We hope you have enjoyed the SRGC Forum. You can make a Paypal donation to the SRGC by clicking the above button

Author Topic: composts  (Read 4532 times)

ian mcdonald

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2199
  • Country: gb
composts
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:28:19 PM »
I recently bought a bag of compost entitled "top Soil." I was going to use this to germinate seeds from the exchange, either on its own or mixed with other mediums. When I opened the bag I saw that the contents were wet peat, with small pieces of woody material. The signage on the bag said that the contents were loam, peat and additives. When I was at school, a long time ago, top soil was 100% loam. I think the wording on the bag is mis-leading, resulting in a waste of money. I have sent a message to the supplier asking them to state "not suitable for seed sowing." I await a reply. Has anyone else had this problem. Poor/misleading information does no-one any favours.

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44018
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: composts
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 03:54:34 PM »
Have to agree with you Ian - to my mind "top soil" is just that - the top layer of soil skimmed off a site - usually before building begins.  A product not without its own problems, of course, it can be full of weed seeds - but something that many of us will have been grateful to order a load of at stages in our garden developments.  To buy something labelled as such which then proves to contain other materials - most of which might best  be described as contaminants, is not on. It's a story that has been heard before in the forum - folks complaining of the quality of the  potting mixes and "John Innes" mixes they have purchased - some of which have borne no resemblence to JI of any kind.

The concensus of opinion over the years has been that most types of potting compost  available  to buy are pretty useless and far too variable in their content.  Recently we had a suggestion of a supplier that is highly spoken of : Keith Singleton  J.I. compost - see here : http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=9198.0  for full discussion ..... it is sold in bigger quantities , but worth looking into http://www.cumbriagardensandpetsdirect.co.uk/main.asp?category=Gardening+Pallet+Deals
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

ChrisB

  • SRGC Subscription Secretary
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2370
  • Country: gb
Re: composts
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 04:59:16 PM »
I'm well pleased with my Singleton order, and I also had two bags of pond soil, which looks a lot like loam, with no weed seed in so far.  They say they steam it.  I'll be ordering another pallet in the spring.  Good value for money!
Chris Boulby
Northumberland, England

Graeme

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 709
  • Country: england
Re: composts
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 05:32:52 PM »
Unfortunately Ian  the compost and soil situation is going to get worse over the next few years and by 2020 you will be lucky if you can buy anything in decent quantities.
We used to use Levington's compost and a few years ago we ordered a pallet load - I re-potted a lot of plants although the stuff was rougher than normal - everything died - when I had it tested it all had residual herbicide in it - wife also cut her hand on a large piece of glass.  It was an absolute disaster for  me and I will never use any Levington's products ever again.
Then we moved to Wickes compost which was every good till 2 years ago and that went the same way - they even put a sign on it in our local store that even though it stated on the bag for seed sowing it was no longer suitable - we are now on B&Q Veet compost which still has a highish peat content - no doubt someone will mess that one up as well with composted rubbish.
"Never believe anything you read on the Internet" Oscar Wilde

art600

  • Travels light, travels far
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2699
Re: composts
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 05:39:58 PM »
I bought 3 bags of General Purpose Compost.  Your description of Topsoil matched the contents.

I sieved the contents and took photographs of the material that could not be used.  Sent these to the Manufacturer - received full refund.

I would want a full refund for a product that is wrongly described and really useless for any purpose,
Arthur Nicholls

Anything bulbous    North Kent

David Nicholson

  • Hawkeye
  • Journal Access Group
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 13117
  • Country: england
  • Why can't I play like Clapton
Re: composts
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 06:22:43 PM »
Ian and others we have discussed this issue a number of times and it might help to look at some of the history here http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=7748.15

Not sure where you live Ian but it seems to me that geography has a big bearing on the quality of compost you can buy. Keith Singleton's has already been mentioned and Darren and others swear by it. So Lancashire, The Lakes areas and spreading up to Northumberland would seem to be in the Singleton's coverage.

