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Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

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default Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

Post by FloBear on 15th February 2015, 11:41 am

I received this info. through my Which subscrption and thought I'd share in case it is of any use. I know people have their tried and trusted and it's best to stick with what works but I had a bad experience with some really duff compost two years ago so any info is helpful, I find!
All my careful formatting in Word has disappeared - hope it's not too confusing!!

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
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FloBear

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default Re: Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

Post by Dandelion on 15th February 2015, 1:37 pm

Thanks FloBear - very interesting reading. I'd like to try Verve peat-free from those results.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

Post by Chilli-head on 20th February 2015, 8:47 am

Surprising perhaps the extent to which peat still features.   I have used a John Innes blend seed compost which contains peat, with the justification that it is a tiny amount compared to the potting compost.  Can't say I liked it much, the loam content made it a bit heavy and airless I thought.

The Verve does look to be the best eco compromise ... but what about composts in big bags for growing on stuff in containers ? I need 200-300 litres per year !  I usually get New Horizons when I can get a multi-buy discount to supplement what I can make myself ... wonder if there is anything better yet ?
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default Re: Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

Post by Dandelion on 20th February 2015, 4:09 pm

I picked up a small bag of the Verve compost at B&Q to try out this morning - it was quite confusing as there is also Verve which has a high peat content, so you need to be on the look-out (and not dozy, like me...)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Trials on Seed and Cutting composts 2015

Post by FloBear on 20th February 2015, 9:53 pm

Useful tip there, Dandelion. Shop when fully awake Wink
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