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Welcome to the Garden Guru!

You will find lots of usefull information on compost, composting and all things grow your own, from hints and tips to step by step how to guides on all sorts of interesting subjects.

Browse through all our garden guru's articles below to find the subject you are interested in.

If the article you  are looking for is not here, just ask The Compost Shop Garden Guru and he will get back to you as quickly as possible with the answers you are looking for!

Gardening, whilst being one of the safest hobbies there is, also carries it's fair share of risks. 

Recently there has been items in the news about concern over bacteria that can cause Legionnaire's disease being found in bags of organic compost, so is this something that you should be worried about?

There are two types of Legionnaire's disease that gardeners may be exposed to: Legionella longbeachae which occurs in soil and the more common Legionella pneumonophilia which causes respiratory problems widely known as Legionnaire's disease. This latter type is common in stagnant water that is between 20 and 45 degree centigrade, which allows the bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels. 

The recent scare in the case of L. longbeachae comes after many manufacturers have switched from using peat-based mixtures to wood-based ones that use materials such as sawdust. This is the same way that compost is cerated in Australia and New Zealand although compost bags over there come with warning labels advising gardeners to take precautionary measures. 

Whilst uncommon, L.longbeachae is most likely to affect those with a supressed immune system or the elderly. It is contracted when dust contaning the organism is inhaled and early symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain and shortness of breath. 

In the UK you are not at a high risk of contracting Legionnaire's disease, however if you are concerned there are steps you can take to ensure that you stay as safe as possible when handling compost:

  • When you buy compost, check the contents to find out if it is made with peat-based mixture or wood-based mixture. 
  • Open bags of compost away from your face, which will prevent you from inhaling any potential organisms when you break the seal. 
  • Avoid storing peat free compost in a greenhouse or place where it is warm as this will encourage the bacteria to increase in number.
  • When handling dry compost, such as turning over your patch or trying to revitalise your heap, dampen the surface first and keep adding a little water to dry areas. This will prevent the dust from being propelle airborne where you may be at risk of inhaling it. 
  • If you are really concerned about the risks, then wear protective gloves and a dust mask when handling compost.

See our selection of compost online to find out about the different styles and ranges as well as the advnatages of each for your garden.

If you are looking for the best multi purpose compost offers then you are in the right place at The Compost Shop.

Our standard multi purpose compost is made from a specially formulated blend of Irish peat compost and peat free green compost. These are mixed together with essential plant nutrients to create one of the best multi purpose composts on the market that will competently fulfil the majority of your gardening requirements.

Right now you can take advantage of a fantastic sale price on our most popular multi purpose compost. Purchase a bulk bag containing 950 litres for the incredibly reasonable price of only £129.60; that is a saving of over £30 on our already low standard price. If you require more compost than this, you can buy 36x75 litre bags, giving a total of 2700 litres, for the great price of £171.60. Nowhere else can you find this type of value on incredibly well produced and highly nurtured compost.

The beauty of multi purpose compost is that it can be used for a wide range of gardening activities, and with it being great value at the Compost Shop you can affordably cover most of your green fingered needs. Multi purpose compost can be used for sowing seeds and a wide variety of plants thrive in our nutrient rich compound. If you are potting houseplants or filling hanging baskets it is perfectly appropriate because the pH and nutrient levels are suitable for fertilising a wide range of plants.

Multi purpose compost is great for general use which is why it is one of our most popular gardening products. We also have alternative peat free multi purpose compost which is which is environmentally friendly and that cultivates most plants through every stage of their development.

At The Compost Shop we have a fantastic selection of many different types of compost for sale, all at fantastic low prices and filled with all the right nutrients to help plants flourish. Any compost that you order from our site is palette delivered to your kerbside, fresh and ready to use. Remove the unnecessary hassle of creating your own compost and buy an expertly blended compost mix from The Compost Shop.

Getting the right amount of water into your compost pile is vital for ensuring that it retains all of its essential nutrients.

The ideal moisture level for compost is an overall moisture content of around 40-60%; although you don’t have to be concerned too much with exact facts and figures as there is a simple way to test if your compost has the optimum level of moisture.

A simple trick known as the hand squeeze test is an accurate way to gauge if your compost has a good level of moisture and it really is as simple as it sounds to perform this test.

Once you have evenly distributed water to your compost, select a random section and grab a good size handful. Next, squeeze the handful to see how much moisture is released. If a lot of water drips out of your hand as you squeeze then you have overwatered your compost. This can be rectified by drying out your compost, adding dry materials such as straw and sawdust. You can also amend overwatering by increasing the amount of air that ventilates to your pile by turning the pile more frequently or by increasing direct airflow.

