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Poor results from 'organic' compost again
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tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44282
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 1:04 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

I haven't used a peat compost since alternatives were available, I've not had much issue. I'm using B&Q peat free at the moment, big lumps of stuff in it but it seems to be working fine

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8698
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

worth knowing B&Q do peat free

last time I went to a big garden centre they didn't sell any peat free compost at all.

I'm not happy to use peat, and like you Tahir, I haven't used it since alternatives arrived.
I have found the feed merchants sell new horizon, so I got some there.

robkb



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 4205
Location: SE London
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I use New Horizon, haven't had any problems with it yet.

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We used New Horizon for several years, until we had several batches that killed off lots of seedlings at a crucial sowing time, so losing several important crops.
You could say i've become a convert to homemade compost the long way round.

Pilsbury



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 5645
Location: East london/Essex
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I am going to be using home made compost, finely sieved and mixed with 25% worm compost made by worm guys gift to me from last year.
Hopefully the boost from the worm casts will be what the seeds need.

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8698
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 13 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

OtleyLad wrote:
We used New Horizon for several years, until we had several batches that killed off lots of seedlings at a crucial sowing time, so losing several important crops.
You could say i've become a convert to homemade compost the long way round.


if you have had problems with two different kinds of compost, it is a possibility that it isn't the compost causing the problems - it has, for example, been a very cold spring and that can cause lots of problems to seedlings.

I'd be interested in anyone's tried and tested methods/ recipe for homemade peat free seed compost. I really should make my own, since I start just about everything in pots first.

sowitgrows



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 8:21 am    Post subject: quality of compost Reply with quote    

I have had "issues" with commercial composts for a while, the quality varies. After seed loss last year I have used John Innes for germinating and Morrisons and Aldi muti purpose, both ok for potting on aswell as Innes No. 2. This year have had very few failures, have started to add a little tomorite to those potted on in multi purpose when they have been in for a month or so. I try to get the plants as big as poss to avoid slug damage and it is very windy and cold here in Lancs so am waiting till next week to plant out french beans which are ready.Seeds seem to be fine in a finely seived multi purpose as, at that point they don't need nutrition, Innes has nutrition in to last a month or so for potting on purposes.Always clean your pots prior to planting seeds to avoid damping off and fungal infection, it really is worth the effort to do this. The problem with composts is that they can include all manner of stuff and the "grains" can be huge with bits of debris in etc.Sorry for long message, I would be interested in your views on composts and also when to feed the potted on plant.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12458
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
I've had good results from Arthur Bower (pink bag - seed and cutting compost??).
No idea what's in it, but it looks and feels disgusting. Cold, claggy, clay with gravel and grit. It forms a crust on the top of the pot, and grows a fine crop of fungi. But the seeds seem to like it (as they pointed out when I emailed, the mycelia are good for plants. They didn't adress the rest though).

I wish there were some way to see what you're getting!


I got some Bowers general purpose compost with pink flowers on the bag. Mine is mostly shredded wood with a rank chemical smell. I couldn't face using it for edible crops, so I bought some John Innes seed and cutting compost which is lovely stuff - runner beans and courgettes are growing like the clappers.

I used the Bowers for houseplants and it grew fairy toadstools. The plants seem OK.

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

marigold wrote:
NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
I've had good results from Arthur Bower (pink bag - seed and cutting compost??).
No idea what's in it, but it looks and feels disgusting. Cold, claggy, clay with gravel and grit. It forms a crust on the top of the pot, and grows a fine crop of fungi. But the seeds seem to like it (as they pointed out when I emailed, the mycelia are good for plants. They didn't adress the rest though).

I wish there were some way to see what you're getting!


I got some Bowers general purpose compost with pink flowers on the bag. Mine is mostly shredded wood with a rank chemical smell. I couldn't face using it for edible crops, so I bought some John Innes seed and cutting compost which is lovely stuff - runner beans and courgettes are growing like the clappers.

I used the Bowers for houseplants and it grew fairy toadstools. The plants seem OK.
I have noticed considerable variation in the consistency of the compost, most noticeably with Arthur Bowers composts.

Marigold -don't know what the smell was, but it wasn't the chemicals. The fact that toadstools appeared suggest that the organic component was alive and well. My theory is that the smell was the fungal mycelia digesting the compost.

John Innes contains chemical fertilisers, such as Calcium Hydrogen Phosphate and Potassium Sulphate, much the same as Arthur's stuff.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12458
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's not organic compost (not in the marketing speak sense anyway). My brother reckoned the smell might be the stuff added to some agrochemicals to give them a "don't eat/drink me" odour. Though why that should be added to compost is beyond me. The fungus theory is interesting and may be more plausible .

sowitgrows



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 3:13 pm    Post subject: john innes Reply with quote    

I didnt realise that J Innes had chemicals in!!! I will investigate further.Information can be obtained from www.johninnes.info/about.htm. I have had no problems with Bowers but I thought it was J Innes by another name.

Dreamcatcher



Joined: 04 Apr 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Brechfa Forest
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Have you tried a wormery?

It produces the best compost ever & liquid feed to boot

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

marigold wrote:
It's not organic compost (not in the marketing speak sense anyway).
Its "organic" by the biological definition. Most commercial general purpose compost is peat based, however, the peat content has to be reduced (EU regs). The alternative to peat will be some sort of composted (i.e. rotted) organic material, such as municipal green waste. That may very well continue to rot after its been packed.

If its organic (Soil Assn definition) then the fertilisers cannot be absorbed by the plants unless they have been broken down by bacteria and/or fungi.

ros



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 2469
Location: Beds
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 13 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

as an experiment this year I started most of my seeds in sieved soil from molehills - sent the kids to the village green with the whealbarrow. Everything seems to have come up OK so far - just the nasty weather slowing growth down a bit

b&q peat free for the chillis that were started earliest and they were fine

gray_b



Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Posts: 243
Location: Leafy Shires of the Midlands
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 13 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Surely organic compost should be made from organically produced green stuff. That is green stuff that has not been sprayed or treated ?? Because that defeats the object of organic.

I have been using just composted tree (cherry) chippings a small amount of lime and some bonemeal (proportions to suit). Perfectly OK for potting up shrubs and the likes. Holds the moisture and it is also free draining. Maybe not too great for seed sowing, as its too chippy.

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