Peat free composts

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Colin Miles
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Peat free composts

Postby Colin Miles » Mon May 13, 2019 7:55 am

Hi guys - a long time since I last posted. Not doing as much gardening as I used to. But on Friday I shall be going to a talk on peat free composts. Doing a search I found a comment by Johnboy from a couple of years ago which basically said they were still rubbish. So I wondered what the latest thoughts/results are on these.
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Diane
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Diane » Mon May 13, 2019 8:30 am

Looking forward to hearing the results of the talk. There seems to be so many different compost mixes nowadays.
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tigerburnie
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby tigerburnie » Mon May 13, 2019 11:51 am

I think it's fair to say most bags of compost sold these days are rubbish, or at least 50% seems to be bits of twigs and other uncomposted rubbish.
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Gerry
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Gerry » Mon May 13, 2019 12:51 pm

The vast majority of peat free composts are not composted. I saw a program a while ago, allbeit about Canada,which showed that peat bogs are sustainable. It was however stating that it was about huge areas.
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Colin Miles
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Colin Miles » Mon May 13, 2019 3:51 pm

tigerburnie wrote:I think it's fair to say most bags of compost sold these days are rubbish, or at least 50% seems to be bits of twigs and other uncomposted rubbish.

I am using a 120lt bag of Verve multipurpose compost from B&Q which is 58% peat and I have been impressed by it. Unlike most composts that I have used it has very little twiggy bits or anything 'large'. Not too sure of the nutrient content as I haven't really tested the plants for that, but everything has grown well in it, apart from the complete failure to germinate of some Hurst Greenshaft Peas. Probably out of date.
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Westi
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Westi » Mon May 13, 2019 7:22 pm

John Boy still pops on now & again so maybe you could pm him to see if he has anything to add to that older post?

We've all moved on from then, as have the suppliers but for my input I get a good compost one year, but when I buy it the next year it is rubbish. I think that may be word of mouth demand to get good compost so they over commit (read greedy) & their supply doesn't meet demand so they shove in not quite ready just to get the orders out. Just an opinion mind, but got awful compost this year & have had multiple sowing failures. Maybe the trick is to just rotate the suppliers & cross your fingers it is their year! I know you can sieve it but then one bag does not give you enough to fill more than couple of pots & I've paid for a lot more than that!
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Monika
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Monika » Mon May 13, 2019 9:38 pm

Well said, Westi. I have also had some disappointments this year with a name I have always trusted, so have now bought three different bags of potting compost and mix them in the wheelbarrow before using them. I wish the horticultural trade would get its act together and establish a common standard for seed and potting compost on the line of proven John Innes composts! I can understand the difficulty because the raw material presumably differs from year to year, but as it is, the customers is completely at the mercy of the manufacturers.
Unfortunately, we do not produce enough of our own compost to avoid having to buy bags.
As for your original question, Colin: I have tried peat free composts and have found them most awkward to cope with, especially for watering.
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robo
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby robo » Mon May 13, 2019 10:05 pm

I mostly buy John innes no.3 but there are quite a few different makers and some of it is crap
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Geoff
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Re: Peat free composts

Postby Geoff » Tue May 14, 2019 7:34 am

I've bought two peat based composts this year. Jack's Magic has a great texture but I'm not totally convinced it is growing things very well. Erin Multipurpose is very dry and lumpy and quite hard to control the watering but I think things are growing better in it. I have clubroot so I raise all my brassicas as far as 3½" pots in peat based compost, they seem to grow well in a 50/50 mixture of these two with added phosphate, FBB, lime and sharp sand mixed up in my rotasieve. Everything else is grown in home made mixtures; the commonest one is 5 parts soil, 2 parts leafmould and ½ part sharp sand though sometimes I use some of the peat compost in the mix. Again mixed up in the rotasieve.
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