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I am seeing more and more in garden centres peat free compost can anyone tell me if they have had any success with this compost  I am wanting to try it but I don't want to get it and  spend time sowing seeds if the seeds wont germinate .

I have used RSPB peat free multipurpose compost for 2 years now, which is made by Vital Earth. I have found it to be great with germinating seeds (in fact I now have too many seedlings ) and use it for all my pots. The only thing I will say is that it drys out quickly at the top and you think you need to get watering right away, but beneath this it is lovely and damp, so be careful not to over water.

I haven't tried any others though.

Thanks Meerkat where would I get that make of compost as I don't recognise the name

I've used New Horizon for a few years and it has given great results for growing tomatoes and summer bedding in pots. The only problem seems to be that it attracts tiny flies in the greenhouse, possibly fungus gnats, but a liberal use of fly paper seems to keep them in check. For this reason I don't use it for seed sowing because I don't want larvae nibbling the roots.



I have used my own home made compost (sorry - am passionate about people making their own compost ) mixed with sharp sand and it is brilliant for growing everything. Of course there is no peat in it!

I bought several bags of peat-free Vital Earth compost and have had a real problem with it. The seed compost - I sowed over a thousand seeds and fewer than 20 germinated. Had to scrap the lot after 5 weeks and bought some Growwise instead - brilliant germination rate.

The VE multi-purpose compost is worse. Full of bits of wire and plastic, a whole sweet wrapper, a piece of plastic coat hanger, etc. Everything I potted up in it has started to die and when I water the pots a black tar-like slime comes out of the bottom which stains the paving slabs, etc. Eventually I emptied all the pots to repot with something else and can't even scrub the residue off the inside of the pots.

Goodness knows what this stuff is made of but I'll certainly never touch it again.


Artjak, what do you use in your homemade compost? I presume you add something to compost bin stuff To get it right. I have recently bought a sieve with good intentions but have yet to use it.

Normally for raising seeds I make my own from sieved peat, seed fertiliser (Chempak) and vermiculite. For potting on I don't sieve and add Chempak potting fertiliser, grit and or vermiculite. These work well as you control the mix.

Last year I bought 6 proprierty bags only to find (too late to return) they were breeding bags for black fly and other nasties - these were a pest for some months.

I note that compost manufacturers still use peat as a base. My usage is miniscule compared to these commercial suppliers. But only to 2020.

Sorry folks, unless you make your own mixture you'll all have to get used to bought compost made of recycled rubbish. If nobody put glass, broken crockery, plastic, metal and wood in the garden waste/waste food bin there would be no problem; but they do!

Gardeners have clamoured for years for peat-free compost, and this is the result.

Daydaisy, I just sieve it and mix with sharp sand and sometimes some bought in growing medium. Anything that does not go through the sieve gets popped back in the compost bin. Hope that helps.


Thanks Artjak, I will certainly give it a go. 



I've used the compost from my local recycling site for the last 12months, but no for food crops. I find it very good even having to pick out unwanted bits.

This year and last year I used New Horizons peat free. I have sown parsnips, leeks, carrots, salsify, french beans, chillis, beetroot, pak choi, spring onions, sweetcorn, root parsley, courgettes and winter squash. I have had very high germination, which I put down to quality seed. My leeks are a bit slow, but other plants are fine. The pak choi has been big enough to eat for a week or so. I also have Aldi peat free compost, the french beans like it. The NH varied, one batch was lovely and fine, the next had a pine resin smell, and lots of fine woody bits. The Aldi was finer, with a few twigs. As far as I can tell it's all very usable. A few twigs do no harm. Yes there are small bits of plastic in the NH, obviously shredded plant labels etc. I've also used my own compost, but it was a bit too light, due to spent hops which had not fully broken down. 

Frankly compost is compost. Seeds use there own reserves at first, then need some fertiliser from the compost. Then you feed. The only failure I've had is potting up three self sown lupins, two died. I think the compost was not water retentive enough. The next two potted up were dug out with a decent clod of clay soil around the roots. Was this the fault of the compost, or me? 

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