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If there is no sign of seed they may have been eaten by mice.  I have to use mousetraps in the greenhouse or I will lose anything pea or bean based. They even cached all the onion seed in one corner of a tray last year.  Using propagator covers helps to keep them about but you have to make sure they're a tight fit.


Nodlisab, I have had a similar experience with seeds.  I'm a novice with seeds and was putting my poor results down to my lack of knowledge/experience, but maybe the B&Q compost I'm using is part of the reason.  I agree with you it is poor, and it dries out so quickly. 


I think we should also note that this is officially the coldest 'spring' in 34 years, also the 6th coldest on record. I've had a very poor germination rate with chillies, tomatoes and peppers, and haven't even bothered with some seeds that need heat before they pop up. It isn't always just the fault of the compost used but a combination of all the factors affecting germination.

The vast variation in quality of compost from year to year and product to product really doesn't help at all though.


I always bought whatever was on offer but after a terrible batch of Levington's last year, full of twigs and ither rubbish, I tried New Horizon peat free and I'll be sticking with it. It's dark, crumbly, holds the moisture brilliantly and almost every seed I sowed germinated easily.  Very satisfied gardener! At £4.99 for 60 litres, it's not cheap, but the garden centre always has offers on, so I wait for those and stock up.


And I just read that it won Which? best container compost 2012!  Garden centre's got an offer on for 6bags for £20. Where's my coat?



Getting mine too lindsay!

I am using J Arthur Bowers Multipurpose compost this year, after using a thing called Growise last year which was terrible. It contained bits of wood, and toadstools kept popping up in my pots + fertility seemed poor. I have had good results from the Arthur Bowers so far, with good seed germination even with bean seeds which were 100%. For long term use in pots I always go 50:50 with JI no 2, as Multipurpose always runs out of steam and needs more feeding sooner when used on its own,

To germinate runner beans I fill pot to 1" below rim, firm it and push seeds into the top, and either sprinkle with grit or fine compost to barely cover, and only give a very light water over the top. I found if I watered the pot to wet it all through and then sowed into it I got a high level of seeds rotting. I cover the pots with cling film  and only water well after I see the shoots pop up.  

I have just joined this forum having Googled 'Rubbish Compost' and found this. I have just brought a 120 Litre of B&Q Verve and, like everybody else found it is rubbish. It is of exactly the same consistency as the composted green waste the Couincil sell. The B&Q stuff doesnt seem so bad as the Miracle Grow c--p I brought earlier this year. I potted on some New Guinea Buzy Lizzies and they are not doing well and I thought it was me. Thanks everyone. I now know it is the Miracle Grow that is the problem. If the BBC Gardeners World programme was more practically minded rather than entertainment for Garden Design for people with huge gardens surely this problem would have been highlighted. What about 'Watchdog' has anybody comp[lained to them?

Rainwater Fanatic

I am definitely with Lindsay on this one - New Horizon peat free has always proved extremely reliable for me and I really like the peat free aspect. 

I needed some 'emergency compost' last week and ended up buying a bag from one of the big brands (possibly Tunstall?) and it had something printed on the bag along the lines of ' Yes, we do use peat, but do not take it from anywhere environmentally important'. To my mind, it is all environmentally important and so peat free for me.


Hi Rainwater Fanatic, I must say it's nice to use compost with a clear conscience. I was a bit worried about the peat free aspect, but it's a lot better than the standard peat based ones. Win-win!

For fruit and veg i would pay a little extra and get J.A. Bowers Traditional muliti-purpose compost it is a peat based compost with alot of peat, it is very fine and lovely stuff!

Garden Maniac

I've had more success with J Arthur Bowers than anything this year - all the 'specialists' have let me down, so I'm sticking with what I know.  (you live and learn !) The latest batches of it are more newly packed and hence less 'clumpy'.  I've found it works for me.  


        I tried to use homebase reserve and collect service for some Westland MPC but I got a call from them to say don't bother coming to collect it we've sold it ! I was furious at the time but, after reading this thread it seems they've done me a big favour. Thank you Homebase your poor customer service has triumphed again.


This thread was from last year Mr Robinson so you may find Westland could be better this year!

I've just bought some nice organic compost at my local GC called Vital Earth which is lovely. I can highly recommend it. £3.99 for a 50 L bag but they had an offer of 4 bags for a tenner so that made it very reasonable.


You are right Fairygirl, it seems compost formulae for many branded makes is changing every year at the moment, so I would only take recommendations for makes when they have been bought this year.  Own-branded compost from the large well-known GC/DIY stores tends to vary between areas of the country, too, so recommendations for those should also be taken with a pinch of salt!  I use a lot of the stuff (60-90 bags a year) and I buy one bag of each of several brands at this time of the year to see which I like before ordering in bulk.



Wondering if anyone else noticed this last year...

I had some growbags from B&Q, and i noticed they were full of peanuts., mostly because there was so many of them mice would open them and pull them apart to get at the nuts. 

I had 1 bag left over so i opened it this spring as i needed some compost, and actually found the number of nuts in was unbelievable,peanuts (still red in their shells) probably made up a 1/4 of all the material in the growbag. I can't even say it was uncomposted material as it basically looked like fresh peanuts, it clearly was just a material they had used to add as a filler to the compost.

So we've had rocks, plastic, lumps of wood and now peanuts all sold as compost...


I bet the squirrels' love your garden Andy

I bought some B & Q s own brand this year , (compost ,not grow bags) seems nice stuff, but the bags are smaller

or is it my imagination?



I bought the 120 litre verve b&q compost this year and it was good stuff night and day better than last years compost.

Mark 499

I have bought Homebase mpc this year & Westland mpc both are very good quality, they seem identical in make up so I presume Westland make both.

Jim Macd

I won't use anything but New Horizons, it's organic and peat free. I have no issues with it at all. It does what it is supposed to.