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distracted

Which? Compost trials 2015

37 posts in this topic

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Compost Best composts for raising young plants 2015

All of our Best Buy composts produced consistently good plants. This year we decided to separate the results for sowing seeds and raising young plants. We found two Best Buys that excelled in both tests, as well as two that are Best Buys for sowing seeds only, and four for raising seedlings and plug plants. See our compost results table for all the details.

Make sure the composts you buy are in the bags shown, or you could end up with last year’s stock, which may well have degraded in storage.

Best Buy composts for sowing seeds and raising young plants

Verve Multipurpose Peat-free Compost (12-litre bag)

Test score, sowing seeds: 70%

Test score, raising young plants: 88%

Peat content: 0%

Price per litre: 15p

This contains 80% composted bark, a peat alternative which seems to work well. In the sowing-seeds test, germination was high and the seedlings were strong and healthy.

Make sure you buy the 12-litre bag, as the compost in the other bag sizes is a different formulation that we have not tested.

Where to buy: B&Q

Levington Original Multipurpose Compost

Test score, sowing seeds: 70%

Test score, raising young plants: 70%

Peat content: 80%

Price per litre: 14p

At 80% peat, this has one of the highest peat contents in our trial this year. Peat is controversial because of the damage that its extraction can do to important wildlife habitats.

This compost produced consistently good young plants and had excellent germination rates in the seed-sowing test, producing seedlings that were strong and healthy.

Where to buy: garden centres

Best Buy composts for sowing seeds

Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost

Test score: 73%

Peat content: 95%

Price per litre: 12.5p

This has the highest peat content in this test and also contains sharp sand, a classic seed-sowing mix. Large numbers of both pansies and tomatoes germinated and grew well.

It was almost a Best Buy in the raising young plants test, but the basil plants were good rather than outstanding.

Where to buy: garden centres

Westland Multipurpose Compost with John Innes

Test score: 70%

Peat content: 73%

Price per litre: 20p

This is a peat-rich compost, with sharp sand and grit, but with some wood fibre, too, which can increase drainage. This compost had excellent results for the number of seeds to germinate and the seedlings were large.

In the raising young plants test, it produced plants that you would not be disappointed with.

Where to buy: garden centres

Best Buy composts for raising young plants

Miracle-Gro All Purpose Enriched Compost

Test score: 95%

Peat content: 50%

Price per litre: 25p

This compost gave excellent results in the basil and pelargonium tests, achieving an almost perfect score. However, this compost did much less well in the sowing-seeds test, just a few marks above the Don’t Buy cut-off point, so we would not recommend that you use it as an ‘all purpose’ compost, despite the name.

Where to buy: garden centres

Growise Multipurpose Compost

Test score: 75%

Peat content: not stated

Price per litre: 11p

This compost did particularly well in the pelargonium test. Almost every pot achieved excellent scores for colour, size and quality. The basil plants were mostly among the best in the trial, although they needed more water than those in other composts.

Scores for seed sowing were respectable, but not outstanding.

Where to buy: widely available

Miracle-Gro Peat-free All Purpose Enriched Compost

Test score: 70%

Peat content: 0%

Price per litre: 12p

It’s heartening to see a peat-free product doing well. It produced large, high-quality basil and pelargonium plants.

This could not be replicated in the seed-sowing tests, however, with very disappointing overall results in the pansy test. Many of the tomato seedlings germinated, but did not thrive.

Where to buy: garden centres

Verve Sowing and Cutting Compost (12-litre bag)

Test score: 70%

Peat content: 75%

Price per litre: 31p

A Best Buy for the third year running, this sowing and cuttings compost grew consistently good basil and pelargonium plants.

There are two sizes of bag: 12 litres, which we tested this year, and 50 litres, which we didn’t. The two bag sizes contain different compost formulations.

Where to buy: B&Q

Edited by distracted
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Good info, thanks for posting.

For me, confidence in how the compost has been stored (indoors) & its age is as important as the brand.

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I m using verve for a wille now...although i whish i could use PM easier to work out feeds as its a light mix. I may switch to coco just for the logistics of moving bags of compost.

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Great post @@distracted should be a good help

To everyone, seasoned growers, and newbies.

Thanks and Atvb Jack..

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Its a bit of a shame there's no peat free organic composts reviewed unless I missed it or they didn't state it. Great info all the same :)

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Its a bit of a shame there's no peat free organic composts reviewed unless I missed it or they didn't state it. Great info all the same :)

The number 1 and 2 in the containers composts are organic and peat free I think, No 1 is all Coir and 2 is a mix of bark and coir I think with something else... check their websites maybe?

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@@distracted - fertile fibre is organic

XyZ//fertilefibre.com/blog/growing-media/fertilefibre-compost/multipurpose-compost/

cheers :)

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@@distracted - fertile fibre is organic

XyZ//fertilefibre.com/blog/growing-media/fertilefibre-compost/multipurpose-compost/

cheers :)

Cheers for the link... coir withnutes in... would it be useless for a classic wet dry cycle going on the blurb? looks like it

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Well fancy that. Couldn't get the regular verve last time so had to get the peat-free and I was thinking I'd got second best so it's nice to know that's not the case.

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I am confused why such variation with products such as Miracle gro enriched all purpose compost with pot to young plants.

Is potato section best comparison for canna?

So

Fertile fibre MPC

Melcourt sylvagrow

Levington original multipurpose compost

Homebase Multipurpose compost

Levingtons by me seems to not be original mix.

Edited by Elephant Face

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levingtons seems the one to try for my outdoor this year then

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I am confused why such variation with products such as Miracle gro enriched all purpose compost with pot to young plants.

Is potato section best comparison for canna?

So

Fertile fibre MPC

Melcourt sylvagrow

Levington original multipurpose compost

Homebase Multipurpose compost

Levingtons by me seems to not be original mix.

I would have though it might be closest being a vegetable, but the begonia and vigour rating could be relevant too.

I would pick composts that scored four stars in both, so

Fertile fibre MPC

Melcourt sylvagrow

Carbon Gold

Verve

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I would have though it might be closest being a vegetable, but the begonia and vigour rating could be relevant too.

I would pick composts that scored four stars in both, so

Fertile fibre MPC

Melcourt sylvagrow

Carbon Gold

Verve

The carbon gold flopped on raised young plants.

Strange.

Probaly use clover or erin myself, shame they are not in trial.

Would like to try levington original thou.

Cheers @@wildbill

What you use?

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I'm not growing atm, but I tend to use more expensive composts like Plagron or H&G light-mix, batmix, Plant Magic.

No car to go and buy compost, so I get it delivered. I have gone and bought some on the bus before but it was quite stressful lol .

E2a. I had forgotten about the tomato rating, which is surely relevant too. So levingtons original as you say or verve do quite well.

Edited by wildbill
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