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How to make ericaceous compost?

I want to grow blueberries, so I would like to produce my own ericaceous compost, but for all my enquiries I cannot seem to find out how to do it! I am going to dedicate a pair of compost bins to this project, so if anyone can give me an idea of what to add to the pile I should be most grateful.

Posts

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,590
    I looked at that too, Capelglyn. First, take the contents of one peat bog - optional, depending on your conscience - add chipped pine bark and needles, spent coffee grounds and tea bags, oak leaf mould, water, mix well and leave a few years.

    Well, minus the peat bog you will get a slightly more acidic compost, but you will need to mix in leafy green material as well if you want to get the heap going properly. Ultimately it reverts to neutral, I believe. 

    Its much easier to buy your ericaceous compost and use acidic materials as an annual mulch.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,866
    You would be better off keeping your blueberries in tubs with bought compost and grow plants in your garden according to your soil. Never a good idea to try and change your soil. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • CapelglynCapelglyn Posts: 24
    Our veg garden is completely organic and has been so for 30 years. The ericaceous compost on the market does not comply with organic standards and I would not touch peat with a 10 mile barge pole! We are surrounded with pine woodland and have a fair share of bracken hereabouts on organic land, so will take your suggestions and have a go.
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 2,109
    If you have acidic soil (and I think you have, guessing from your name and locations mentioned in your other posts), you can grow blueberries in soil and mulch with garden compost to make it more fertile or moisture-retentive as needed.
  • HouseFinchHouseFinch British Columbia, Canada (Zone 5)Posts: 327
    Possibly a bit cheeky,...but why not just add some soil acidifier to some regular compost?

  • mrtjformanmrtjforman Posts: 331
    blueberries don't necessarily need a too acidic soil. I think drainage is quite important and anything rotting will help with that whether it's hay, leaves or pine needles.

    Otherwise sulphur is recommended but it seems to be harder and harder to get the stuff https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=82

    If you cane get a handful of soil from under a pine tree, add some rotten leaves to that I think you'd have your perfect mix as is.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,590
    The ‘take one peat bog’ was a joke, btw...

    Well if you have bracken nearby, it does sound as if you already have acid soil in your area. There are some excellent brands of peat-free ericaceous compost emerging on the market, and although they may not be certified organic, if they are made of UK-certified sustainably managed pine with some coir, also from a certified source, they are likely to be as organic as you can get. The RHS have endorsed SylvaGrow and Vital Earth brands, so if you need some in the meantime, check those out.

    I also garden organically, but as my ericaceous compost is locally made from locally grown pine that isn’t treated with any fungicide, pesticide etc., that’s good enough for me. I have also recently switched to locally produced Cannabis tea instead of proprietary tomato feed to boost potash when needed and use certified organic chicken manure pellets. However, I do use David Austin rose food - I don’t eat my roses tho  ;)


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,866
    Sulphur is very easy  to come by, I buy mine from amazon or eBay.  You can get it in farmers stores. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • laurawilson19laurawilson19 Posts: 8
    edited March 2020
    Hi! I didn't make ericaceous compost, but i found for you a few useful links about that:
    https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/article/ericaceous-compost-explained - all about ericaceous compost
    https://www.bestadvisers.co.uk/kitchen-compost-bins - compact compost bins, which I use (maybe will be interesting)
    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/ericaceous-compost-info.htm - how to make compost 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    You can buy bog-friendly peat from the Organic Garden Catalogue.  It's recovered from reservoirs.
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