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What Compost is best

Hi all,

I haven't been on here for a while but thought I would share my experience as regards best seed compost. Having got fed up with the poor quality of some of the composts I have previously bought from various garden centres for the last couple of years I have been buying the T&M Incredicompost. It was clearly better than many others but in 2012 we visited a nursery near Holt in Norfolk and they told us they had done a lot of research on composts and the best in their opinion was a brand called 'CLOVER'

Problem has been that we live in Bristol and I have not been able to find this in the West Country - then I read on this forum that someone now buys LEVINGTON-Pro compost which is superior to Garden Centre varieties. I put LEVINGTON Pro into Google search bar and up popped a few sites with not only Levington Pro but also Clover Seed Compost and Potting Compost. Nearest to me was Valegardens.co.uk in Badesey, Nr. Evesham, Worcestershire. It was about 50 miles away so have called them, they confirmed they had it in stock, so I took the Land Rover and made the journey buying 4 bags each of Clover Professional and Modular 80 litres @ £6.00 per bag inc Vat; 4 bags of Clover Professional Potting Compost (75litres) @ £5.62 inc Vat and 4 large Clover Tomato crop bags @ £3.13 each inc Vat. It was worth the trip as delivery cost was quoted at £30.00 and I and an RHS member friend (Bob) had a great day out and fuel costs were about £14.50.

The seed compost is fabulous to use and looks and feels good too. I sowed some 'Tom Thumb' lettuce seeds and some Lupin seeds last Saturday morning in an electric propagator. They germinated and were through the compost on Monday morning (are now about 20mm high and looking very healthy indeed)

Yes, the Clover is a bit more expensive than standard GC stuff (but not extravagantly so) and I benefitted from a Cousin and my friend Bob buying some too which meant we were able to get the cheaper 3+ bags discounts. John Harding, Mangotsfield, BRISTOL

Last edited: 27 February 2018 10:47:27

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  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,586

    It will be interesting to know how your plants do through the season. When I did the RHS level 11 course I noticed the professional grade composts we were given for our practicals were much better than the regular GC ones which seem to be increasingly "contaminated" with twiggy woody bits, plastic & general rubbish.  The big downside of Levington professional is that it is (so I believe) 80% peat.

    AB Still learning

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,104

    I've used Levington general purpose compost for just about everything for 50+yrs, but a few years ago the compost formula was changed and it is now 'enriched' with recycled materials. Since when I've found bits of metal, plastic and glass in the mix and the performance of the compost was not as it used to be.

    I first tried Grow Wise compost a couple of years ago and have been very impressed with the quality and performance of the compost and I'll be using it again this year.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 3,894

    I'd like to just confirm what John Harding has said, as I use Clover too, and can vouch for its superior performance, even the look and feel of it tells you something..

    My local nursery is in north Norfolk so it's easy enough for me to obtain.  I didn't realise it was only available in this region though..

    Oh, I see it's available in Worcestershire, so that's nice... must be elsewhere too I should think..

    Last edited: 27 February 2018 16:15:37

  • I've just had a look at Clover's website and they list suppliers mostly north of Birmingham to as far north as Durham. Some listed as suppliers close-ish to me admitted they do not stock it so the nearest who had it in stock that I could find was Badsey, Worcestershire (I spelt Badsey wrong in my earlier post).

    Last edited: 27 February 2018 16:43:55

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,586

    When I looked it up on the web I realised this was one my Allotment society used to get in so I agree it is good. Sadly not enough people supported our shop so it was abandoned. Again though Clover is a peat based product no good if you are trying to go peat free.

    AB Still learning

  • SlumSlum Posts: 306

    I'm going entirely peat free this year. I experimented last year with some pots in general multi-purpose and some peat free and noticed no difference in growth and flowers. I've started chilli and tomato seeds recently in coir with just as much success as last year in JI#1. 

  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 207
    Just a quick bump as I've realised I need some compost for my greenhouse toms.  Any recommendations / avoids welcomed - I'm in Nottingham if that helps and can get to all the big national DIY stores / Wilkos, German discounters!

    One question to ponder: as the prevailing wisdom is that the nutrients in any compost are spent after a few weeks, and that using it to "improve" soil is therefore more a matter of changing soil structure, how much does it matter if there's more eg coir or twigs in a "cheaper" brand?  I guess I'd draw the line at eg bits of plastic, asbestos or uranium :) , but if you're talking bang for buck in an open bed (note NOT in my tomato pots, where I'd look to use something good), couldn't "cheap rubbish" be just about as effective?
  • SussexsunSussexsun Posts: 1,444
    I often buy cheap compost as I now find unless buying a big brand like jack magic thevquality is much the same.
    wilkos have just bought back their offer of 3 x 50 lt bags for £6. Yes it has stwigs and crap in it but for that price I am ok with giving it a quick sift through. My plants seem to be ok in it and if you buy a box of fish blood and bone the same time then you have everything you need for the summer for the  total price of £7.50. I have a lot of pots and if I had to do them all with jack magic then you could times that by at least 10
    To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

  • John HardingJohn Harding Posts: 487
    I’m using Clover large tomato/salad growbags and they are excellent. Try putting ‘Levington pro’ into Google search bar - that was how I found the Clover brand I have been looking for since 2012. I get a ‘thank you’ from my plants every time I go near my greenhouse 😊 John H
  • John HardingJohn Harding Posts: 487
    There are a number of GCs in Notts area. One I just looked at is Ashdale GC, 204 Lambley Rd., NG 4 hope this helps
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