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Anyone watched Beechgrove Garden on iplayer ?

They are conducting a little experiment with different named brands of seed compost -  which performs the best. Will have to follow the programme over a few weeks to see the results though.


I have just got back from B&Q on a different mission-but noticed they are still selling the new Verve compost as 3 for £10 which people were buying by the shed load and also the same stuff in 125 litre bags.

In addition in125litre bags were last years peat based version which must make it 18 months old unless they have bought in new supplies-so either they are trying to clear old stock or have been taking note-who knows?


After seeing all the complaints on here I decided to try something different this year and bought 2 60ltr sacks of Westland+ mpc from Range. £10 for 2. It says it is 50%peat and 50% West+ wood fibre. It's lovely stuff, rich and dark and crumbly, just like the cheap ones used to be. I know it contains peat, but the other stuff just wasn't good enough for my plants. No point in spending a lot of money on plants for pots then killing them off in rubbish compost. Just wish I had more room to make enough of my own. I bought Westlands 'Surestart' seed and cutting compost as well and that looks better than the last bag I had from B&Q.

A couple of people on another site have plants showing signs of aminopyralid poisoning after using Wickes compost.


Had to google aminopyralid poisoning.  Glad I didn't buy any, I'd be doing me nut right now.


Peat B

I feel safe with the Westlands stuff.

I have been seiving my  home made compost these days, and though it LOOKS quite chipper, I have a sneaking feeling that there's more to compost than looks ! I really MUST get my act together and do these ph tests. The tester I bought, a metal rod for 'prodding ' the soill and like a soothe sayer, would incant the ph of the soil, was a complete non-starter. The indicator on the guage remained vigilant, but still, motionless and without interest !  It is now a label holder somewhere in the lotty !

Peat B

Blast ! 'i' before 'e', except after 'c'. No wonder I can't get the compost right !


SIEVE ! not seive ! mutter mutter mutter !

There has been an article in the Guardian within the last two weeks comparing various composts: a bit of a search online might find it. My favourite, Horizon peat-free multipurpose, came out well.



To Joe and peteballan

the edit function is working-so you can change your posting without having to admit making a mistake- and no-one will ever know

Peat B

But I will know !!!!!!!!!! 

I've been using Verve from B&Q this year, and it's been ok. There was a spilled bag from the pallet from which I took my first lot, and that looked good, so I felt safe. I'm sieving it for seed sowing, as it does have some bitty bits in it, but having sown into fifty 3" pots this afternoon, after sieving, I had less than one 6" shallow pot of 'rubbish', which will be fine after time in my compost bin.

I've used it for all my seed sowing as well as big flower pots. All the flowers are doing well, and apart from Orange Winner marigolds, which I've decided was a duff packet, all the seeds have done well.

I've also used in it my half-barrels for peas and beans and the peas are doing very well. The beans are suffering from the weather and being almost drowned, so I can't blame the compost for that.

Miracle Gro, on the other hand, was a disaster for me two season ago, and I had to begin again from scratch after non-germination of almost 90% of sowing.

And I will know, and it's better to come clean rather than live with a guilty secret.

Peat B

It's a hard life, being a gardener, innit ! ?  My whole life has been a 'guilty secret ' !


i have been using westland 3 for £10 here.. dont go no cheaper than that.. but i have found some of my seeds not doing well.. i am rather inclined to go back to peat compost it is better.



I've had some very bad results with my seed compost. The honesty seeds I sowed have produced 4 tiny plants out of 24 seeds. The tomato seeds I sowed on 26th March have reached the dizzy height of 3inches! Just as well I bought some plants at the car boot sale as we would be waiting for them to fruit this time next year. How can they say on the bag 'All the goodness needed to give your seeds the best start'! RUBBISH. I think the rest of the sack will go in the compost heap.

Peat B

Hi Doris,  Not to worry......... I have lost many hours on carefully swing seeds into wee pots, and watching the tops grow a green moss, turn seeds into small lumps of slimey buttons, grow grass instead of Basil, lettuce or whatever else you can think of. Don't over water, perhaps just sow seeds on the top and then cover very lightly with vermiculite, then cover with a piece of black paper over the pots, LIGHTLY, and if all this fails, give Monty a big rocket. He'll be over the mmon !

Pete Evans

Jacks Magic, you can't beat it

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