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Do you revel in the fiery glow of a Japanese acer? How about the tingle of excitement that comes with plucking the first blueberry of the summer? Does the burst of colour of a healthy azalea light up your garden?
If your spring has only sprung when the delicate beauty of rhododendrons brightens your borders, we salute you! You’re a gardener with high ideals and goals, because these plants aren’t your ordinary run-of-the-mills planting project- at least not in most parts of the country. These are acid lovers- or lime haters- plants that need a lower soil pH- up to about 7.
Buy bags or bulk ericaceous compost here: we cater to gardens of all sizes
Also known as ericaceous plants, these aren’t the only plants that thrive in low-pH soil- lots of plants need the acid soil to prosper. Plants that have evolved growing wild on forest floors especially tend to prefer acid soil- as dead leaf matter tends to increase acidity, this is their normal growing environment. Many types of heather, and some types of berry-bearing shrub such as winterberry, cranberry, and bilberry (as well as the aforementioned blueberry) benefit from slightly acid soil. There are plenty of other plants too: makes sure to check the preferred soil conditions of plants you hope to buy. If they’re acid lovers, don’t panic: this just means you have to take an extra step in your planning: because with the exception of some areas, most of the UK isn’t naturally acidic. You should use a reliable, quality pH testing kit to determine your soil condition before you invest in ericaceous plants. There’s a good chance that your garden won’t be accommodating to these types, and you will need to acidify the soil using ericaceous compost.
At The Compost Shop, we cater to everyone and every size of project, from small back garden borders to parks and public spaces- so whatever your needs, if you’re looking to buy bulk ericaceous compost, we can help! Check out our shop or contact our team on 0871 9710 988 to learn more about the services we offer.
With 50L ericaceous compost from just £3.48, our bulk compost deliveries are perfect for any big gardening project. Here’s how we can provide you with the top quality compost you need, for less.
Our bulk compost offers provide as much of our rich, friable compost as you need, even if you’re undertaking a particularly large project or stocking up. Since transport is always a concern with any big order, we take care of it! Our drivers deliver to almost anywhere in the UK- one less thing to worry about when planning your big project. We support gardeners & gardens of all shapes and sizes, from backyard borders and allotments to farms, parks and public gardens, by providing real value, closely-screened quality and support every step of the way- from order to delivery. We always try to ensure the logistics of your order are handled as flexibly, efficiently and as closely centred around your needs as possible. Wherever possible we can offer next day delivery for your order.
Why choose between affordability and quality: per 50L, Ericaceous compost from us saves you money for the highest standard soil improvers
If you have a large project underway in your garden, you need both quality and volume to achieve your green-fingered goals. You need to be sure you’re getting consistent quality even when adapting your plans to the needs of specific plants, soil types, and light or drainage levels. After all, big projects equals big expectations, and only ambitious projects achieve great results, so why compromise? That’s why we offer specialist composts, perfect for those tricky soil conditions, such as our ericaceous compost. 50L of this from The Compost Shop, calculated from our 75L bulk bag orders, works out as just £3.48- a phenomenal saving! Because we deliver bulk orders we can offer you great savings per bag, helping keep costs down. So whether you have a large project requiring top quality bulk compost, or plan on stocking up and saving, visit our shop or speak to a member of our team for more information.
At this time of year there’s lots of focus on gardens & outdoors gardening, yet for many people space or time restrictions simply don’t allow large scale gardening projects. With a third of properties on the market now listed as being without a garden- and with up to almost 50% of gardens paved over in some areas, a larger proportion of us than ever have no immediate access to cultivatable ground. That could explain why more and more people are choosing to keep house plants.
With a wide variety available from most supermarkets, as well as florists and garden centres, house plants offer a hugely versatile plant for new gardeners, those with less time or no outdoor space for borders. Lower-maintenance and inexpensive, these attractive plants can often make great introductions to plant care for younger gardeners. Potted into containers, where the quality of the soil can be controlled by the gardener, you’re avoiding any problems with acidity, clay content, or other problems that can come with gardening outdoors- not to mention the weather. Of course, your indoor plants are not without needs- natural sunlight and a consistent supply of water are vital for plants that stay inside. Of course, if you have space, you can always place your potted plants outside during summer, although this depends on having the room available. For most of the year, though, your indoor plants need to be thoughtfully positioned to ensure they get plenty of light while not being positioned close to radiators, heaters or high traffic areas that might lead to the plant getting knocked or damaged by people or pets.
Another crucial factor in maintaining even the easiest houseplants is drainage and moisture management. As your plant is enclosed in a non-porous pot it’s easy to over or under-water, and the conditions inside the enclosed container may deteriorate as the soil struggles either to drain the stagnant water or dries and becomes infertile and dusty. The container can make it extremely hard to determine the levels of water needed. This is where your choice of compost comes in- as the right soil improvers can make a tremendous difference to the moisture levels and general health of your plant. Allowing water to drain is vital to preventing the decline of your plant health- ensure you repot your plant as soon as it begins to outgrow its current container- and keep it raised on a porous surface to permit plenty of space for excess water to escape. When you do decide to repot your plant in a larger container, ensure you select the right compost to provide additional support and fertility to the plant in its new home. A tried and tested, purpose-mixed potting compost such as the John Innes No.2 formula is a great way to ensure your house plants get the best possible drainage and right balance of nutrients to thrive all year round. John Innes No.2 is a long-standing favourite for gardeners looking for the right balance of food for their plants and chalk to enhance water regulation- and develop healthy, vibrant and attractive plant sot enhance any home or work space.
