Change the compost? ... Why?

It's not the most glamorous subject, however, compost is one of the most important when we are considering our pots and containers for the coming summer months. 

This was more than reinforced when I was out with a work colleague the other day, having a coffee at a local garden centre. I was advising regarding some of the plants to buy for containers for the coming summer months, and we had some discussion on what would provide colour over this time. As the plants were being purchased, I suggested to buy some compost as the existing compost would need to be changed. 

The response was why, what was wrong with the compost that was already there. (Well, I have to say, as I've gotten older I am definitely more interested in people being educated at their pace, rather than dictating.) My response to the 'why?' question, was to ask when was the compost last changed. The person wasn't sure, perhaps in the past year or two. 
Hmmmm ....

I suggested there might be a lack of food after that time to which the person responded they will liquid feed the containers. Okay, so this person really doesn't want to change the compost ... 

I simply stated putting new container plants into old compost wasn't a good idea and if it were me, I would completely empty the old compost and bedding plants out and start afresh with quality compost, otherwise you're better to leave to containers empty, as you're setting yourself up for disappointment. 

(Of course, I didn't want to bore the person to death with my own recipes for home-made compost, with food for the season, etc. ... Lol)

It did drive home though the need to continually educate people on how to get the best from their garden. Similar to my 'I'd just love to be able to do that' post and my 'It's the soil' post, sometimes this doesn't take huge additional effort, just a little know how to get the best from the resources we use.

In fact, I'd go so far to say, that the investment in good soil and compost should exceed the importance of buying the biggest size in plants, as without the former, you're leaving the latter to chance. Better to spend your money on good compost and smaller size in plants, as these will catch up in no time.

Finally, I recommended that when the containers and baskets are revamped, the person should sit them on a nice sunny patio for four or five weeks in order to allow the plants to establish (of course take them in overnight if there is going to be a cold night or frost). 

Well, the reaction to this comment was funny - 'What? Why? I want to look at them...' 

Fair enough, all one can do is advise ... Lol (here's an earlier blog I wrote on a hanging basket demonstration I did - some good advice in it) ...

Happy gardening weekend to all