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Author Topic: Multi-purpose composts ???  (Read 10979 times)

Eric Locke

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Multi-purpose composts ???
« on: April 08, 2010, 08:50:20 PM »


Hi All

Wondered what others think of the standard of multi-purpose composts these days ? Once upon a time this could be used for almost all applications, but now ????
Over the past few years I have noticed the steady decline in the standard of these composts and one of the reasons to blame for this is the trend away from using peat.
I have recently purchased more of my usuall well known brand and was horrified when opening it up. >:(
Firstly I thought I had opened up a bag of Composted Bark as the typical smell hit me straight away .
I tipped some out to find a whole host of bark and wood rubbish + paper, tin foil and goodness what else.
I have been in touch with the manufacturer to tell them my thoughts on this  :-X and discovered that they are using composted household waste as well as composted wood and bark. Surely this is taking things too far and this bag of "rubbish" is not fit for the purpose it is intended for. To cap this off I have discovered a hidden price rise by reducing the bag size by 10Ltrs. :-X   I will certainly not purchase this "RUBBISH" again and hope the others manufacturers do not follow suit.


Eric

Lesley Cox

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 10:24:13 PM »
That sounds awful Eric. After all, tin foil isn't going to rot downinto usable compost. It's not so much multi-purpose, just multi component. everything surely should be of organic origin. And paper, while it makes a great weed supressent under gravel or bark on a pathway, is not suitable for compost unless shredded and again, well rotted down.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2010, 10:27:52 PM »
Eric, if I had paid good money for a proprietary compost with those ingredients I'd be raising strong concerns with the manufacturer.... sounds revolting stuff! :-X :P
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Eric Locke

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2010, 11:04:58 PM »
Eric, if I had paid good money for a proprietary compost with those ingredients I'd be raising strong concerns with the manufacturer.... sounds revolting stuff! :-X :P

And not so long ago they were the brand leader for multi-purpose. :o

Eric

PDJ

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 11:46:21 AM »
One thing I have noticed is that all the multipurpose composts now contain large amounts of chemicals to retain moisture.  These I think now are unsuitable other than for hanging baskets or bedding plants as you don't allways want that level of water retention.
Paul




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iann

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 03:25:57 PM »
Multi-purpose compost was for many years more or less pure peat.  If you're really old you might remember a time when compost was actually compost, but it wasn't available in bags in every corner shop.  Personally it doesn't seem to me that this was ever the ideal base for growing alpines, but at least was of a fairly uniform standard.  More recently lots of fancy chemicals were added to help with rewetting, water retention, slow release fertilisers, etc.

In the last 10 years or so, manufacturers have been striving to reduce the level of peat.  Partly this is so they can charge us more for a "peat free" product and partly because peat is becoming harder to source and so more expensive.  The primary replacement for peat was first composted wood waste, bark, and sawdust.  Quality varied enormously depending on the recipe and degree of composting.  Quality still varies enormously today and while some now seem to be quite good, some are still awful.

The last throw of the dice has been a return to actual composted green materials, although now it is mostly domestic green waste.  Quality should be uniform, but that supposes all the non-compostable material has been sifted out.  Also, there just shouldn't be any recognisable non-composted material left after proper commercial scale composting.

So my recommendation is to start with John Innes ;D  After all, you're going to add lots of coarse material for drainage and that will result in the perfect growing medium for most alpines.  OK, maybe not Pleione and Orchids, but then B&Q multi-purpose isn't so great for them either.
near Manchester,  NW England, UK

Gerry Webster

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 03:22:54 PM »
I bought some multi-purpose compost yesterday (Levington). It looks exactly as it has done for the last few years &, apart from a few small twigs, contained no rubbish. This stuff is excellent for improving garden soil prior to planting. I have never used it for potting & probably never will.
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derekb

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 05:01:32 PM »
I bought some multipurpose compost yesterday (Levington). It looks exactly as it has done for the last few years &, apart from a few small twigs, contained no rubbish. This stuff is excellent for improving garden soil prior to planting. I have never used it for potting & probably never will.
Gerry like Eric I had some from them 3 years ago I used some to start Tomato seed in and had more weeds than seed so took a photo and sent them to complain they replied that weed seeds must have blown in I told them I took an unopened bag into the greenhouse sowed the seeds and put them strait in the Propagator so they could not have blown in the firm came back with a money token and said they meant at their end.
I now by bales of peat and get the compost base mix from Chempak and have no more troubles but now Chempak has sold out to T&M not sure if they will sell the mixes.

Derek
Sunny Mid Sussex

Gerry Webster

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 08:41:49 PM »
I now by bales of peat and get the compost base mix from Chempak and have no more troubles but now Chempak has sold out to T&M not sure if they will sell the mixes.
Derek
You have my sympathy Derek. It seems manufacturers are conspiring against those of us who like to prepare our own mixes. For several years I have used Vitax Q4 as a base fertilizer & having just emptied an old packet I bought a new one. I was horrified to discover that the fertiliser, formerly a powder, is now in the form of enormous pellets, presumably designed to be scattered in the garden but completely useless for incorporating in a mix.
Gerry passed away  at home  on 25th February 2021 - his posts are  left  in the  forum in memory of him.
His was a long life - lived well.

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 09:39:00 PM »
I have used New Horizon peat-free multipurpose compost for several years and get on well with it. As well as neat for vegetables, I use it with JI and perlite for bulbs etc. It came above peat-based compost in recent Which trials.
MINIONS! I need more minions!
Anne Wright, Dryad Nursery, Yorkshire, England

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annew

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 09:40:15 PM »
Oh, no! I just bought 25kg of Q4 and haven't looked in the bag yet!
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Anne Wright, Dryad Nursery, Yorkshire, England

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ChrisB

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 09:48:06 PM »
Regarding the weight aspect of Eric's thread, the bags are no longer allowed to weigh more than 70litres - another EU directive - so the manufacturers just complied without complaining, and give us less for our money.  Rob dogs.
Chris Boulby
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Gerry Webster

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 10:01:09 PM »
Oh, no! I just bought 25kg of Q4 and haven't looked in the bag yet!
I'd be interested to know what you find Anne. I intend to contact Vitax to see if they still supply Q4 in the form of powder.
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Lesley Cox

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 11:09:53 PM »
It seems manufacturers are conspiring against those of us who like to prepare our own mixes. For several years I have used Vitax Q4 as a base fertilizer & having just emptied an old packet I bought a new one. I was horrified to discover that the fertiliser, formerly a powder, is now in the form of enormous pellets, presumably designed to be scattered in the garden but completely useless for incorporating in a mix.

Do you have an old food processor, or even a spare coffee grinder, for small quantities? I've tried the former for pelleted fertilizer and though it's a pest to have to do it, it does work. You can grind it as fine as you want it.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: Multi-purpose composts ???
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2010, 11:11:08 PM »
It seems manufacturers are conspiring against those of us who like to prepare our own mixes. For several years I have used Vitax Q4 as a base fertilizer & having just emptied an old packet I bought a new one. I was horrified to discover that the fertiliser, formerly a powder, is now in the form of enormous pellets, presumably designed to be scattered in the garden but completely useless for incorporating in a mix.

Do you have an old food processor, or even a spare coffee grinder, for small quantities? I've tried the former for pelleted fertilizer and though it's a pest to have to do it, it does work. You can grind it as fine as you want it.

CAUTION: But wear a mask to do it and use it!!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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