Top potting tipsPosted on: 21 March 2016 by Gareth Hargreaves
Advice to get the best out of peat-free and reduced peat compost.
If you are preparing to pot-up this year's seedlings after what has been a very mild, if somewhat soggy, winter. Here are some tips for using peat-free and reduced peat composts.
- Reduced peat and peat-free compost is just as easy to use as peat-based products, but may need treating slightly differently, so always check the instructions on the bag to ensure you get the best results.
- The main difference is in watering, which generally needs to be ‘a little but often’. Gardeners need to be aware that most peat-free composts are naturally darker and denser, and they don’t go paler like peat does when they dry out.
- As with all compost, drainage is key. Excess water has to be able get out, so ensure there is a drainage hole in your container and cover it with a thin layer of coarse grit or pebbles to stop it getting blocked up.
- Wet the compost thoroughly before using it to give the plants a real treat.
- Avoid pressing the compost into the containers. This pushes all the air out that the plant roots need to thrive and stops water from percolating through.
- Don’t fill the containers right to the top, leave about a 2cm gap between the top of the compost and the pot. This will make watering easier and more efficient.
- You may notice that plants sometimes take a little longer to get going, but, don’t worry, once they do they usually last longer and tend to be bushier and a better shape.Finally, when storing compost, put it in a dry place so that rainwater can’t get in to deteriorate it or wash away essential nutrients.
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