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What Gardeners Should Know Before Buying Compost

16th March

Let’s talk about the problem with cheap compost. Simply put, it’s often poor quality.

We always recommend making your own compost as the best option. That’s because people often don’t know the extent of what they’re using when they buy competitively priced compost. Manufacturers of such products produce what they supply using what the general population recycles in their green bin, otherwise known as green waste.

Read more to discover what every gardener should know before buying compost…

The problem with ‘green waste’ compost

The amount of green waste in compost is often unclear to manufacturers.

In the UK for example, manufacturers won’t be able to keep tabs on what 60 million people are putting into their green bins. Or whether it is appropriate for use in producing their compost products. Nobody will know for sure whether people are putting food waste or dog waste in their green bins. Which could cause dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli. A heat treatment can resolve this problem. However, the pressure of meeting supply and demand may mean manufacturers don’t do so adequately.

If you’re going to buy compost, buy this kind…

We feel that if people are going to stick to buying shop compost, they should do so by making informed decisions. Rather than simply buying the cheapest product and wasting money on something that potentially may not only be ineffective but also detrimental to the user.

When buying good quality compost, you should look for a product which is peat, coir or bark based. We don’t necessarily advocate for the peat-based compost due to the damaging effect of peat mining on the environment. However, coir and bark-based compost are very good quality peat-free alternative compost options for those who are environmentally cautious.

With bark, peat and coir-based compost, the raw materials are essentially inherent. Manufacturers of compost composed of these raw materials will add the relevant and necessary fertiliser and limes. As well as other things to create the optimum environment for plant nutrient uptake in their compost. High-quality compost does come with a price, however, manufacturers add a bespoke combination of nutrients (such as MPK – Monoptassium Phosphate and trace elements) to their compost that is designed to complement the raw materials.

Grow like a pro

Another thing to take into consideration is whether the compost you buy would be fit for a professional. While you might not be interested in becoming a professional gardener, it’s fair to assume you aren’t in the business of wasting money either?

Considering whether the compost you buy would be fit for professional use is a great way to assess whether the product is likely to be effective for the job you want it to do.

A good starting point for this would be to understand what to look for in shop-bought compost. This would indicate if it isn’t suitable to be highly effective on an industrial level.

There are plenty of compost products which claim to be to a professional standard or ‘professional quality’. Yet the compost does not resemble what professional growers and farmers would use in the agricultural industry.

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