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I bought some compost from Lidl this year, same as last year, its peat free type. It really smells. It reminds me of the Indian Coal fields I've driven through in the past a very heavy industrial smell, quite powerful. Can anyone explain what this might be? I've been repotting all my strawberry runners in it this morning and mixing it with some home made compost. Just not sure if I'll buy another batch yet. Not come accross this smell in compost before.


I bought a few bags of the Seed and Cutting compost and results so far have been ok with all my brassicas germinating fine. Cant say I noticed any significant smell to it.

Is it the General potting compost you're refering to?

Just opened my Lidl a grow bag a wow a really pungent crude oil smell? Almost creosote. It looks OK but just don't know what's in this stuff and can't find out any info. Anyone know more before I use it?


Councils make it from green waste, I believe. Some people are not very fussy about what they put in green waste.


Am I right to be concerned about using compost made by Council's from green waste.   When weed killer is used i.e. on lawns then grass is sent to green waste, does treatment destroy weed killer.  I'm thinking about bought compost used on vegetables.

My Lidl Grandiol grow bag also smells strongly of tar, like old railway sleepers. Brought it this afternoon from our local store. It was also full of large twigs and shredded plastic and was in large compacted lumps which took a great deal of effort to break up but it was the strong pungent oil smell that is concerning me the most. Does anyone know what it is?
I am going to contact Lidl tomorrow for more information as the smell is really strong (SC1969 got it spot on when they said it smells like creosote) and is obviously worrying when the compost is in a 'grow bag' specifically designed for fruit and vegetables. It is not a smell you normally associate with compost. I will post any information here tomorrow.

Hi Sally14.

Just bought grow bags and multipurpose compost from Perth. Both smell strongly of creosote/tar/something-bitumeny.

Phoned Lidl who are aware of a problem: lots of reports off-smelling compost coming in to them. They're trying to narrow down the dodgy supplier/batch, but apparently stock is mixed up between stores so it's not trivial. Apparently some of their stock is fine.

Don't use the creosote-smelling stuff.

Hi Nathaniel, thanks for your reply. I have phoned Lidl customer services and they have asked me to send the growbag and compost to them at customer services so that they can analyse the contents and then they will get back to me. The lady told me to leave my new shrub as it is in the compost for now but I'm not taking any chances, its come out. Thanks again for your response, you seem to have got more information from Lidl than me, I suppose it depends which person answers.

Everyone who has had problems with this product, please complain to your local Health and Safety Dept or you Council.  Lidl should have checked every batch of everything that they sell, as should other large supermarkets. If there is a petro-chemical smell coming from this batch of compost, chances are that it is petro-chemical contamination.

It may be a good idea to keep some of this compost back in a sealed plastic tub, after returning the rest, in case Health and Safety wish to analyse it. Sorry to sound so serious, but it IS serious; you are about to grow veg for your families in this growing medium - it has to be safe!

My Lidl peat smells of sewage, its gross as ive never smelt soil like it except in stagnant ponds

I'm still concerned about using compost on vegetables made from green waste, but what else can we use? Any ideas?


I bought some peat free compost from ALDI the other week and it was very sticky wet and black, it didn't smell bad and all my potted on plants are doing ok in it. I bought some peat free compost from LIDL last week and it was loose free draining without any lumps or bark or coconut fibre, in fact it looked like peat free compost from a good source.

I've bought a grow bag from Lidle - smells of tar, not crumbly and hard to break up! Any update on whether this is safe or not?

Gazzar,take it back and get your money back. I wouldn't risk it.


I bought a bag of Lidl peat free this year. Its disgusting! Black, smells of oil and leaches black liquid out when watered. I threw it away - whatevers in it, I don't want to eat the produce - YUK !!