Author Topic: Commercial Composts  (Read 415 times)

Tralfamadorean

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Commercial Composts
« on: June 05, 2018, 07:36:33 »
Is it just me or are the standards of purchased composts getting worse. I am sick and tired of sieving out large stones (rocks in some cases) and lumps of wood before use. This year I used westland and after sieving I estimate that over a third of the bags were useless. I complained to Westland and sent them the required information. They apologised, and refunded my money, telling me that this was an exception - no it isn't!!! They also told me that according to the bar code the bags I had purchased were two years old! I then moved on to Verve, who were good last year. It was exactly the same (my research shows me Westland appear to be about the only producer of these products in the UK, albeit under a host of different brands). Commercial composts are'n't exactly cheap, and if my experience is happening nationally then it is a huge scam. I looked to see if there is a British or European standard for composts but couldn't find one.
Anyone else had problems??  Anyone else with further information?

It drives me to utter distraction  :BangHead:

john

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Commercial Composts
« on: June 05, 2018, 07:36:33 »

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 08:07:24 »
Jon,
Do you mean 'Professional' compost or that readily available from garden centres? Do you have a particular requirement for fine compost? I agree that the make-up seems to be different from the "Levington" composts of 30 years ago- no doubt the reluctance to buy peat has been instrumental in reformulation.
The (ever) increasing' need to recycle' green waste has provided a ready source of "compost"; placed on the market by processors at really low* prices for bulk disposal. Transport is the major input in compost costs. What other compost could be produced at an estimated price of 65p per 70 litres, allowing transport, bagging, producer and retailer margins and VAT to get to £3 per bag?
Personally I have settled on purchasing MP compost from Wickes (c £4 per bag) for 'best' planting, seeding (sieved) and Richmore from Morrissons @£3 bag for bulking with well rotted fym for potting on , starting beans and filling module trays. Have found well rotted twigs, small pebbles, bits of red brick but nothing untoward. Just use at base of a pot if lumpy.

*6000 tons @ £0.06p per ton, for collection only!!
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

picman

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 08:35:16 »
Agree , Its difficult to know what you are buying , can look Ok and still be rubbish, whatever the price , I had wickes last year looked like shredded paper. This year Verve seems ok, Home base ... had strange look .. radish wont grow in it ?

DrJohnH

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2018, 09:12:32 »
I looked to see if there is a British or European standard for composts but couldn't find one.

FYI:

http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/PAS%20100_2011.pdf

lezelle

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 09:22:10 »
Hi Ya, I agree that some composts are awfull. The local council were giving some away from their compost area and I went to get only to find it was terrible stuff. I walked away. Some commercial products are just as bad i have found plastic and all sorts in some. I bought some cheap stuff and ended up throwing on my allotment. I know a lot of people avoid peat but for seed sowing I like to use Jacks magic, has a peat content but then I will use cheaper stuff to bulk up planter and tubs.

Duke Ellington

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 17:00:31 »
I am not using verve anymore it develops a green algae on the surface. I know I am not over watering because plants given to me from family using other composts doesn’t go green and I am giving those plants the same amount of water. I sieve all composts before I use for seed sowing and use the left over lumpy bits in containers. If I could find a decent compost I would buy it so if anyone could recommend a good one please let me know👍🏻
Duke
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ACE

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 06:55:12 »
A few years ago I we wanted a couple of tons of council 'compost' to make good the soil that was on our site at BBC World garden show at the NEC. The ground there gets used every year on different gardens and is just levelled and turfed after each show with all sorts of rubbish buried in it. One of Birmingham councils could not supply compost as their garden waste recycling did not come up to the standard that was required to call it compost but we could have a couple of tons of 'soil improver', same stuff different name. Now what I reckon is happening is the standard has dropped since peat free first started and what we are getting is soil improver. I can get the stuff from the tip with a trailer at £12 a ton but knowing a few geezers at the tip I go to the old piles (the ones that get tested for the grade) and get some really good well rotted stuff and leave the freshly ground stuff to go off to the compost makers.  We also have a big tomato industry here and the spent plants and bad tomatoes go to a big pit layered with manure from an intensive beef producer, after a few years it goes back to the tomato growers to be used in the tomato green houses, I obtained some of this one year and everything thing came up I should say smelling of roses, but it was a bit whiffy even so the plants loved it.

lezelle

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 07:07:52 »
Hi Ya, I know what you mean about soil improvers, I did a master composting course with the council and we had a visit to the site where they compost all garden waste. They also took what the council called kitchen waste and people were putting in chicken bones etc they should of stated what kitchen waste meant. Some stuff we saw was good but you are not allowed to go and get any. The stuff they brought to us was what they chose and the worst going. they sell it at the dump site bagged up and the price is extortionate for what it is, rubbish.
                     Duke, I would recommend Jacks Magic it is a bit more pricey but shop around and you will find some bargains. The range flog it 2 x 60Lt bags for £11. That's good. I do mix and bulk it up with Levingtons though. Happy gardening
         

galina

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2018, 08:37:58 »
Has anybody used home made compost?  Sieved home made compost mixed with mole hill soil and composted leaves is supposed to be good, fine and holds water well (leaf mold instead of peat).

Quite a lot of effort to make  I guess, but is anybody actually making their own?   :wave:

terrier

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2018, 18:19:54 »
I'm sure I just read that Tee Gee makes his own, so that's one person. I'm lucky enough to have a small holding and I keep horses and chickens and collect all the fallen leaves every year. There's always enough material to make tons of compost. For mixing, I just shovel the required amounts in to a cement mixer and let it turn for a few minutes. I've just uncovered a large mound of loam that I'd covered with old carpets twelve months ago and it looks well ready to use. I think compost making is my favourite bit of gardening, lol.

galina

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2018, 05:23:53 »
The cement mixer (if you have one) sounds just the ticket for this job.  Thanks Terrier  :wave:

Digeroo

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Re: Commercial Composts
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2018, 08:17:59 »
Hills in Purton who compost for Wiltshire sell their soil improver for £1 a bag if you fill your own.  I have always found it good.  Put beans and courgettes etc and brassica seeds straight into it and they do fine.  It does sometimes have small pieces of plastic in it normally pink plastic beads.  They sell is as Warrior Compost.

It is normally still hot when you get it.