Bark and wood waste
By-products of the timber industry it includes wood fibres as well as bark. The bark is normally obtained from softwood. This will be composted for at least three months and makes a peat-like compost.
Bark makes excellent mulch
Coconut fibre (coir) is the outside husk of coconut. It can be purchased as compressed ‘bricks’ which when soaked expand to form a loose, fibrous potting medium. It has
good water retention and can be mixed with garden compost.
Monty Don (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2002/mar/17/gardens) writes that it is not necessary to add anything to Coir if it is to be used purely to raise seedlings but
for potting or potting on he recommends the following mix: 3 parts coir, 1 part sieved garden compost, 1 part sieved loam and 1 part sharps and perlite or horticultural grit.
Spent mushroom compost makes
a good soil improver and mulch. Originally made from rotted stable manure mushroom compost is now normally made from composted straw. Spent compost also contains chalk, is usually alkaline, and is helpful on acid soils. Alternatively, it can be used with brassicas,
which do not like acid soils. It is not suitable for ericaceous plants
The RHS indicate that autumn collected dead bracken cam be composted using the same method as leaves to produce leaf mould (http:www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=445).
The Forestry Authority in Edinburgh have published a useful information sheet on bracken compost and its use for mulching or as a potting medium (Unfortunately mixed with peat!)
Dalefoot Composts make an interesting range of bracken based wool composts including a seed compost which provide a sustainable peat free alternative. www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk
Leaf mould makes a good soil conditioner and can be used in homemade composts Leaf Mould
A by-product of brewing, spent hops can be used as a soil conditioner but not as a mulch or growing medium
Green waste compost
Green waste compost is a peat-free organic soil improver made from garden waste collected
by local councils. Where the green waste is not separated from the general rubbish it is would be sent to landfill.
In addition to its use as a soil improver at 20-40 litres per square metre (equivalent to a 2-4cm layer) it can be used to line
planting trenches for fruit and vegetables, as an addition to the soil when planting out, to top dress lawns and as a component of a peat free growing medium when transplanting seedlings .