The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Hello everyone

Bridgend, United Kingdom Gb

Soil conditioner

Hello everyone.

On here we rightly read about soil conditioner. I've lots of jobs to do so I'm wondering whether its best to order in a tonne bag. Seems over the top but I have room to store it if necessary.

We read horror stories about top soil. Can 'soil improver' go the same way. I was thinking about something like this---

or this

or this

All around the £70 quid delivered mark. You can go wrong with topsoil. Can you go wrong with this? Tonne bag mentally seems over the top but I bet its surprising how little spread you will actually achieve with it.

Contributors on here would have had one of these bulk bags. My local council doesn't sell compost to its residents. Apparently people in Swansea can collect for free-lucky so and so's.



It does look OK to me, but aren't you making your own compost?

I've heard horror stories about Council compost - so you're best out of that!

2 Nov, 2012


There have been some problems with Rolawn stuff. There was a thread about it somewhere.

2 Nov, 2012


Hello Spritzhenry.

Yes, I am making my own compost but clearly there is a timescale. I recently moved into a house with neglected front and rear gardens. Both dalek bins are now full. I could wait for the comost to mature but the quantities I imagine won't be near enough for the jobs I want to do. Running before learning to walk perhaps as I know very little about gardening.

Owdboggy-thanks. I 'll try and find the thread.

2 Nov, 2012


I would think that whichever company one looks at, their 'compost' is only going to be similar to the stuff produced by the Council. We have been using Vital Earth peat free compost for a long time now and that is only Council waste which has been sieved and with lime and plant food added. The major problem we have had with it (and the Council stuff) too is that Oxalis cornuta seems to survive the processes and comes up everywhere. Here the Council will supply compost, but only in bulk and if you collect it ones self.
Whatever, don't buy anything unless you can organise a visit to see what you are getting. If you are new to the compost game then take someone who is more expert with you.

2 Nov, 2012


I bought this flat which has clay soil in the garden. I know from experience builders' Bulldoze all the top soil off a site to level it before putting the footings in. Then their employees go on a Sunday afternoon when nobody is about, use the forklifts to steal from this heap of topsoil, and sell it to people who have clay soil gardens.
My son paid £100 for a ton lorryload, it was full of bricks from the allotment gardens, which were being levelled for a new Estate. I know because I shifted it for him onto his poor soil. Took 48 bricks to make a path.

My advice is to compost as much as you can from waste material. This includes Michaelmas Daisy Stems, all stuff like that. Also spend your money on quality Peat based composts (Clover is the best) and put all your plants (if suitable) into their own bucket size hole to get the nourishment they need. That way, over a few years
your whole garden will be revived in the right way.

3 Nov, 2012


Peat? You will have to RHS and the Green people screaming at you.
Sorry, but apart from the environmental issues regarding the use of peat, in itself it has little value as a soil additive. Compost, even the maligned Council stuff is far far better.
Agree about the Topsoil. As I said buy from a reputable company (and I have only heard good about Dandy's) and go look at what you are getting first.

3 Nov, 2012


Thanks everyone for your comments

I forgot to mention that I live in a seaside town and can access virtually unlimited amounts of seaweed especially after a storm.

3 Nov, 2012


Now that IS good stuff. We collected huge amounts of it from the beach at Blue Anchor in Somerset after a massive storm. It turned my parent's stone filled garden into a very productive, beautiful soil.
I know it is a counsel of excellence, but rather than making your compost in small amounts in a Dalek, is there no way you could make a heap so you could make a lot more?

3 Nov, 2012


Would seaweed rot down in the same way as fallen leaves if put in a sealed but spiked plastic bin liner and left for a year? It smells so much better once it's rotted, but I'm not sure I'd want a great pile of it hanging around in the open.

3 Nov, 2012


I have read that seaweed does not need to be composted-it can be dug straight in. Also it does not need to be washed because the animal/plant does not take salt into itself. But that's the internet. No doubt other peoples experiences are different.

My understanding is that in the Channel islands they pile it on the fields after a storm and the only wet it gets is the rain-sometimes they dig it straight in. All sounds too good to be true been as I can get hold of loads of it. I picked up 2 black bags full this morning without trying. Its windy again tonight-high tide about now.

If I did compost it I think it would have to be enclosed. I'm sure it would smell and it would be on my party wall. It certainly smells on the beach in summer.

3 Nov, 2012


The stuff we dug in at my parent's was from above the high water mark and was already partly decomposed. Certainly it contained no salt. Fresh might prove a little more difficult. However there is a composting method which might suit you. Dig a trench a good spade depth or more and fill it up with any unrotted material which you wish to use (seaweed etc.) When the trench is full, then dig another one and put the soil from the new trench on top of the filled one. Keep doing that along the bed to be fertilised. Obviously this only works on an area where the soil is empty, as in a new Vegetable bed for example. It does work, it is how I turned the clay soil which had been covered with sheds. in our first garden, into really good productive soil.

3 Nov, 2012


Spreading seaweed on fields in Channel Islands

5 Nov, 2012

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?