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Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: Humble one Sent: 1/31/2015 1:04:25 PM

Dear All,

I live in England, where at the moment it is very cold indeed with snow. In addition to the herbs and vegetables that I have growing that can grow here at this time outside, I have a greenhouse which I grow Aloes in; many hundreds of them. I use them as a medicine. I grow 2 species; Aloe vera and Aloe arborescens, the second of which is from South Africa.

More to the point, here we have a very clayey soil, which is highly unsuitable for the Aloes as drainage is essential (if I were to dig up some soil and use them in the pots). Therefore, I can't really use it for them. Until now, and for years, I have just used "Top soil" from the Garden Centre, with added grit which was the most suitable thing that I could find.

However, I know that this stuff is not entirely natural and I wanted them growing in a soil which has the elements as they were ORIGINALLY composed, not edited.


I can't seem to find any organic potting compost, just wondering what anybody else does? Anybody else in the UK, what do you do if you grow stuff?

I Hope you enjoy the rest of your day,


Messenger: jessep86 Sent: 1/31/2015 3:39:20 PM

Search online for a delivery.

Roots organic and the green avenger are great.

Also make own compost pilr, mix compost in with clay soil and also can get compost from fruits and veggies in bags online.

Manure from animals like cows or something works too just fine tho a little un appeasing tho its just how nature works. Compost and manure, guano, sea.bird castings are best . I prefer vaganic growing . Rock dust is good for benifiting the garden ground too! Also sea salt rock ...

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 1/31/2015 4:43:17 PM

Use Coco

Messenger: Humble one Sent: 2/1/2015 11:39:53 AM

Thank you for the suggestions. Looks like I might have to send off for some organic compost. Aloes don't like rich soil though, so I think manure would not be wise to use on them.


I have one question regarding Perlite. Does anyone else use it? It says that it is a volcanic rock which has been heated up to expand it, so it is natural. But it's appearance is anything but natural.

Would you use it? It is the easiest option and probably the most effective but don't know whether they keep everything completely natural from rock to bag.

All the best,


Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 2/1/2015 1:13:09 PM

Coco really is best, natural, and you control the nutrients. Mix 30% perlite with your medium for better air and water flow. Nothing wrong with that.

But outdoor under Jah son is the only real way. Anywhere you drop a seed in the tropics ganja will grow.

Messenger: ShivaJiva Sent: 2/2/2015 6:52:07 PM

Peat moss
Earthworm castings
Perlite and/or vermiculite (perlite is better for drainage but vermiculite has a host of its own benefits)

This is a pretty decent soil mix while keeping it simple, and you can always add amendments and whatnot as you feel they are needed. Perlite is great and most gardeners that I know use it. It's not harmful in any ways to human or plant health, but it can be unsustainably sourced so I'd do a bit of research on the vendor before purchasing.

There is a technique called "cooking" your soil which essentially utilizes natural processes to create your own compost by allowing your soil mix to decompose over time. You can mix together all of your ingredients for the mix, and then let it sit undisturbed for at least a month. Microbes in the soil will break everything down and make nutrients available for the plants. The longer you let the soil decompose the better, which is great because you can keep reusing it and it will only improve.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 2/3/2015 7:48:08 AM

And buy some neem

Messenger: ShivaJiva Sent: 2/3/2015 12:17:02 PM

Neem is a great all natural, organic pesticide.

Messenger: Humble one Sent: 2/3/2015 12:33:32 PM

Thank you very much ShivaJiva and Garveys Africa for your suggestions; really appreciated.

Coco sounds like the best option, with perlite.

The neem is interesting; although so far they have had no bacterial problems I will keep this in mind


The coco has no nutrients, so I use nettle fertilizer for them. I make this out of nettles that I collect WILD here in england (foraging), and rainwater. I let it sit and 'brew' for a month or more and then dilute in feeding them. This will be my way of giving them a pure connection with the earth; homemade nettle fertilizer wild collected.

Nettles grow wild here in the UK


Once again, thank you all,

All the best,


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