Propagation (seed, cuttings, etc): compost
Started by: ian mcdonald
misleading name on compost bagsGo to latest contribution by Brian Whyer, 19 February 2015, 10:21. Go to bottom of this page.
Yesterday I bought a bag of "Top Soil" from a local nursery. I intended to either use the "top soil" for growing seed of alpines from the exchange, or mix the "top soil" with another medium for the same. The script on the bag said that the contents contained loam, peat and additives. When I opened the bag this morning I was dismayed to see what looked like wet peat containing small pieces of wood. I think the words "top soil" on the bag are misleading. Perhaps I am old fashioned. When I was at school, a long time ago, top soil was considered to be 100% loam. There may be a small percentage of loam in the mix, as claimed, but the percentage of loam is not stated and the expectation of receiving a compost suitable for seed sowing is not met. I have sent a message to the company who provides the "top soil" asking for the words "not suitable for seed sowing" to be provided. This is another instance of poor labelling on a product and has resulted in a waste of money. Have other members suffered the same and does anyone know of a company that DO supply sterilised loam in bags?
The best loam-based, John Innes-type compost that I know comes from Keith Singleton, at Seaview Nurseries in Cumbria. They make their own, and as they are right on the coast, near St Bees, it is based on a good, sandy loam. I'm not sure if they do bags of top soil on its own, but I've been very happy with everything I have bought from them. They have a nice restaurant on site, too!
Thank you Della. And, Singletons make an excellent non-loam compost which appears to be based on sedge peat (now very difficult to get hold of in most areas) which I am now using as the basis for all my potting composts. Luckily our local Garden Centre swears by it, so those 'foreigners' visiting the next Hexham Show.......!
My respose is a bit late I know but in the Midlands Wickes sell bags of 'Top soil' which is not too bad though it contains a fair amount of added fibrous material. The addition of a bit of grit/sharp sand/perlite and you have a pretty good basic alpine compost.
It was on offer on one occasion and I bought a lot of bags thinking to renew the 'tomato bed'. It got used for alpines and the tomatoes had to wait.
I have been buying J Arthur Bowers "Top Soil" in a black/white/gold bag witha phlox? photo on it. It says added nutrients. This is a particularly ;-) fine soil with little obvious fibrous content. I make my own potting mix up from it. It seems a lot less "sticky" than the JI compost from the same manufacturer.
Over the last year or so I have bought (for the garden) tonne bags of "top soil" from 2 local suppliers. 1 was quite good with just some minor added fiber content. The other had a large proportion of recycled green waste that was still so hot that it took well over a week for the bag to cool down. After spreading to level a lawn area out, and rain, a covering of fine black wood waste was left. The only consolation is there were likely to be few weed seeds left, but much of the builders waste from new build sites locally go for recycling and the soil content is resold back, mixed with the recycled green waste, for levelling purposes, so you really have no idea what you are getting.