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)

Primulas - small is beautiful

In October 2000 we obtained small plug plants of Primula 'Mischief' and decided to run a very simple test and show the results through the winter to spring 2001. 48 plants were divided into four groups and planted up into 12.7cm (5 inch) diameter pots as follows:

Group 1: Peat-based multi-purpose compost
Group 2: Peat-based multi-purpose compost with controlled release fertiliser
Group 3: Bark-based compost with added soil and grit
Group 4: Bark-based compost with added soil and grit and with controlled release fertiliser

Photos were taken at the time of planting out in October and then at the end of November, December (2000), and end January, February and March, 2001.

For the photos the plants were arranged as follows:

1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4
3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4
3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4

And this is how the plants developed over the winter 2000 into spring 2001:

October 2000
November 2000
December 2000
January 2001
February 2001

In our main Primula trial there was little difference seen between two multipurpose composts, one based on peat and the other based on composted bark. Both worked quite well. In a very simple parallel test we compared Primula 'Mischief' planted either into a peat multipurpose compost or into a compost made up using the same compost but diluted by volume one part peat multipurpose compost with two parts soil, one part fine grit and one part coarse grit (in other words, the multipurpose compost made up only one fifth of the volume of the diluted compost). Six plants were grown in each of the composts, three in a 9 cm pot and 3 in a 13 cm pot to see what difference the pot size made.

Plants were kept in an unheated greenhouse from end September 2000 to mid February 2001 when the following photo was taken showing, on left, primulas in multipurpos compost and, on the right, in the diluted compost:

Much better plants resulted from the use of the diluted low nutrient, free draining soil/compost mixture. Size of pot and therefore a difference in the volume of compost for the plant made little difference to the way the plants grew, although plants in the smaller pot did seem to be flowering later. The poor growth could have been due to a number of factors with high nutrients and over watering the main suspects.

The results show that there can be big advantages in modifying a multipurpose compost according to the type of plant grown, time of year, and possibly the method of watering used.

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