fruits?

Also, can you tell by looking at the leaves, flowers of stems before the fruits grow which variety you have? Sadly, I forgot to mark the pots and now they're mixed up (Marmande and Money Maker).

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 21/06/2014 at 20:01

I've never bought tomato feed before this Aldi stuff, but I thought 15ml per gallon sounded very good value?

I bought vegetable feed from Lidl before, and that was 1 large cap-full per 3L, which isn't as strong. I must compare Aldi's vegetable feed next time I'm there. I'll probably get another bottle of tomato feed because I'll use it on dahlias, gladioli and lilies as well as my tomatoes.

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