Since they are heavy feeders, it would be best to be careful when cultivating potatoes. One way of achieving a great harvest is using compost.
It is no secret that various types of compost are at a gardener’s disposal. So, is peat-free compost good for potatoes?
It would be unfortunate if one were to use an inappropriate type of their plant. It destroys your potatoes, yet the goal was far from that.
You make wise decisions by understanding peat-free compost and its suitability for cultivating potatoes. Consequently, the product is impressive and worth your effort.
What Is Peat-Free Compost?
As the name suggests, it is compost that lacks peat. On the other hand, peat is organic matter comprising partially decayed vegetation.
One may wonder what peat-free compost then entails. It has a small fraction of composted garden waste.
Major materials include coir, composted bark, and wood fiber. In other instances, it may contain manure, grit, perlite, vermiculite, and sterilized soil.
It is also good to mention that the peat-free compost industry seems to be evolving. You will find some containing sheep’s wool and composted bracken.
The Best Compost for Potatoes
If you want to grow potatoes excellently, ensure that the compost you choose is open-textured. It should also contain plenty of organic matter.
It must be well-balanced. Besides having a lot of nutrients, its pH value should also be neutral.
Alternatively, combine the John Innes compost with well-rotted garden compost. It would be best if you also considered the following when choosing compost good for potatoes;
- Ensure that the compost doesn’t contain a lot of woody material. That’s because such compost can cause high acidity in the soil, and potatoes don’t thrive under such circumstances.
- The compost should also be well-decomposed and fine, like soil. The soil will drain well and be hardly compact due to the crumbly texture.
- Remember that potatoes are sensitive to too much or too low pH value. It works best with the acidic side; hence great to choose compost that has a pH level of about 7.0 for excellent growth
- The compost should also be rich in nutrients, especially potassium and nitrogen, to help them grow healthily
So, remember to consider these conditions when choosing compost good for potatoes. Pay attention to the pH level, organic matter, and nutrients.
Is Peat-Free Compost Good for Potatoes?
Peat-free compost is ideal for various plants, and potatoes are no exception. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to use it in your garden.
For instance, those containing components such as sheep’s wool waste and coco coir improve the soil’s moisture retention. Since potatoes are heavy feeders, they will thrive under such circumstances.
Besides nourishing your potatoes, peat-free compost is also an excellent mulch. Therefore, your potatoes will survive the cold winters and hot summers seamlessly.
It is possible to make peat-free compost from the comfort of your home. If that’s too much for you, consider buying it since it is affordable and readily available.
Thanks to the healthy microorganisms in the peat-free compost, your potatoes will receive numerous nutrients and thus thrive. It will also get the aeration it needs hence successful.
The gardener doesn’t have to experience the odor associated with peat compost. It is environmentally friendly and hence encouraged for the sake of our planet.
For instance, unlike its peat counterpart, it doesn’t use unsustainable natural resources. They also lack carbon, a major contributor to the dreadful climate change.
Common Components of Peat-Free Compost
Most peat-free compost contains these components;
It is a perfect mulch, not forgetting its effectiveness in improving the soil. That’s thanks to its high pH level and nutrient content.
Coir is coconut fiber and, thus, a waste product. One can reuse it by using it as a component of your peat-free compost.
It is an ideal growing medium due to its excellent aeration. After all, it is a mixture of course and fine fibers leading to pores in between.
Its water retention is also impressive, giving the plant the necessary water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold many nutrients.
It is the most common component of peat-free compost. It can also be in various forms, including sawdust, wood fiber, and composted bark.
In other instances, people use paper or wood waste. It is an excellent choice due to its low pH level and great drainage.
In other instances, one can opt for these materials;
- Cardboard production waste
- Paper production waste
- Carpet waste
- Wool waste
- Arable straw waste
Tips When Using Peat-free Compost
For excellent results, consider these crucial tips;
- Since it is often clumpy, ensure that it has ample aeration
- Young seedlings and even seeds may not appreciate the compost for the same reason
- For great aeration and an excellent open structure, consider adding vermiculite, especially during seed germination
- Ensure that moisture content is uniform since the compost tends to be dry at the top while wet beneath
- If it is vital to improve soil drainage, add sharp sand or grit
- Ensure that you water the plants adequately. While at it, avoid overwatering to prevent destroying the roots
- When watering, dip your fingers in the soil to gauge the moisture since it is hard to tell by looking
- Despite comprising green waste, it is possible to have some chemicals, especially if you didn’t make the compost yourself
- Keep adding food since its nutrients don’t last for long
- It is easy to overwater or overfeed the soil for bracken and wool composts. That’s because they retain the two for a long period.
- Since the wood peat-free compost is hard to rehydrate once it dries, water it occasionally. Remember not to overdo it
Is peat-free compost good for potatoes? Yes, and not just potatoes but a wide range of plants.
Using it will benefit you and your plants in several ways. For instance, it is a great mulch that improves your soil’s water retention.
It is also environmentally friendly, and that’s a step closer to handling climate change. Every gardener should do something about this issue to avoid the dire consequences of global warming.