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Compost Woes - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Compost Woes
Well, the last of the annuals and herbs have been planted out today, before I go away on holiday. The reason it's taken so long is that, despite a fairly benign spring, the plants have generally been miniatures. I'm not sure what's gone wrong; I suspect the compost (Westland Earth Matters). It's worked fairly well as a seed compost, and I haven't had problems with damping off, but nothing has become root-bound in trays or pots, and it seems to me that it really hasn't had much in the way of nutients in it. (A quick search of Teh Interweb suggests that peat-free composts, which we're all encouraged to use, are still pretty inconsistent in their quality - certainly I've had good and bad experiences with them, though I think this year has been the worst. The trouble is that the garden centre keeps changing its stocks too, so even going back for one that was good isn't easy).

In other gardening news, I can't tell the difference between 'standard' and 'Thai' Basil this year, so either I sowed Thai Basil twice, or I've got a rather different variety than normal Basil. On the more obscure front, I'm trying out Savory and Costmary this year, as I've noticed both, particularly in my Roman cookery books I think, but it's not looking especially good for them at the moment. At least those plants look health, though tiny.

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thegreenman From: thegreenman Date: June 28th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
We've had problems with peat free composts as well. What little nutrients that are supplied soon leach out with the watering. We find we have to start feeding with a general purpose fertilser quite quickly to get decent results.

Recently we have started making our own potting compost with topsoil, leaf mould, sand and peat free. Gives a bit more oomph while still draining and aerating properly.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: June 28th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think I wasn't expecting to have to feed until the seedlings were more-or-less pot-bound, and they've never got that far.

Leaf mould is great but you need a 3-ish-year head start.

Out of interest, what sort of sand?
thegreenman From: thegreenman Date: June 28th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Garden centre/nursery type Sharp sand, horticultural, lime free I believe.
3 comments or Leave a comment