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Thread: Gardening without buying compost

  1. #1
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is online now Warning!! Contains Nuts
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    Default Gardening without buying compost

    Like many of us, I buy bags of Multi purpose compost (MPC) every year to sow seeds and fill pots for tomatoes/cucumbers in the GH.

    Given the deterioration in quality and reports of pesticide residues, I'm reconsidering the need to buy MPC.
    In an ideal world, I'd make my own top quality compost - but I don't. The stuff that lurks in the compost bins is fit only for spreading around.

    When I sow seeds directly into the soil - they don't need compost.
    Also, if I grow toms in the compost in the GH, I still have to feed them.

    So why do I need to buy MPC? Is it because it seems clean and "new" and pest free?
    or am I deluding myself. Apart from seeds, my major expense each year is MPC.
    Think how many more seeds I could buy if I stopped using it.

    What alternatives are there? I'd welcome your ideas.
    Nicos, burnie, Snadger and 5 others like this.
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    Jay-ell is offline Welcome To The Jungle
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    Think how many more seeds I could buy if I stopped using it.
    VC - you need to buy more MPC

    You could get a cheap second hand slow cooker / pressure cooker and sterilise some soil with that.

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    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    I can remember my Dad making his own compost, I used to get sent out with a hessian shopping bag to collect leaf mould which he added to soil and his home made compost. I remember sowing seeds direct in the ground, I don't think he grew that much in compost like we do now. By the late 1960's he had a proper greenhouse, not one he had made himself(I had the old home made one for my gardening mostly growing lupins I think, can't remember growing anything else lol).
    I remember going to the local nursery to buy our fruit and veg, this would have been before we had any supermarkets, I have no idea where Dad got his seeds from, possibly the ironmongers shop in Leicester as there were no garden centres back then.
    Last edited by burnie; 11-06-2019 at 06:52 PM.

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    chillithyme is offline Rooter
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    I can't seem to stop myself from buying in mpc even if I try, especially for my veg in pots, seedling to adult stage.
    To attempt to buy in less mpc for flowers grown in pots, I've reused compost and added to it food i.e chicken manure or anything that i've got lying about, and bulking up with leaf mould, though its difficult for me to make enough leaf mould, in addition to not making enough compost! Im not keen on reusing mpc for veg in pots as I really love my veg. But there must be another way. I have seen a video of somebody using straw on top of potatoes as a mulch on the ground instead of earthing up, maybe the same principle could work in a grow bag too, but then where would we get enough straw from?
    Last edited by chillithyme; 11-06-2019 at 07:47 PM.

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    Mines scale growing so I only buy one large bag of MPC from B&Q it's around £6-ish other than that for big seeds I make a mix like Burnie's Dad used.
    Bren

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    Chestnut is offline Tuber
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    As a child I used to get sent out collecting molehills. The nice piles of fluffy well dug soil all went in a bucket, and that was mixed with MPC for seedlings.
    Won’t stop you buying mpc, but might reduce how much you need.

    Pure freshly dug peat shouldn’t have pesticides, particularly if you have friends with crofts - but there are other strong reasons for leaving such ecosystems alone .....

    Only other idea I can think is those completely artificial set ups like hydroponics or those brightly coloured gel crystals that were briefly fashionable in the early 2000’s, but they’re probably pricier than compost.

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    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    I've got through quite a bit this year (setting up new beds).

    I don't think i'll be giving up on it for now, but some thoughts.

    Reuse of compost with fresh feed eg comfrey
    Home-made compost doesn't look too good, but if you sieve it and keep it for another year it look quite impressive.

    I wonder if we'll have to buy it and cycle it through a year of green manure before growing crops in it
    veggiechicken and Snoop Puss like this.

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    Its not really the expense of buying compost that's swaying me - but the poor quality and risk of not knowing what's in it.
    Plenty of molehills in the garden but removing the mound leaves a hole that has to be filled with something else!
    I may try, for the 3rd time, having a wormery. Never had much luck with worms. Probably starve them as there's so little kitchen waste with 3 dogs!!
    Make 2019 the Year of Random Seed sowing
    All we are saying is..........Give seeds a chance.
    @realveggiechicken

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