Composts, was Storing cyclamen seeds

Jane McGary
Sat, 22 May 2010 15:20:45 PDT
John Lonsdale wrote,

>All results need to be taken in context and not as black and white.  It is
>amazing how many folks have the 'definitive' method of doing many gardening
>activities - looking back to the very early days of the AGS you can see how
>many bizarre unique types of compost were the 'only' ways to get many plants
>to grow.  The fact that I grow everything here in pots using a single
>compost type would have those AGS stalwarts turning in their graves.

How true! I have a number of English books on growing alpines, and 
most of them feature half a dozen or more different recipes for 
composts (American, soil mixes). I started out trying to follow these 
directions but eventually found it too much trouble and now I also 
use one mix for almost every kind of seed (with different amounts of 
topdressing, though), one mix for almost every bulb in the frame, one 
mix for potted alpines, and one mix for potted border type plants and 
shrubs. And lately, with a tremendous need for potting soil, I've 
been scooping it up from the pile of discarded bulb potting soil and 
mixing it with very old composted fine bark. Give it a little 
Rapid-Grow and most everything does fine -- at least until I can get 
it into the ground in the new garden this fall, I hope. As I go 
around the garden and trowel up this and that, I get less and less 
particular about just what it gets potted into.

The old bulb potting soil is a terrific filler for new rock garden 
features, and I'm going to have a load of it brought to the new place 
for my new rock garden. All kinds of nice bulbs pop up between the 
rocks as a result, and it is a "free" way to find out what will 
surprise one by flourishing in the open garden despite the endless 
rain. If a gardener ends up buying my country place, he or she will 
have plenty of mystery bulbs to identify!

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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