Where do you get your compost

Watching GW last night I was amazed at the amount of compost Monty goes through. Even his Boxes seemed to be growing in pure compost. I know he has whopping great bins and has been making it for years (and probably gets some freebies from the manufacturers), but for me this is becoming more of a limiting factor than the plants. Even though I've got a couple of bins going at the allotment I don't think they are the best for containers and don't seem to go very far when spread on beds. The cost at garden centres can be quite high even though I usually look around for bargains. Buying a big delivered load would be quite a significant outlay and use up most of the budget for the summer though may be cheaper in the long run.
Wondering what the rest of you do. Are you spending more on compost than plants? Do you buy bulk - or make frequent trips to the GC? Are you self-sufficient, and if so HOW??
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
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  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    We're probably spending more on compost than (most) plants at the moment. But I've built five big (1.2m cubes) "New Zealand" bins so am hoping to be self-sufficient in a year or three. The problem at the moment is that most of the garden clippings are being used to make paths around the garden. I was happily self-sufficient in my previous garden.

    Buying in bulk sounds attractive but you can never be quite sure what you're buying or what diseases you're importing.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,714
    Monty buys his in lorry loads from his local council, he does make some but nowhere near enough for his large garden.
    i make a lot through the year, enough to cover my garden every winter, then start again ready for this coming winter. 
    I buy 60 bags a year of good stuff from the garden centre, that’s for seeds and cuttings, baskets tubs, I don’t use mine for that, I do use it in the GH for the tomatoes. 
    Ive used 9 bags already and I haven’t pricked out yet, apart from tomato plants. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,039
    My garden is approx 0.25 acre and over the last 5 years I have basically built it from a field. I have used (quite literally) tons of compost and compost/topsoil mix for the new borders. 

    This has been brought in by the truckload as each border was made. The 2 largest borders each required about 2.5 loads.

    Fortunately, we could afford to buy the compost in such large quantities and it is certainly much, much cheaper to buy these products loose by the cubic metre. However, if it cannot be tipped where you will be using it, you will need space to set aside an area for the lorry to dump it's load.

    Next cheapest is also to buy the compost in bulk - but, this time, 'loose packaged' in cubic metre builders' dumpy bags. This is much tidier than having a huge pile of compost / mulch on tarpaulin on your drive. Our local company have a hoist on their truck to lift the bags. You need to have an area available that the lorry can access with room to use the hoist and then leave the bag(s) in situ for a few days while you barrow the contents around the garden.

    Next cheapest is also a bulk buy - this time smaller bags like those sold in garden centres but you buy a whole pallet's worth. Again you need an accessible storage area. The lorry will usually deliver to the kerbside and use a small fork lift to manoeuvre the pallet into position. You can then break the pallet down (immediately if need be) and cart the bags to more convenient locations around the garden.

    Most expensive option is buying individual bags from the garden centre.

    Now my garden is up and running I have 4 large composting bins which produce sufficient compost for all border planting and for about two thirds of the annual mulching. Every other year I buy a cubic metre dumpy bag (about £80) of additional mulching material.

    For sowing and pots I just buy a couple of bags of multi-purpose compost from the garden centre (don't do baskets or use many pots - too much watering!).
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 1,436
    I would definitely say I spend more on compost than plants.   Trying to remedy the situation .
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,472
    I have a small garden and have spent the last five years improving the soil with large amounts of bought compost and manure. Now the soil is in better shape I hope to be able to make most of my own and buy in a bit of manure to mix into it. We have free council give away compost but I don't like the stuff.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,714
    Our council won’t let us buy it, they had some complaints and she said they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of it, they put it on roundabouts and municipal gardens. 

    I couldn't get the compost I like for seed sowing in bulk, so have to buy bags.  IPSec do make enough rough compost for the garden. 

    I dont buy plants, so I don’t mind spending the money on good compost. 


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    We have free council give away compost but I don't like the stuff.
    I shudder when I think how much ground elder and dandelion root I took to the tip when I was clearing my last garden (previous owners not gardeners!). I only hope that the council was very good at composting!
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,039
    edited March 2018
    We have free council give away compost but I don't like the stuff.
    I shudder when I think how much ground elder and dandelion root I took to the tip when I was clearing my last garden (previous owners not gardeners!). I only hope that the council was very good at composting!
    Quite - some real horrors go in my council garden waste bin - celandine, ground elder, couch grass, creeping thistle, bramble seedlings, that little brown oxalis, nettle roots, bind weed etc etc - all the stuff I really dare not put in my own compost bins.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    @Topbird Oooh yes, bindweed too! I forgot about that one. We have not, yet, touch wood, seen any bindweed in our new garden <dances a jig>

  • My garden isn't big enough for composting or a GH,well it would be if hubby didn't want a hard stand for the car! So I just have to buy a couple of bags at a time,and keep it in a plastic bin.I couldn't lay my hands on seed compost,so used one a GC recommended,it was awful,too many bits of wood in it. Where years worth of decking has been removed,the soil underneath is excellent so might be able to use some,mixed with bagged compost for filling the urns
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
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