How to be a Great Little Gardener Episode 7: Choosing a Quality Compost


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In this episode, garden expert Phil McCann discusses the importance of choosing a quality compost.

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The key to success when growing plants in containers is the quality of the compost you use.

Now, a multipurpose compost does everything: you can use it for seeds, you can use it for containers you can grow bulbs in there and everything. So, it’s a really great one bag does it all trick. But it has got to be quality stuff.

Now, some compost has green waste in it. When you open those bags, you are going to have big lumps of stuff - maybe wood, anything in there. Some composts have lots of peat in it. Now, there is a big debate about peat and I’m not going to go into that now, a big debate, but we have to reduce the use of it as gardeners. So, you need a peat free compost and, in my opinion, without green waste.

This is the stuff to use. The great thing about this…I’ll drag this over so I don’t make too much of a mess…the great thing about this is that you use every last scrap. Right, you can see some fibres in there, some wood fibre, but that adds drainage to the compost. Look at that, that is gorgeous. Seeds will grow in it, bulbs will grow in it and your plants will grow in it. And, as I say, it’s green waste free, it’s also got no peat in it and the RHS endorse it. So, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for us. 

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Top Tips:

John Innes is a name given to a formula of compost that includes sterilised loam. It gives the compost a bit of 'oomph' or body! It means it retains water better and is actually a heavier compost than those without John Innes.

Ericaceous compost is formulated to be acidic and therefore perfect for plants needing those conditions. It allows anyone to grow acid loving plants in containers.

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