Non peat based composts

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Primrose
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Non peat based composts

Postby Primrose » Sun May 23, 2021 5:56 pm

I know we,ve discussed this in the past but I read the other day about the government's plan to ban the sale of peat free compost to garden centres for public users , and ultimately to large commercial horticulturalists

I understand the need to protect peat bogs but have to say my experience with non peat based compost posts in the past has been less than satisfactory.with generally very low germination ratesfor lots of different seeds. I,ve also found it difficult to maintain the right level of moisture consistent with good germination.

I don,t think I,ve used non peat based compost for a couple of years after some disillusioned experiences so wonder if later versions on the market have improved. Having discussed with other gardening friends it seems I'm not alone in poor germination experiences so where do we go from here if non peat based is all we can buy in future?

Sadly unlike Monty Don most of us don't generate enough home produced compost to avoid buying it commercially.
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Compo
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Re: Non peat based composts

Postby Compo » Sun May 23, 2021 9:08 pm

I have not used peat based for a long time. Living in Somerset the peat extraction does leave water habitats for lots of wildlife, but as we know it is not carbon neutral, and can never be replaced.

I do find it hard to find a peat compost that I like, as most stockists sell what they can get hold of, rather than having preferred brands. But I do manage to grow everything I need to in it with fairly decent results. I think that when peat becomes unavailable, market forces will force the quality and variety upwards.

I do make home made compost, but find it only suitable for soil conditioning and I am not competent enough to make it weed free.

I am sure it will be the topic of discussion as peat becomes less available
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Colin2016
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Re: Non peat based composts

Postby Colin2016 » Tue May 25, 2021 8:55 am

I have no idea if using without peat has any effect on growing yields or failures,

Most of my compost (hot) is home made 5 off pallet size squares, 1 water butt size.

I have brought 1 builders size bag of mushroom compost and 15 off (75lt) clover compost which states includes peat from Ireland.

I do not think I will have any problem when peat is removed but suspect cost will go up.

My main concern is that compost does not contain weed killer.
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Re: Non peat based composts

Postby JohnB » Sun May 30, 2021 8:29 am

Peat-free composts will become the only available medium for growing; says Monty Don. On our allotment we have done a few VERY SIMPLE trials, mainly a few seeds from the same packet in 3 or 4 different growing media. We found the best seedlings all round were from the peat based compost, especially if it was mixed with sharp sand. Own made compost was not too bad, but germination was a bit hit and miss. Worst of all was a compost that was reclaimed green waste. The main problem was aminopyralid weedkiller in the stuff from people treating lawns presumably, as this is about the only source for gardeners, and putting the mowings in the waste bin. All bought-in compost now goes through a simple routine. fill a few pots, and sow a single broad bean in each pot. If aminopyralid (clopyralid) is there, within 4 weeks the bean will develop curled and weak leaves.
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Re: Non peat based composts

Postby Primrose » Sun May 30, 2021 12:17 pm

My only comments about any kind of compost at the moment is that we acquired a new bag of unknown origin from our village store recently. I sowed some cosmos seeds in it and put the container on my window ledge. Not a single seed has germinated and the compost in the container seems to be crawling with little black flies. I have a plague of ants whixh also seem to have emanated from the same source. Heaven only knows what happening in the main bag stored in my potting shed area!,

If the whole bag is contaminated in this way how do I best treat it or dispose of it as I can see the problem growing worse the longer it's stored? Will tipping it out o to my compose heap eventually cause the infections to dissipate?
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Re: Non peat based composts

Postby snooky » Sun May 30, 2021 6:41 pm

At the beginning of the season I couldn't buy my usual multi purpose compost from my favourite garden centre so off I toddled to another and bought their own brand,which I had used before, 3x 70 litre bags £15.I didn't realise that they had changed the formula.It is now 70%peat 30% other,the other being that compressed shredded wood similar to what Wickes changed to over ten years ago -and it smelled of "chemicals".Not happy but gave it a go both "straight" and after I had sieved the wood out of it to use just the peat content.Plants and seeds did not take off at all so I have had to make second sowings in proper compost and like the Wickes compost use the remainder as a soil conditioner
Moral of the story:-check formula of ANY compost these days to get what you want before you buy.
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