POTTING & SEED RAISING MIXES
I have been using Dalton's range of potting mixes since 1995 and I swear by them. I've tested lots of other brands alongside Dalton's and I haven't found ANYTHING that performs more consistently.
All of my perennials, flower and vegetable seedlings etc thrive very quickly. My two favourites are:
Dalton's Big Value Potting Mix, available only from Bunnings is fabulous for flower, vegetable and tomato seedlings etc that will be transplanted.
Dalton's Premium Potting Mix is perfect for perennials and container plants.
I also recommend using Premium potting mix for hanging baskets and bulbs - there is no need to buy a specific Hanging Basket or Bulb mix.
When planting succulents it's a good idea to mix some river sand (propagating sand) or pumice through the potting mix to ensure good drainage. I use 1 part sand to 2 parts Potting Mix.
SEED RAISING MIXES
I love raising plants from seed and a good seed raising mix is the biggest key to success. Again I've tried every seed raising mix on the market and my favourite by miles is Dalton's Premium Seed Raising Mix. The secret to a good seed raising medium is in it's texture. Some mixes can have too much peat in them and this can cause the mix to either dry out very quickly (and it is incredibly hard to re-wet) or to become far too wet which can cause your seedlings to rot. I find the texture of Dalton's seed raising mix to be just about perfect! My seed germination rates and the health of my seedlings reflect this across the board.
I know it sounds as though I'm a representative for Dalton's but I promise I am just passionate about their products because they are REALLY GOOD!
MANURES & FERTILISERS
I adore Sheep Manure pellets and use them a lot in my vegetable and flower gardens. I even love the smell of them (a family joke as our family name is LAMB!) much to the consternation of my friends.
Sheep manure is available in pellets, as mentioned and also in a powdered form (Kinpak brand). I prefer the pellets because they take longer to break down, acting like a slow release fertiliser. They are also invaluable for helping to break up clay soils.
Sheep manure is not considered a 'hot' manure (i.e. likely to burn tender plants) so it can be used around plants with surface roots such as citrus, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias.
If you have a dog that loves eating the pellets, don't let that put you off. Soak the pellets in water until they form a sludge, then dig the sludge into your soil thoroughly.
I also use pellets on container plants - applying a few depending on the size of the pot. For a 10 litre pot I would use about 10 pellets (don't worry about counting them out!). This provides nutrients every time you water the container, or it rains - far simpler than liquid feeding.
If you have backyard chooks you have the perfect reservoir of glorious chook manure. The most important thing to remember when using chook manure anywhere on your garden is that it must be aged for at least six months because it is classified as a 'hot' manure. If it is used when it's too fresh it will burn the roots of any plants, especially vegetables, that are planted in it. You can spread very thinly it around as a type of mulch when it is fresh as long as you are not going to be planting anything there for a few months and the manure doesn't come into contact with any plants stems etc.
Horse manure is wonderful for plants such as hellebores (winter roses), delphiniums, roses and other 'ravenous' plants. Again it is classified as a 'hot' manure when fresh and is best aged for 6-12 months before using. Like any good manure it will come with weeds but the benefits far outweigh the weeding effort! I don't use horse manure in my vegetable garden but that's more personal choice than anything else.
More to come...