Organic and peat-free growing wonders
New and reformulated composts are always a big draw at the Garden Press Event – they’re the basics of what we grow, especially if your garden is small and you grow in containers.
Here are four that caught my eye this year:
A ‘no need to feed’ peat-free wool compost for tomatoes – that’s the claim from Dalefoot Composts as the company launches its latest brand.
The super-strength compost contains all the nutrients your tomatoes need – with NO ADDITIONAL FEED and up to 50 per cent less watering!
It’s Soil Association approved for organic growing and has been developed with tomato expert Terry Marshall and Pennard Plants.
Like all Dalefoot Composts, it’s a blend of natural ingredients using wool and bracken from the Lake District.
I’ll be trialling this one, really looking forward to seeing how it turns out. In my previous trials, Dalefoot Composts have been resounding successes, reducing the need for watering and feeding.
It will be available to order online from www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk or from selected suppliers.
New Horizon All Veg Compost
New Horizon is a peat-free blend of loam, coir and added ingredients to make up compost with great moisture-holding and aerating properties, specially blended for home-grown fruit and vegetables.
The Bio3 formulation of Biofibre, West+ formulation and Coir+ has no green waste added, stimulating growth, letting roots and leaves thrive and sustaining nutrients for longer.
All Veg Compost can be used for all crops, including tree fruit and soft fruit like raspberries. I’ll be testing this one too, so I’ll let you know how I get on.
A 50l bag costs £7.99, www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk.
Strulch Garden Mulch
This innovative organic mineralised straw mulch has a slug and snail deterrent effect.
It’s a spin-out company from Leeds University run by husband and wife Dr Geoff and Jackie Whiteley. Geoff invented the mulch as part of his work at the university after he noticed that crop residues on the uni farm were being preserved.
He realised the effect came from natural minerals in the soil and replicated the process, followed by five years of testing at the botanical gardens.
RHS Wisley and The Alnwick Garden use Strulch and it’s verified for use in organic systems and was awarded the Which? Best Buy Mulch.
The straw has a neutral pH so can be used anywhere. It’s light, easy to use and lasts up to two years, helping to retain moisture, improve structure and drainage.
The texture and embedded minerals are unpleasant to slugs and snails, protecting plants but leaving them as a natural food source for garden wildlife.
Strulch is available in bulk from the website (25 or 50 x 150l bags) or in 100l retail bags from selected garden centres, visit www.strulch.co.uk for more information.
Used by professional growers and gardening enthusiasts, Bathgate has a compost or conditioner to suit every garden.
What really caught my eye was the multi-award-winning Champions Blend Peat Free Organic Compost with Soil Association Approval.
This a coir based compost with added sterilised loam and the Champions Blend nutrient formulation that includes Remin Rock Dust, Envii Bacteria and Oceans Bounty Seaweed Extracts.
RRP is around £7.50 for a 50-litre bag, available from selected garden centres and specialist nurseries. A single pallet of 60 bags can be bought at discounted rates for groups and allotment societies.
If you can’t get your hands on well-rotted mature, Bathgate sells bagged high-quality blended Farm Manure, ideal for soil improvement and a natural source of beneficial nutrients, fibre and humus. RRP is around £4.50, available directly to allotment groups, etc, at discounted rates in pallets of 85 x 50-litre bags.
There’s also a Soil Improver, ideal as planting, mulching and soil improver, RRP around £4.50, with pallet rate discounts to allotment societies, etc, for 60 x 50-litre bags per pallet.
Available from selected garden centres, and online at www.bathgatesilica.co.uk for details.