Discararded pot plants used as a pot filler?

When the local council have pulled out all the 'finished' plants they have put out in flower beds, they throw them on a big unsightly heap in a remote corner of the cemetery.
After a while it ends up being a very sandy type of compost. It doesnt look like there is much loam in it.
Would this be good to throw into garden pots mixed with some additional soil? I guess the dead plants would just rot down and add some nutrition to the mix?
It also has a lot of small bits of chopped tree bark in it. Would this tree bark help with moisture retention, or would it be a waste of time from that point of view? Would I be better picking out the tree bark and throwing it away? Thanks.
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On Sun, 18 Jul 2010 11:54:02 +0100, "john hamilton"

Except for the sand the organics in a gallon of potting soil will in a few short years compost down to perhaps a tablespoonful of dust... for instance an entire bale of peat moss will compost down to one fistful. The litter that accumulates on a forest floor creates perhaps one inch of topsoil in 100 years... it's best to use new potting soil. A corner of a cemetery is a great place for laying to rest old potting soil.
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"john hamilton" wrote

If it's all rotted down then I can't see a problem. Presumably it's the original compost mixed with rotted plants and a bit of bark, sounds good to me. Try some and see. I often use bark chippings in compost, aids drainage without adding weight, and it's not only orchids and citrus that appreciate it.
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Bob Hobden
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I would think that stuff would be ok. Why not experiment? Plant some with it and some with an alternative, and see what results?
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One thing you might find is the plants growing short, most of the pot Mums will have been treated with a growth retardant chemical which can stay in the soil for quite a time
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On 7/18/10 11:43 AM, in article i1v7f5$rl9$ snipped-for-privacy@news.eternal-september.org,

Honestly, I'd use it too - use it to lighten heavy soil or mix in with good compost. Waste not, want not
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Cheryl Isaak wrote:

...
same here! i'm trying to talk a greenhouse person to call me when they are going to throw out old plants as i would love all that lightener to throw on top of (and to mix in) with this clay. even if it takes a few years for the roots to fall apart it would still work great.
songbird
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On 7/20/10 9:16 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@mid.individual.net, "songbird"

And it will work - over time with patience. Good luck
C
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Just be carefull if you are geting old pots of compost from someones glasshouse, the plants may have just given up the ghost or them may have been killed by something, what comes to mind is vine weevil, something you don't want to bring in to your garden. David Hill
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And you can speed up the process by keeping the beds mulched. As with composting, the Carbon/Nitrogen ratio should be about 25/1. Occasionally, you may want to pull back the mulch to warm the soil, but in general, keep it covered in mulch, and the earthworms will do wonders for your soil. This gives you great soil, and no digging.
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On Sun, 18 Jul 2010 11:54:02 +0100, "john hamilton"

I sift spent potting mix through a 1/2" hardware cloth and use it around herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage).
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