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Compost - to sift or not?

So this autumn I managed to extract 20 litres of sifted compost from my pile but gave up at that point as it was doing my back in. I put plenty of decent compost back in. Do you sift compost for containers, or just for seed starting? What method do you use if you do sift?


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,166
    It depends on what you are using it for. Mostly I use it as a mulch, and I only remove large lumps that I can still identify, to throw back in the heap.  I buy multipurpose compost for sowing seeds in and potting on. Home made compost is usually deficient in nutrients , so seived stuff would be good for seed sowing, but not potting on.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,553
    Never ever sifted it, I mix it in with MPC for tubs and baskets, tip it on the ground to mulch over winter and to improve soil for next year.  I wouldn’t grow seeds in it anyway so no need to sieve. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks! What's MPC?
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 28,137
    Multi Purpose Compost
  • Thanks! I"LL have to see what the texture of my spring compost is and maybe get some coir to mix for containers
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,624
    I have sifted some of mine but, as you say, it's back-breaking work for very little result. I did about five wheelbarrowfuls before I gave up. I used it for dressing my newly-spiked grass, but it was very hard work. I buy mpc and JI2 for seeds and potting on because making your own is much harder than Monty would have you believe!
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,599
    Unless your heap reaches the sort of temperatures that commercial compost heaps do, then your compost is going to contain pathogens which would not do seedlings any good. To reach those temps you would need to turn your compost every other day.
  • Thanks, I'll just use it in containers and keep some MPC for carrot containers/seed trays then
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