Compost recommendations:

ElothirElothir Posts: 24
edited 18 August in Tools and techniques
Hello,

I've been looking into getting some compost to dig into our clay garden soil to improve some bare patches before sowing seeds (flowers) and dig over the rather patchy lawn with to re-sow. 

However upon investigation it seems like a bit of a minefield with compost as to whether you get something that's alright, or something that will just kill plants because its so full of rubbish.

In the past we have just used compost bought at B&Q or Homebase but I haven't the foggiest idea what brand it was. However it seems like there have been issues with compost from the big stores in recent years? (I can't speak to that as it's been at least 10 years since I bought any so no idea if that's accurate or was a one off issue etc).

I did wonder about trying to order some of the composts sold on the RHS plants site (in the somewhat vain hope that it might be more likely to actually be usable) but again I have no idea what it's like.


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  • Stephanie29Stephanie29 HampshirePosts: 17
    Hi Elothir, I think it is a good idea to add compost to a clay soil. I would rather order a bulk bag online than buy the 50l plastic bags from the garden centre. You could also opt for spent mushroom compost.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,117
    I would rather use well rotted manure to improve clay soil. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 1,891
    edited 18 August
    I have used verve b&q again this year. Did try a bag of westerns but it was so fine it was like trying to use talc, and it floated and drained slowly. 

    I have heavy clay soil too, I just keep adding compost and manure to every hole I dig, and at the end of the season any manure left gets spread on as mulch for the worms to work in.

    In places I have raised the beds to make life easier adding soil , compost and manure to put bedding into. It is hard work digging heavy clay.
    Hope this helps @Elothir
  • ElothirElothir Posts: 24
    edited 18 August
    Manure would be better, but not that easy for me to get a hold of.

    Sylvagrow multipurpose compost seems to get quite favourable reviews as do the wool composts (but given they're marketed for improving water retention that's not really what I need).


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,117
    I buy bags of branded rotted farmyard manure from the garden centre ... most that I’ve visited seem to stock it. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 1,891
    That's where I get mine too, the GC, You don't have to go to great lengths to get manure that is not bad quality. It's the breaking up of the soil first that matters and then the enrichment if its needed, and that you won't know until you test grow things in it.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,127
    We are very fortunate that we can get hose poo, no straw for a pound a bag,  I think @Hostafan1 get some free where he lives, if you have a drive out in the country sometimes you may see it in the roadsides. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Stephanie29Stephanie29 HampshirePosts: 17
    I would rather use well rotted manure to improve clay soil. 
    Mushroom compost is well rotted manure that has been used to grow mushrooms. :wink:

    It is also free of the issues Elothir mentioned at the beginning, but alkaline, so no good for ericaceous plants.
    In my garden those plastic bags keep piling up, so I think for larger amounts of material, like improving a whole garden, bulk bags or half trailer loads are the better option. Auntie Google will give suppliers if asked.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,986
    Mushroom compost used to be rotted manure, now it is usually composted straw.
    You wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand
    The things you think are precious, i don't understand
  • Stephanie29Stephanie29 HampshirePosts: 17
    oh, I didn't know that. The Mushroom compost I got this spring looked exactly like well rotted manure. Where did you buy the straw-compost?
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