Posted: 13/08/2013 at 10:14
I think I've tried a bit of everything this year. Having a very big garden with clay soil filled with an awful lot of stones/rubble I tended to buy whatever was on offer just to get the bulk, figuring that anything had to be a soil improver. My slow and steady trick of transforming the garden involves adding 120l of compost for every bucket of stones unearthed. That way I break up the clay, improve the soil and build the beds up a little as I go. Overall the technique is working but some of the compost this year was so poor it was more effort than it was worth.
Favorite this year was Petersfield commercial compost but was too pricey to use all over and I never found it on offer anywhere. The Petersfield potting compost was nice this year too, but imo not as good as last year.
I found New Horizon organic compost to be excellent this year, bought bags and bags of it and the smell, texture and results were all spot on. I bought some J A Bowers before the New Horizon and it was terrible. It was full of plastic and smelt like raw silage. I ended up mulching it into the garlic and onion beds simply to hide the stench of it. I mentioned this when I was at the Garden centre buying the NH and the guy there told me they'd had tons of complaints about it this year and loads of people returning it.
I bought a load of Westland compost because it was on offer in Costco. It was good for filling some big half-barrels and bulking the flower beds but not suitable for baskets and pots because it dried out too easily.
I bought some multipurpose from Homebase and it had lots of sticks and bark and I ended up using it mainly for mulching. I bought some own brand John InnesSeed compost from Homebase and it was really nice texture and quality.
I bought some own brand John Innes Seed compost from B & Q and it was kak. Full of stones and clayish lumps. Disillusioned with B & Q overall this year, due to various issues, I didn't buy any other compost there BUT then I was given some verve multipurpose compost last week by someone who had overbought and I expected it to be hardly worth the effort of hauling it down the garden. It turned out to be so nice and fine grained that I seived it with the John Innes and used it for potting on.