London (change)
20 messages
20/01/2014 at 09:45

Hi All on this cold and frosty morning!  I have read several discussions on these forums on good and bad composts to buy.  My question is, does anyone out there use homemade composts using sifted garden compost  (and additives?) to sow their seeds and pot up in the greenhouse?

20/01/2014 at 17:00

I don't make my own, I use John Innes seed compost, or occasionally I'll use multi-purpose for large seeds like squash and courgettes.  


20/01/2014 at 17:25

I don't exactly make it but as I find JI seed a bit 'solid' I add some multipurpose and some fine grit. That makes it just as I like it

20/01/2014 at 17:47

 I think very few people make their own seed compost for several reasons - you need to sterilise the soil you need by heating it    e.g.  in a microwave to kill off harmful viruses ..;  normal compost will be full of weed seeds which will germinate when used in a seed growing situation; you can't be sure of the nutrient levels in your soil - seedlings need a soil of low nutrient level.

I usually use a brand from Aldi with good results.

20/01/2014 at 19:23

I'd go with nutcutlet..............using the JI seed compost but mix with fine grit or Vermiculite - makes a more manageable mixture for average seed sowing 

20/01/2014 at 19:36

I sieve my compost, mix with sharp sand and use it for sowing seeds. Any weeds that come up are usually after ( or easily distinguished from) the seed I have planted. If pulling up the weed will disturb your seedling, just cut the weed off at ground level with scissors. When you plant your seedling on, the root of the weed can be pulled away.

I have never used 'seed compost'.

21/01/2014 at 15:25

Same as artjak, I use my own for easily recogniseable seeds, so that I can identify and pull out the weeds. I have a rotary sieve I use to break down my compost to a suitable size, like this one:

21/01/2014 at 20:21

Thank you everyone for that.  Yes I have got some of last year';s seed potting compost which has been left out side so it sounds as if I might be best digging it in somewhere and starting again. I am tempted to try using my own sifted garden compost as an experiment and see how things go, bearing in mind I must keep an eye on the weeds that sprout too. I do hate disappointment though!

21/01/2014 at 21:11

Hi everyone, has anybody tried their local council's compost, if so was it any good.

22/01/2014 at 16:44

The problem with that is that someone may have used weed and feed products on their lawn, then put the cuttings in the council green waste bin.

23/01/2014 at 19:13

Thanks artjak, never thought about feed and weed,will have to have another think about compost, maybe better to buy from garden centre.

23/01/2014 at 21:53

Hello artjak, what is sharp sand? 

24/01/2014 at 08:27

Sharp sand comes in various grades - some are used in the building industry and may not be suitable for horticulture as it may not be coarse enough or may contain salt as it's obtained by dredging.

You can buy horticultural grade sand from GCs etc but it is much more expensive - many gardeners buy the building grade sand and leave it out in the rain to wash any contamination out.  

If you're buying the building type check that it's a coarse grain. 


25/01/2014 at 11:15

Pauly, it is what my builder calls it. It is gritty sand. I had some left from a hard landscaping project and my builder who is a keen gardener said to use it to 'open up' compost and clay. I also use it to mix with compost for seeds and just about everything. I think it is about £1.30 or so from a builders merchant for a small sack; but much cheaper if you get them to deliver one of those huge 1 ton bags.

26/01/2014 at 09:11

Thank you for the info artjak and Dovefromabove. What ratio would you use for a seed mix? I also had given to me a bag of John Innes young plant compost, would this be ok to use as a seed compost?

26/01/2014 at 09:13

I wouldn't use it as seed compost - it'll have too many nutrients - but it'll be fine for pricking out and potting on so very useful 

26/01/2014 at 20:21

Thank you Dovefromabove i'll have to get a bag of seed compost soon or maybe I'll have a go at making my own.

05/03/2014 at 17:53

bumping this up for Edd 

05/03/2014 at 17:58

Thanks again FG.

I bought some Westland Gro-Sure seed and cutting Compost 20L - 2 For £4 at Wilko and have to say it is fantastic stuff. I passed it through a 10mm hand sieve and it took longer to pour it into the sieve than it did to actually sieve it. There was only a handful of bits remaining in the top. I was going to pass it through a 5mm Sieve but there is absolutely no need. It must be a fresh batch as it is still warm. Lets hope it is just as good at germination. I recommend it so far.

30/04/2014 at 07:30

I'm pretty sure the weed and feed breaks down after a short period of time - the stuff from my local tip is just as good in texture as the homebase multipurpose compost I have bought.  I also use a sieve but I bought a hand held riddle - much cheaper and takes up less room in the shed than the fancy one on a stand if you arent using it 24/7 !


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