Suggestions for Home-made Compost for Pots Please

I’ve always relied on the “terreau” for my pots that I can buy in our local garden centre and even the quality stuff is far from ideal as it dries out so quickly. So, this year I’m trying to make a home-made mixture that holds onto water longer, I’d welcome thoughts / suggestions please on what mixture / ratio of the following to use that might mean I’m watering less:

  • terreau from existing pots that I’ve emptied out
  • mole hill earth from the clay bit of our garden (tends to be claggy)
  • mole hill earth from the sandy bit of our garden - very free draining
  • well rotted sheep manure from a friend’s smallholding 3 years ago

Thanks for any suggestions

Anything here in a similar recent thread by @strudball regarding seed compost or is your quest a different one?

Yes very similar to my thread “seed compost”
As I explained i have the similar view of the rubbish bags of all types of compost expensively available in the dominated supplier Magasin/Point Vert round us. My struggle is to find compost for seeds.

As regards the mixture I use first three but think sheep manure is too strong for seed. In the absence of horticultural grit (never seen it) a friend suggested trying bags at the grit that is used for the bottom of tropical fish tanks. Expensive for bulk use, but ok for adding in small quantities for seed.
…so off to MV to get some next week.

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It’s not really grit, as tends to be smooth. And what you want for little seedling roots is the edges of gritty stuff to encourage roots to branch.

Different one Graham. Mine are all mature plants - begonias / geraniums / lobelias etc that I have overwintered and I am tidying up and now want to repot them up into troughs and large pots ready for the summer.

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My mix is spent compost (if I have any), sieved garden soil, some of our home made compost and I add some leaf-mould and sand until it feels right. The leaf mould hangs on to the water, but sand stops everything clumping too much.

For oomph it depends what we have - currently can get composted BRF and slurry very cheaply. Otherwise I use guanomous (fish guano) as voles don’t like the smell, or comfrey.

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TBH I’d mix all that you have together and you’ll have a mix just as good as anything in the bags for what you are wanting to do with it! My neighbour always goes to our other neighbours sheep paddock to to collect the lovely mole soil! You could also get a block (or more) of the coconut coir that you rehydrate as it is excellent for holding moisture in, I’d mix it at around 1/4 (each block turns into 10L of the coconut). If you have an Action near you is is pennies there but most places sell it now. Lidl does it on occasion too (but still much more than Action)

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Absolutely…but where can you get it from.?

big fan of Action …but you do have to pick the products, some can be a bit flimsy…

My comment is that most of the bagged stuff in “garden centers” is fairly poor quality and I have a suspicion a lot of the comes from dechetterie deposits…it can be doctored/improved particularly for potting up of established plants, but you need better quality for seed germination, which is my problem. There seems to be no French equivalent to loam based John Innes No1 which surprises me.

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not much point in watching Monty Don then :wink:

Thanks for the top tip about the coco coir blocks from Action @toryroo
I grew microgreens and baby veg in SA and UK and I made up my potting mix with 1/3 compost, 1/3 coco coir and 1/3 vermiculite which was perfect for my needs and I highly recommend it.
Do you have a good source for vermiculite in France?

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That is exactly what I do! Hubby looked around and ended up finding it cheapest at a builders shop / brico (not gardening!) in a huge bag (equiv of the big bales of wood shavings I use for the chooks - 80L maybe?) - from memory it was €14 and I’m stil on it probably 3 or 4 years later!

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Brilliant, thanks!

In Megallan 2021 catalogue page 92 1kg (10 ltr) €12.99, also have Perlite


Thanks so much John. Not a website I knew. Looks very useful.

Ordered in late feb…by old fashioned post! good delivery and a free heated propagator…bit basic but will be useful as a spare.
Do you know

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Thanks for the link John, no I don’t know it. Link seems to be broken?

There’s an “e” missing after ferm so the correct link is

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Gosh, we only paid a couple of euros more for 10 times that!

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