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Renfrewshire, Scotland Sco

Let's talk about compost!

Over the past few years I have tried to find a compost that 'works'. Sadly, I seem to be failing.

I have never yet managed to find a decent compost that holds water like peat. The biggest problem, I find, is that the water runs through the compost while leaving the surface wet. So, superficially, it seems damp and fine but when knocking the plant out the pot, the compost can be seen to be clearly dry with a damp surface.

Today I have had to place plastic saucers beneath my plantlings to hold the water that runs through. Hopefully, the capillary effect will mean that at least some water wicks up to the plant.

Keeping the plant constantly watered is taking some effort. And even watering a couple or more times a day, the compost just does not do its job.

I have tried various types and makes. I had hoped that a seaweed based compost would be better, but it seems no different.

Well, that's my moan for a while



Now I have found the opposite with the ones I have used. The to surface is dry but below that the compost is wet. Often too much so.
Try adding a third by volume of well broken up leaf mould.
Also some Perlite which does retain moisture. Or if you really have to, try the water gel crystals.

20 Jul, 2022


I have to admit that I find the peat-based compost is best for me. When watering, I water well and then water again about half an hour later so the water reaches the bottom of the container. As far as the seaweed is concerned you will find that it's just an aditive that provides some trace elements.

20 Jul, 2022


Thanks owdboggy. I don't have leaf mould but the perlite I can certainly get.

What you describe is what you would expect with peat based compost and this is why I keep getting caught out with the newer stuff. Again, today, I have a couple of tubs that are wilting. Sticking my fingers into the compost and it does not feel 'bone dry'. And when adding water, it runns straight through. I have placed these on very large plastic saucers now.

Jimmytheone, I have not seen peat based compost on sale locally here for some time. I remember not that long ago going to woods and fields locally and digging up the peat to use in the garden. But not now.

21 Jul, 2022


That sounds frustrating Somhairie. I’m not sure I should advertise on this site, but after a few failures I have found a great compost which doesn’t let me down. I mix it with Vermiculite. I’ll send you a PM.

21 Jul, 2022

How do I say thanks?

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