Compost use in horticulture

Compost lends itself very well to horticulture, used either as a growing media constituent or "neat" as a soil improver.

In fact many Growing Media manufacturers are using compost as part of their peat replacement programmes.  The Growing Media Initiative (GMI) is a scheme developed by the Horticultural Trades Association in conjunction with the Growing Media Association, DIY and Garden Centre retailers, Defra, the RSPB and the Royal Horticultural Society.  It aims to help the horticultural industry in the UK meet government targets for reduction in peat use and compost is playing an important role in helping organisations achieve this.

But it’s not just the environmental features of compost that make it worth considering.  Whether you're a horticulturist, grower or growing media manufacturer, compost’s  benefits can translate into improved plant establishment, growth and survival, leading to significant cost savings.

These benefits include:

  • Reduced need for fertilisers as compost contains Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium.
  • Compost may assist in the supression of some plant diseases because it is more biologically active than other media constituents. It is thought that the populations of micro-organisms present in some composts, may act to cause suppression of soil bourne plant pathogens, and this may be through a combination of factors such as competition, antibiosis, parasitism, and induced systemic resistance in plants.
  • Contains all the main plant micro nutrients such as Sulphur and Iron.
  • Contains organic matter for good soil/media structure.
  • Reduced need for liming.

All of the compost suppliers on the BSI PAS 100 scheme can supply recent laboratory data e.g. total and available Nitrogen to help you successfully use their product. For more information on using compost in growing media view some of the documents availablt on the right.