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Compost and why your gardens are the richer for it

Compost is not something that comes up generally in normal conversation – apart from as a four-letter word!  At Stanler Farms, the home of Super Grow fertiliser, however - “compost happens”! 

Here it is spoken of with conviction and passion.  In a world of sanitised soaps and cleaners (as advertised extensively on TV), bacteria have received a bad rap.   Bill Bryson, however, in “A Short History of Nearly Everything” speaks about the essential role that bacteria play in sustaining life on earth.

 In the words of Peter Stanton, the CEO of this nation-wide business -   “Here we actually sell bacteria and fungi” -  and sports fields, schools, golf courses, farms and gardens are the richer for it!

Stanler Farms came about as a result of the largest mushroom producers in South Africa needing an outlet for their spent compost.  

Spent Mushroom Compost is high in Phosphate, Nitrogen and Potassium and contains important micro nutrients. (For a full analysis go to the website ).   This by-product is used by Stanler Farms either as the base of the other Stanler Farms products, or in its original composition as Mushroom Compost.  As a result, their compost has a rich and consistent nutrient content.

In much the same way as the human body needs to be supplemented with minerals and vitamins which are depleted through bad eating habits and nutritiously deficient food products, so the soil in our gardens needs to be fed with good organic matter containing micro-organisms to help keep plants healthy.  This does not apply only to vegetable gardens, where beautiful organic products will result, but it is also vital throughout the garden.

Previously it was believed that compost should be tilled into the ground in order to be the most effective.  The latest thinking around the world is to use compost as mulch on top of the soil, which allows the micro-organisms to seep into the ground when watered.

“Any compost properly made should not smell”, Peter  Stanton proclaims.  His product is a good example of this as the nose test on the farm bears out!  “It should just have a beautiful earthy smell”.

Apart from the benefits of feeding the garden with compost, he also recommends the sheer enjoyment of working in the garden.  “Most gardeners are happy people” he states, and speaks with pleasure about the projects and time he is putting into his garden at home.  Offices that have had the foresight to include gardens, or at least pot plants on their premises, have found that this increases the sense of well-being in their staff.

Plant Time Nursery, which operates from  Stanler Farms, would be glad to assist in the choice of plants and with landscape design.  Compost, lawn dressing, bark, stones, pots and pavers are all available on the farm, either by the bag or by the bakkie load.

Stanler Farms is located on the R302 (Klipheuwel Road) just 3.5km outside Durbanville.  Visit their website at  for further information.  For other places of interest to visit in the countryside of the Tygerberg area go to    

Enjoy getting your hands soiled these holidays!