Ericaceous compost pH test facts: how can compost change your garden’s chemistry?
Soil is wonderful, complex and fascinating. The properties of turf and topsoil are phenomenal- however those of the compost we add to improve it are no less amazing. The importance of understanding the exact qualities of what’s under your garden can be lost of many new gardeners- yet this can often be the difference between a successful garden, full of bright blossoms & huge yields, and disappointment.
Ericaceous compost, pH and the secrets of how gardens grow
While all compost contains the millions of micro-organisms that give it such great fertilising qualities, ericaceous compost goes a step further- using a blend of ingredients designed to change the balance of your soil chemistry. This special mix helps release vital nutrients to your plant that, depending on the soil conditions in your part of the country, they might not get otherwise.
What is soil pH?
Soil pH is the acidity, or lime content, of your soil. Lime is highly alkaline and creates soil conditions that contain certain minerals, rather than releasing them to your plants. Manganese, boron and iron are examples of nutrients trapped by alkaline soil- therefore plants that require more will struggle in these. These ‘acid loving’ plants will produce poor growth and off-colour leaves if grown in alkaline soil. Similarly, plants like asparagus, ferns and cauliflowers can struggle with the lack of molybdenum in acid soil. You can test your own soil’s pH yourself- we recommend using a home testing kit for the most accurate results. Knowing your garden’s pH is an important step when planning your planting for the year.
Ericaceous compost: pH- altering
So how does Ericaceous compost alter your soil pH? It all comes down to the blend of ingredients used in its production. Unlike traditional compost which uses a blend of loam, limey topsoil, peat and broken-down organic matter, ericaceous compost is specially prepared to add acidity to the earth. This slowly builds up a more favourable soil profile over months, to establish an environment that supports acid-loving plants like tomatoes, raspberries and acers.
To learn more about ericaceous compost, pH in the soil and the types of plants that love an acidic soil profile- see our page on ericaceous compost.
Have you just dug out your gloves, only to uncover something that looks and smells like it belongs on your compost heap? Gardening gloves can be found in every hardware shop or garden centre, but are very often made using cheap fabrics and poor manufacturing that means they quickly become filthy, smelly and pretty unhygienic.
Aside from being an excellent filler for a gardening-addicted relative’s Christmas stocking, the problem of buying the right, considered pair of practical gloves is something everybody encounters- though admittedly some more than others. A shed that’s simultaneously damp enough for mildew to prosper, but warm enough for mice to find inhabitable has over the years combined with more than a little bit of fussiness to ensure a steady turnover of gardening gloves in this author’s garden. The worst ever proved to be a very cheap and thin fabric pair- despite washing they succeeded in causing an extremely nasty thumb infection (green fingered indeed) and since then the motto has been quality over price.
A good pair of gloves is worth hanging on to, and while you can get a pair for pennies, there’s a lot to be said for paying a little more to get something that will last- something that holds true for most outdoor tools and equipment.
Never put your gloves away wet or dirty- especially if they’re stored somewhere damp or cold. Clean them thoroughly with a damp cloth after each use, and if they’re leather top up some dubbin once they’ve dried. Always let gloves dry naturally, not on a radiator or near any other heat source- this will crack the leather. Don’t put gloves in the washing machine (especially on a hot cycle) and certainly never in the tumble drier!
‘Gauntlet’ style gloves- these are named after medieval hand armour, because of the long protective edge extending over the wrist and forearm. Some can reach all the way to the elbow- ideal for reaching deep into thorny bushes like roses.
‘Rigger’ style gloves- typically thick and durable, consisting of separate panels offering increased protection from wear & tear. They will give eventually, especially if not properly cared for, but can be trusted for most heavy duty tasks like tree care or clearing land. They feature a degree of cut-resistance, though can sometimes be a little unshapely and prone to rubbing. Like cowhide they tend to dry out if not cared for, and can stiffen which can cause blisters or aggravate existing scratches. The panels ensure great durability but if badly made all those edges can be uncomfortable if the lining starts to go.
Disposable Gloves- These aren’t for delivering miracles, but at a push can be used for handling less…tasteful outdoor materials. However at a minimum get some disposable latex (surgical-style) gloves underneath as these cheap, mass produced gloves may not feature much moisture-resistance. A very heavy duty rubber glove will probably do a better job of keeping your hands away from any nasties- just remember to hose the glove, wash in hot, bleach-water mixture and after removing, soak again with disinfectant to purge any germs.
Cowhide and leather gloves- these typically feature a short wrist, and offer high flexibility and excellent scratch protection. A lined glove is usually better, as long and it doesn’t reduce flexibility on those tricky jobs, and the slightly thicker leather gloves offer less grip for muck than drier, rougher cowhide. You can mould them by wearing them and submersing your hands in warm water with a tiny splash of washing up liquid (to break down the oils holding the leather in its current shape). After several minutes the gloves with adapt to the shape of your hand- so ensure to hold something- this will reduce hand soreness, prolong the life of the glove and provide better grip. Always treat the clean leather gloves with dubbin regularly, particularly between fingers (where moisture can become trapped)- this will improve comfort, protect the leather and ensure the surface doesn’t attract grime.
Polymer gloves- there is a very wide selection of synthetic gloves available, featuring all kinds of padding, enhanced finger or palm grip, even extensive padding for use with power tools. While natural fibres almost always provide a better balance of protection and dexterity, it’s hard to find a clear fault with material like nylon. However it’s important to bear in mind that stretch fabric will reduce in thickness when worn, and very often while some areas are well protected from wear and tear, often others can be weaker.
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