Sluggin' it out....
Peat .. the big issue
Terms and Conditions

And another thing .....

13 Jan 2013
Seed Potatoes
Seed potatoes are now becoming available in garden centres etc. Don't wait too long before getting in your seed tubers......(more)

13 Jan 2013
The supply of peat
The wet weather during 2012 has restricted the supply of peat for the coming season and as a result prices for peat-based growing media (multi-purpose composts etc) will probably increase......(more)

The answer lies in the soil

Clearly a plant looks like it does because of its genetic make up. But we all know that if you give uniform seed to different gardeners each will end up with a plant which is more or less vigorous, bigger or smaller, stronger or weaker than the rest. So what is it that makes a plant grow taller or bigger or just different from others? How much difference do you think the compost or soil really makes?

We used seed and plant plugs to grow Sunflowers (Giant Yellow), Begonia (Roxy Scarlet) and Marigolds (Spanish Brocade) in two composts and three soils, coded A - E:

A a sandy loam soil with added Growmore fertiliser at 4oz/sq yd
B a sandy silt loam with added Growmore
C a clay loam with added Growmore
D a multi-purpose peat-based compost, no added Growmore
E a soil/peat-based J Innes No 2 compost, no added Growmore

We took photos on Sept 3 (Sunflowers and Marigolds) and Sept 30 (Begonia) .You are challenged to match the five photos with the five soil/composts:

Which plant was grown in which soil/compost?

Sunflowers were sown June 18 and pricked out into 8 inch pots.
Sunflower Results

1 = E, 2 = D, 3 = A, 4 = B, 5 = C

Flower heights
1 = 123cm, 2 = 115cm, 3 = 117cm, 4 = 113cm, 5 = 104c

Marigold seed was sown June 18 and seedlings transferred to 5 inch pots on July 8.
Marigold Results

1 = E, 2 = D, 3 = A, 4 = B, 5 = C

Begonia plugs were planted out in 5 inch pots on June 26.
Begonia Results

1 = E, 2 = D, 3 = A, 4 = B, 5 = C

Comments and Tips

The compost/soil made little difference to the height of the sunflowers.

The size of the flower heads varied considerably with the tallest sunflowers tending to have smaller flowers.

The multi-purpose compost was overall the best growing medium over the short period of the test due in part to higher nutrient levels.

The J Innes No 2 compost was as good as the Multipurpose for marigolds, similar for sunflowers but little better than the straight soils for begonias.

Of the soils the clay loam was almost as good as the J Innes No2 except for marigolds.

The two sandy soils produced smaller plants except for sunflower where plants were tall but with small flower heads.

If you want your sunflowers to grow taller avoid overfeeding as this is likely to produce a large flower which tends to droop. It is claimed that sunflowers respond particularly to potassium (K) fertiliser.

The sunflowers in the test were sown in mid-June but grown indoors. Obviously if you want really tall plants and you are growing them outdoors you should start much earlier in the season.

Marigolds are very strong growing plants and will probably grow reasonably well in any growing medium, however, use of a fertile soil or compost and regular application of fertiliser will favour production of more flowers.

Since Begonias have very fine roots they ought to do well in the finer silt/clay soil types, however, an open, free-draining compost is normally recommended.

Designed and Maintained by JayT Limited © 2013-2014