Sandy's Garden ... Compose Your Thoughts Before Buying Compost

The weather doesn’t really seem much like the second half of May, does it?

By Sandy Simpson
Monday, 24th May 2021, 9:34 am

There’s ‘way too much cloud for my taste and ‘way too little warm sunshine.

Yes, yes, there have been some pleasant interludes recently: but, just as the grass is greener on the other side, these summery intermissions have usually looked warmer when seen through double-glazed windows.

My garden has been demanding my attention and my thoughts have turned to planting up a plethora of pots, troughs, baskets and containers with summer bedding.

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Falkirk Herald gardening guru Sandy Simpson

I have been looking at commercially-produced composts and, my goodness, how straightforward compost is when you just use what the bin has produced and don’t have to come to terms with the complexities of the bought product.

The leading manufacturer of composts for amateur gardeners says it “blends the finest 100 per cent natural ingredients to create a pure and balanced growing medium, which produces super, natural growth and exceptional health for plants and blooms all over your house and garden”.

This is “a rich peat-based compost, great for seed sowing and potting on” which can be used in beds, borders and containers and is “the perfect medium for flowers, fruits and vegetables”.

Yes, that’s what I want. But hold on a moment. Here is another all-plant compost which is “a naturally peat-free formulation that gives every plant triple the goodness.

This peat-free formulation is ideal for all types of plants and can also feed your plants for up to 6 weeks. Additionally, the special BIO3 formulation includes 3 special ingredients to help your plants thrive.”

Peat-based or peat-free? Hmmm. And here’s another contender, a multi-purpose compost with John Innes which “is ideal for use all around the garden. This premium compost contains nutrients to feed your plants for up to 5 weeks (and) the added John Innes formula retains and releases nutrients and water for longer, providing your plants with all they need.”

Furthermore, “It is ideal for containers and hanging baskets.”

Right. But what about John Innes No.1 Young Plant Compost which “gives young plants the best start in life. Developed specially for the needs of all young plants to help them establish. With added Zinc complex, a bio stimulant for healthy growth, peat and loam for perfect nutrient and moisture retention as well as sand and grit for excellent drainage, (this compost) feeds plants for up to 4 weeks.”

And then again, maybe John Innes No.2 Potting-on Compost which is generally similar to John Innes No.1 Young Plant Compost but includes Potassium humate instead of Zinc complex and feeds plants for up to 5 weeks.

And for the longer term should I buy John Innes No.3 Mature Plant Compost which was developed specially to help mature plants and shrubs, with a long lasting and nutrient rich formulation?

And, if I have specific plant families in mind, I am offered Rose Planting & Potting Mix, All Vegetable Compost, Alpine Planting & Potting Mix, Bulb Planting & Potting Mix, Aquatic Planting & Potting Mix, and John Innes Ericaceous Compost, as well as Container & Basket Planting Mix, John Innes Seed Sowing Compost, Seed & Cutting Compost and composts for indoor plants, houseplants, orchids, cacti & succulents, bonsai and citrus.