Bags of compost can be bought from any garden centre or hardware store, nowadays every supermarket chain even seems to have their own range. Compost is not the same thing as soil, a bag of compost can be added to topsoil to improve it or used as a mulch. Compost should be well balanced with a mixture of carbon and nitrogen based materials. Soil is the foundation for all life in the garden, whether we are growing in the ground, using pots and containers, or in raised beds and planters. Healthy soil should be full of life and rich in organic matter, a good soil improving compost provides this organic matter and leads to better soil that retains more water and produces healthier, stronger plants. Artificial fertilizers can be added to poor quality soil to make it productive but this is a quick fix and the soil will eventually be rendered useless. We stock a continually growing range of natural composts and compost accelerators that we use in the Quickcrop nurseries and at home in our own gardens. We also stock some soil conditioners to unlock the fertility of your soil by altering it's acidity levels and aiding plants to absorb nutrients quicker. Improving your soil will lead to healthier plants that are better equipped to withstand pests, diseases, and weather.
When not being used as a mulch, compost should be used as an amendment to the soil to help complete the natural soil cycle. Soil can become tired after plants have grown in it and may have little or no organic matter or beneficial lifeforms left in it. As plants grow they suck the nutrients out of the soil leaving it less healthy and productive after each season. Adding large quantities of compost to garden beds and growing areas will increase fertility, nutrients, soil texture, and will also increase the amount of earthworms and microbial life living in it. We always try to recommend making your own compost as it is very easy and also extremely rewarding. Improving soil should be the first job we do in the garden each year, a dark soil with a crumbly texture is ideal as it means there is an abundance of organic matter within. Another advantage is darker soil will absorb the heat better and warm quicker in the Springtime. It is impossible for most gardens to produce enough compost to replenish and support itself, but thankfully there are a lot of good composts available. As well as large tonne bags of compost and vegetable soils, we stock a wide range of smaller, more maneuverable bags of composts ranging from 8 Litre bags up to 70 Litre bags. We have composts for every aspect of growing your own food, ornamental plants, hedging, and trees. From peat free seed compost, organically composted horse manure, planter composts, and ericaceous compost, to many different varieties of the multi-purpose variety.
Compost for Mulching
As well as an amendment to your garden soil, compost can be used for mulching. A mulch can be applied to the surface of the soil for discouraging and preventing weeds, it insulates the soil and prevents moisture loss. Typical mulches include wood chips, bark, and sawdust but these can leech some of the nutrients out of the soil. If a bag of compost has a lumpy consistency and contains loads of little sticks, it may have been rushed through the composting process and will end up competing with young plants for nutrients. Using a good bag of compost as a mulch is much better for the soil as it replaces any lost nutrients and will attract worms and other microbial life who will naturally till the compost into the soil for you.