Green Ore, from Wells, Somerset was one of my favourites. It was used by Wisley's alpine dept. until the RHS eco-warriors banned it because it contained peat. I used it for a number of years, it was really good stuff, until the 240ish mile round trip to get it got a bit much and they don't have suppliers near to me in Devon. All of this is academic as Yann (in France) who it seems imported Green Ore, tells me that they are closing down at the end of October. Yann has found a new JI supplier from Essex but I can't remember the name of the firm.

One of my local garden centres and nurseries (locally owned and managed) Otter Nurseries based in Ottery St Mary, Devon (branches in Brixton Nr. Plymouth, Torquay, Wincanton and Lymington ) do a good range of their own manufactured JI's. I use this wholly now and am very pleased with it.
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Graeme

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 709
  • Country: england
Re: composts
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 08:13:41 PM »

until the RHS eco-warriors banned it because it contained peat.
are they the same ones who infiltrated the national trust as well and got our stupid government to adopt the no peat by 2020.........
"Never believe anything you read on the Internet" Oscar Wilde

David Nicholson

  • Hawkeye
  • Journal Access Group
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 13117
  • Country: england
  • Why can't I play like Clapton
Re: composts
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 08:14:52 AM »
Exactly.
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Dionysia

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
  • Country: gb
Re: composts
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 11:47:07 AM »
Unfortunately Green Ore have confirmed to me that they will close at the end of October and that they are notifying customers although if you just go there and pay cash this clearly won't happen. They say that they will be fully stocked until then. Looks like a final visit is in order even though I don't really need any at present.
Paul
 in Chippenham

Yann

  • Journal Access Group
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2933
  • Country: fr
  • Growing and collecting plants since i was young
Re: composts
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 08:10:20 PM »
This other company located in Essex is Binder Loams Limited.
I'm waiting a quote.
North of France

brianw

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 783
Re: composts
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 10:07:00 PM »
I have bought 2 cubic metre bags of "Top Soil" recently, to level an area to be laid as lawn. Both stated to be grade "A". The first was the expected sifted loam. The second was more than 50% organics, and still hot and "working". It took at least a week to cool down to air temperature. I have used most of the latter as a planting aid and top dressing in the garden as it is useless for levelling. The second came from a local builders merchant, the first from a landscape and fencing company. As expected I guess the good top soil seemed to have more weed seed in it, the second was sterilised by the heat probably.
The Arthur Bowers top soil I sometimes buy bagged is a fine loam, but with added minerals etc. Seems to be little fibrous organic in it.
Edge of Chiltern hills, 25 miles west of London, England

ian mcdonald

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2199
  • Country: gb
Re: composts
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 03:03:59 PM »
Hello David, I am in S.Yorks. Our gardening teacher at school used to sterilize loam for use as compost  in a wooden box on the radiator pipes in school. As power stations have excess heat I wonder if this could be used to sterilize loam?

ian mcdonald

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2199
  • Country: gb
Re: composts
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 03:09:41 PM »
Things will only improve if the customer keeps complaining!

David Nicholson

  • Hawkeye
  • Journal Access Group
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 13117
  • Country: england
  • Why can't I play like Clapton
Re: composts
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 03:35:24 PM »
Hello David, I am in S.Yorks. Our gardening teacher at school used to sterilize loam for use as compost  in a wooden box on the radiator pipes in school. As power stations have excess heat I wonder if this could be used to sterilize loam?

I wouldn't have thought it would have been hot enough?
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

jomowi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 370
Re: composts
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 07:37:02 PM »
Things will only improve if the customer keeps complaining!
Isn't this something that the Trading Standards people should be persuaded to look into?  I have found that Garden Centres just don't care when it is something they have bought in and put the blame on the supplier or in the case of wrongly named plants for instance, on the grower.
Linlithgow, W. Lothian in Central Scotland

 


Scottish Rock Garden Club is a Charity registered with Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR): SC000942
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal