Posted: 30/01/2017 at 19:46
John Innes 2 is meant for more mature plants rather than sowing seeds, so is rather more lumpy - and it will depend upon whomsoever made it. There is a John Innes 1 and a seed slowing compost which are finer and without feed, as you want for seed sowing. Avoiding peat, I have found that there are several good composts about but if you want them for seedings you need to dilute with seedling compost so mix and sieve it yourself. Many of the supermarket brands are coarse as they are trying to reduce the use of peat too, but seem not to take the time to completely rot down bark etc., which takes time the peat did not.
I love vermiculite and have used it in my compost, tubs, baskets and pots for many, many years, I prefer it from perlite, it is a natural mica and does nothing but open the coarser compost and hold moisture when needed. A nursery not too far from us sells it in huge sacks which makes it quite inexpensive. I often sprinkle it over seeds that don't really need cover as it lets the light in, but stops those tiny seeds from being blown away!! If used with compost in very big pots it keeps the weight down, and does help avoid compaction.
Whatever works for each of us I guess, we'll all have our likes and experiences and can share that and hope someone finds it useful - or not!!