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Peat free compost


By sandra


As some of you know we have a small nursery on the west coast of Pembrokeshire. We have always used peat free compost here at Corseside but sourcing it has always been a problem.
At first we used coir but it was expensive and it dried out very quickly. It was also produced in Sri lanka so it wasn’t exactly environmentally sound. We tried various composts from garden centres and supermarkets and used lidls peat free for a few years. This year we need more as the nursery is expanding and bringing it home with the shopping is just not an option any more.

Using the phone and the internet we tracked down many suppliers but unless we want to buy lorry loads of the stuff it works out more expensive than most garden centre options. But then there was a eureka moment when we got in touch with a local tree felling company who are making there own compost from tree bark and some garden waste from a recycling project. They have been working on it for a few years and achieved a gold standard when it was tested recently. Today they delivery our first batch and it looks and smells lovely and as they are local delivery was cheap and the compost very reasonable.
As most of our plant prefere a free draining soil i find mixing some sand or earth based compost with it a good plan as it helps open up the compost and keep it drained.

Do any of you guys use peat free compost? Where do you get it and whats your verdict on it?
thanks for reading
Sandra :-)

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like you I have had mixed success. In the end I used to mix in my compost bin compost with it to improve the water retention. If I get bought multi purpose [reduced peat; the family are learning.] I mix it again with my compost to open it up.

the stuff you have looks good Sandra. and well done on expanding the business.

1 Mar, 2014


Yes, Sandra, we always use peat free compost. We used to be able to buy composted bark which we mixed with our own loam and grit, bonemeal as a fertilser, and it was just great. The bark, on its own, is no longer available to us so we buy peat free from the GC. As Sbg says, its quality is variable and we have to look round for a good one, currently this is 'New Horizon'. We also use a lot of leaf mould as a humus base for the above compost formula but it is not as good as the composted bark. You stuff looks good but what is local for you would cost a fortune for us to transport it.

1 Mar, 2014


I've tried a few different ones from the gc and the coir as you say was not a success
I do find adding the Osmocote type slow release fertiliser works very well, I put it in the grobags for the toms as well as the regular tomorite feed, seems to stop shortage of nutrient problems

2 Mar, 2014


thanks is lovely stuff...
I have heard good thing about new horizon Bulbaholic
Pamg I love doing different mixes for different plants.
Whilst doing my research afternoon i found that Carmarthenshire county council is using 3 counties green waste and making compost to resell with it. They have called it merlins magic..They are only distributing it in carmarthen 40 miles away but i am going to get some of that to try too.

So with a pit of research maybe you can find locally produced compost as well and save on plant miles.

2 Mar, 2014


Peat free compost is rubbish.
No idea what you call lorry loads but I get my compost....all quality totally peat the pallet load.
£150 is minimum spend. The same company also provide loads of additional professional insecticides/fungicides.

and for the professional stuff

2 Mar, 2014


Scrumpyfrah we have been using peat free compost at our nursery for over ten years. We did get some rubbish mixes in the early years but mostly its great stuff. The industry has moved on considerably over the years. I also am delighted to have found some home grown compost that makes it even more environmentally friendly. I belong to a group of family run independant nurserys in Pembrokeshire and most of us are peat free.

2 Mar, 2014


You only have to read the comments of people on gardening forums about the composts they have bought to know that they haven't improved.
It's also a myth that using peat is not "environmently friendly"

No idea what you sell but if it works for your plants then obviously stick with it. They'd be even better with the proper stuff.
As your plants like free draining soil I guess they are shrubs, perennials. I'd have thought John Innes would be a good bet for them.
I also make up my own composts from peat and use perlite or horticultural grit for drainage/water retention.

2 Mar, 2014


it was peoples opinions I was after Scrumpygrah so thank you for yours. we will have to agree to differ.

2 Mar, 2014

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