So why use a composted material?
We thought of 10 great reasons:
- Increases soil fertility – by adding valuable organic nutrients, which feed plants for several months.
- Reduces the need for pesticides – helps natural plant defences.
- Suppresses plant disease – friendly fungi fights disease.
- Suppresses algae, liverwort and moss when in containers.
- Improves water retention and reduces nutrient loss – another environmental benefit!
- Used as a mulch, a layer of compost reduces weeds and conserves moisture
- As mulch, it will be dragged into the soil by earthworms and used by other beneficial soil life.
- Mulch also helps warm the soil and provides extra food for birds, hedgehogs and other wild life – just watch birds searching through mulch to see what we mean!
- Improving soil structure: increasing aeration (essential for healthy roots), soil texture and ease of cultivation.
- Boosting soil life: feeding friendly fungi and other microscopic life that improves the soil and helps plants.
And here is the green bit!
- Vital Earth diverts garden waste from landfill sites to make re-cycled compost, reducing global warming by decreasing levels of methane released into the atmosphere.
- Buying Peat-Free compost saves Peatlands: a key carbon store and thus a defence against global warming.
- Vital Earth has a range of specialist compost-based products specifically formulated to benefit different uses, plant types and stages of growth.
OK so that is 10, but we got a bit carried away on the green bit!
- To further reduce our carbon footprint we only use UK recycled/sustainable materials.
- We work with schools and colleges, gardening clubs and other groups to encourage the GREEN message.
- We help growers, farmers and other professionals adopt greener methods of growing. We are researching the use of composts in green roofs: an exciting new technique for helping the environment and improving the quality of life, especially for town dwellers.
Choosing which peat free compost
1. Where you grow the plants
Location and environment determines how fast plants grow, therefore how much water and nutrients they need. Specialist composts provide ideal levels of nutrients and air to water balance.
2. What you are growing
We recommend Peat Free Multi-Purpose compost for many established plants, including fruits, shrubs and vegetables. But if you want to get even better results, consider a more specialist product (See our What Product and When Section).
3. The stages of the plant’s life
Seeds and cuttings need fewer nutrients for good germination and root developing respectively, and good water holding to aid growth.
Mature plants need more nutrients and often need good drainage.
4. The soil it grows in
Certain plants love certain types of soil - some need a more acidic soil e.g. rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers and camellias. Some prefer more limey (alkaline) soil such as brassicas (cabbage family) hydrangeas and lilac.
Soil structure is also important. Click here for more information on both Acid Loving and Lime Loving Plants and a more detailed explanation of different types of Soil.