Conversely, if you squeeze a handful of your compost and it falls apart, it is lacking moisture. The simple solution to this outcome is to add more water. This is easier and cheaper than adding dry materials so bear this in mind when watering and remember that it is better to have too little moisture than too much.

You should be aiming for your compost to stick together in a clump in your hand and for your hand to feel slightly damp but to not be dripping. When you achieve this you then know that you have a near enough perfect amount of moisture in your compost.

In garden composting you can maintain moisture levels by using a small hose or watering can, whereas for industrial level composting you should look to use a permanent irrigation system.

If you are looking for compost to buy online be sure to pick the best multi purpose compost from a trusted compost supplier such as The Compost Shop. Give your compost the love it deserves and soon you could be growing better than ever!

At The Compost Shop we sell fantastic quality mushroom compost as well as a popular mushroom compost and manure mix. Our spent mushroom compost is the compost that remains after mushroom farming and has a high organic matter made from a blend of composted straw and animal manure.

The fact that our mushroom compost is high in organic matter makes it perfect for use on acid soils that are conversely composed of low organic matter. Heavy clay soils benefit from the alkaline nature of mushroom compost and it adds humus to thin sandy soils.

Bought in bulk, mushroom compost is a fantastic soil conditioner and is great for use in mulch. Being alkaline in composition makes mushroom compost ideal for use in vegetable and ornamental gardens, given that vegetables specifically thrive in non-acidic soil. If you are growing brassicas such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts or cabbage, they are much more likely to avoid being infected by clubroot disease. However, it should not be used around ericaceous plants that prefer compost with an acidic pH level, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, cameilla and blueberries.

Mushroom compost contains chalk, and as such, has a liming effect. You should always use it in moderation as a result, ensuring that you also remove any large pieces of chalk as a method of avoiding having a disproportionate amount of it in the soil. Although chalk can neutralise acidic soil and increase soil bacteria activity, oversupply can harm plant life, potentially leading to lime-induced chlorosis (a yellowing of the leaves) and stunted growth.

In particular, mushroom compost is not suitable for use with most fruit produce, since they mostly prefer conditions which range from neutral to acidic. You should also avoid using it as a lawn top-dressing, unless you have identified that the soil is unusually acidic and that lime is the only practical solution to neutralise it. Finally, as a high-alkaline substance, mushroom compost consequently contains a large quantity of soluble salts and as such is not suitable for potting mixes.

The Compost Shop stocks spent mushroom compost in high quantities and at very competitive prices. We make sure to steam sterilise our mushroom compost to eliminate spores and weeds, making it a superior quality economical soil conditioner.

At The Compost Shop we only stock the best compost available that is full of rich nutrients. For this reason we would suggest sticking to our already highly nutritious compost and not adding anything to it. That said, there are a few natural ingredients that should not do the compost any harm and that can be used if you are attempting to make your own compost. There are also some other ingredients that we suggest you actively avoid putting in your compost heap.

It is fundamentally important to keep an even blend of wet, green and dry, brown materials. Green materials constitute fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, tea bags and freshly mown grass clippings. These should all be fine to put in your compost heap but should be balanced out by dry, brown materials including dry leaves, dry grass clippings, nuts, pinecones and shredded newspaper. Work around maintaining a basic 50/50 ratio between green and brown materials, although many suggest the perfect ratio is 60/40 in favour of green.

There are a few things that it is ill-advised to put in your compost, and although some people will swear by these products we highly recommend avoiding them. The first of these is animal waste from your pets. This should be avoided if you are looking to plant vegetable or fruit plants and should only be added to your compost if you are growing solely ornamental plants. If you are making compost at home also avoid large amounts of meat and bones from animals and dairy products, oils, fats and so on. When making compost at home you are not likely to be able to generate sufficient temperature to properly break down meat or bones into compost.

Do not under any circumstances add diseased plants, weeds or wet grass to your compost. Doing this can cause these diseased plants and weeds to grow amongst your compost and among the plants that you are trying to grow. Anything that is not a natural product should not be added to compost. Synthetic pesticides and other inorganic materials such as plastics and cleaning chemicals should not ever be added to compost. Paper should be fine to compost but coloured paper or printed paper should be avoided as the ink will likely contain toxins which will be harmful to the compost.

Making your own compost at home can be a great way to keep down the cost of growing plants. What many of our customers do is mix their home-grown compost with our professionally produced compost to create a blend of nutrient rich compost. Turf Growers are the experts in creating garden compost so trust us to provide you with the best compost and the best hints and tips to ensure great plants every time.

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