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Hi, im interested in knowing what your thoughts are on buying value branded compost against branded names, I seem to spend an increasing amount each year with seeds and container plants.



i buy lidl seed/ cutting compost 20L for £1.49 which i think excellent and the multipurpose compost 35L £1.99 as well which i think great aswell  


Wickes have 70l bags at £3 at the moment.  Not as good as it used to be but I grew toms, peppers and general flowers in it last year with no problems.  That's my review on their site.


Always use your calculator when buying these products; what looks like a great deal can often be misleading.

Perki, that compost works out at £5.97 for 105 litres. (5.68p per litre) That is not a bad price, but other places are doing offers on 3x70litres for £10, (4.76p per l) which is cheaper.

As to quality, I have seen everyone's comments about growing medium quality over the last 2 years and it really seems to be a game of chance.

Always try to make your own compost and eke it out by adding some sharp sand and these commercial 'growing mediums' (they are not really compost)

I am gonna give having a go at making my own compost this year would you say that composts such as miracle grow were a bit of gimmick and would I be better off just feeding my plants when I water them?



Lis, the worst compost I ever used was the most expensive; Miracle grow.

I now go for a cheap variety from a local nursery that I trust and mix it with my own homemade stuff.

Even really good 'growing medium' will only have plant food in it for a short time. All Veg plants need feeding on a regular basis once they have really got going, so do roses about 3 times in the growing season (I've just given mine a thin covering of horse manure, they will get rose food later) clematis I give tomato feed.

Making your own compost is easy and fun; and I am a fully trained Compost master so you have come to the right place.

Find out if your Council are doing cheap deals on compost bins; get 2 ( 1 to fill and one to 'cook') and then follow the instructions (50%greens and 50% browns; nitrogen and carbon if you are scientifically inclined). Any queries, ask here!

never thought of looking at the council.. good tip thank you, I will do it now


Also your local water supplier for water butts; if they are no good, I think I got mine from Yorkshire water.

I have just ordered two compost bins for the price of one I saw in hombase earlier today, thank artjak

David Matthews2

Re: variable quality of 'commercial' composts - I visited the local B&Q outlet today and found the 'Verve' branded 60 litre compost bags TOTALLY SODDEN!! The bags were on pallets, minus any plastic overwrapping, in an open courtyard with no protection whatsoever. I spoke to the normally affable (& knowledgable) gardening section chargehand and let him know that I was not impressed, and furthermore would not be buying from that store until they had fresh DRY composts available.

My immediate requirements can be met from my own self-produced  resources, though I will be ekeing it out with sharp sand as Artjak has suggested.



I'm coming to the conclusion it's hit and miss between the brands. I started off getting cheapest and then had a bad year with it so went more up market, but you aren't necessarily getting quality the more you spend.

Then decided to make what I could so now have three composts one for muck, another leaf mould and a third garden stuff. The latter turns into really good black stuff within a year and is saved for pots, so now buy half the MPC I was buying a couple of yrs ago and mix new and home grown 50/50 adding FBB when containers are filled.     

...artjaks is coming from the right direction...there's a feel good factor in making your own.  

Yorkshire water are charging £30 for a hundred litre water butt at the min, is it me or does that seem a bit expensive?


You need to make sure that included is the 'stand' without that you don't have the height to get your watering can under the tap, also included should be the system for interrupting the downpipe. When my builder and I bought from them a couple of years ago, we got a deal which was ; buy one, get one half price.

If you now compare prices with Wickes, B&Q etc, check that the stand and the downpipe adaptor are included; a lot of firms count them as extras. Also check the litre capacity of the butt, they vary.

artjak wrote (see)
other places are doing offers on 3x70litres for £10, (4.76p per l) which is cheaper.

I buy that offer from ASDA and have been happy with the compost. They seem to have changed supplier as it is not overly dry as it once was. I was put off B&Q/Verve as I found large bits of wood and plasticized wood in it . Am happy with the Homebase compost that is also on offer all the time and they often have 15% off events and Nectar points.

Creativegardenideas have decent compost and it is delivered free if you spend £30. They also have offers off season which brings the price down on top of the multi-buy offers (


Dont buy B&Q Verve its absolute rubbish.



nodislab (or is it basildon) I have not had probs with Verve in the past; it occurs to me that these big stores probably get their compost from many different sources, then bag it up with their logo on it. That would explain the difference in quality that seems to happen.

Orchid Lady

I bought B&Q verve last year and I swear that's where all my unknown weeds came from as they weren't in the garden before and bits of glass/wood too.

However, I bought John Innes Seed Compost and have found 2 quite large stones in it which I wasn't impressed with.  Today I have bought Aldi seed compost

I had another look at the water butt and it does come with a stand so a better buy than I had first thought

I buy B & Q own grow bags, never had a problem with it, use it for my seeds and tomato and cucumber plants.  I do my own compost which I spread on my borders and veg patch, gives them a good feed every year.  I have never bought the branded compost as B & Q just as good.

David Matthews2

Having 'ranted' about soggy composts on offer at B&Q, [see above], I was much more impressed by the care taken by the local Wilco store in having a fair range of composts and grow bags on offer (all stored indoors) & handy for loading into the car/ shopping trolley! Guess where I'm going when I run out of my 'home-grown' totally organic * peat-free bin compost??