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Compost information

by Barry Marshall on April 16th

Compost and peat are a natural source of soil fertilisation that enables soil to retain water. Commercial plant varieties have specific and unique fertilisation needs, and there are several different types of compost available such as "peat free" or "medium grade" that will suit different types of plants.

The content of the compost varies from a soil, bark and coir mix to organic and household waste. Most types of compost fall into the more moist green mix or a brown mix. However, compost can be a combination of several types of waste from coffee granules to  shredded bark.

Peat is often added to compost and loam to grow flowers. Growing rhododendrons and azaleas for example requires a blend that is two parts peat moss and compost, one part loam and one part perlite. Other flowers demand different mixes of peat and compost, often depending on their natural growing seasons and whether they are annuals (flowering and dying yearly), biennials (developing over two years) or perennials (not appearing for two years). For example, it is well-known that roses benefit from cow manure as well as from organic compost that has been added to the soil after planting. Tulips, on the other hand, require a deeper layer of compost than roses.

Many flower growers supplement the nutrients passed on by peat and compost with other natural fertilisation. The pollen from bees, beetles and butterflies facilitates growth as do micro-organisms such as sow bugs. Other insects such as lacewings kill aphids, helping plants to grow healthy. Commercial flower growers will combine peat and compost and other methods of care to deliver their best and most beautiful flowers.

Tags: compost, soil, peat, plants, flowers, biennials

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