If you Google the word compost, you will find an amazing range of composts are offered. So how do you know which garden compost to select, and what to use it for? Keep reading for a quick guide to garden compost types.
Peat-based and peat-free garden composts
Peat-free compost use has ended up being a really huge problem for garden enthusiasts recently. Naturally all of us wish to be environmentally-friendly, but are peat-free composts as effective? The bright side is that now there are lots of peat-free options out there that are practically as trustworthy as peat-based composts. The alternatives are normally based upon loam, coconut shell, animal manure and straw or recycled waste. Recycled waste compost tends to be made by local authorities by composting all our food waste at extremely heats to damage any bacteria and infections, so there is lots of it about.
Mushroom garden compost
Mushroom garden compost is an excellent peat-free compost, ideal for growing vegetables or as a soil improver. It typically consists of composted agricultural straw and animal manure, and has actually been used for growing mushrooms, hence the name. Do not stress, it will have been sterilised to get rid of any spores! You can't get it everywhere, but it is available from specialist garden compost suppliers.
Mushroom and manure compost
This is mushroom garden compost mixed with straw-based animal (livestock and poultry) manure, so it's really mushroom garden compost with a higher percentage of straw and manure Like mushroom compost, it's an outstanding soil improver, and can be used for the majority of non-ericaceous plants. Not only does it improve soil structure, but it adds a lot of nutrients to the soil. Again, it may not be extensively offered from garden centres, but you can buy it from professional compost providers.
Not precisely a garden compost as such, but a helpful soil improver, as it adds raw material to the soil. This is particularly good if you have really sandy or heavy clay soils, as it will improve the texture of the soil. You will need to make sure that the manure is well-rotted before use (you'll understand, since well-rotted manure does not really smell at all).
Multipurpose garden compost
Generally offered in both peat-based and peat-free alternatives, multi-purpose garden compost is the go-to alternative if you are not really sure what to buy. There is no typically concurred formula, so you can't be definitely specific what you are getting. Some types will not be excellent for growing seeds, as the particles are too huge, but otherwise it will most likely work pretty well for a lot of plants. You can buy multi-purpose compost at garden centres.
The very best known of the soil or loam-based garden composts are probably the John Innes composts, No1, No2, and No3. These were established by the John Innes Institute, and offer all the nutrients that plants in different phases need to grow well. Some multi-purpose garden composts declare to have included John Innes. There is no concurred definition of what this implies, although it seems likely that they consist of some loam and perhaps some included fertiliser or nutrients.
A special blend of compost appropriate for lime-hating plants, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, ericaceous garden compost is widely offered from garden centres and garden compost suppliers. Best not used for plants other than ericaceous plants though.
Worth consisting of in the round-up, as it's an affordable option to compost for many purposes, this is basically good quality loamy garden soil. The majority of plants really like it, and it is available in several formulas, for instance, for vegetables or for basic use, and three qualities, economy, basic purpose and premium. It's a relatively economical growing medium, and can also be used to bulk out bought composts, or as a soil improver in its own right.
Hopefully this brief guide has given you a much better idea of what's available from compost providers, and given you the confidence to head out and buy compost with a better understanding of what you are getting. Pleased gardening.