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Seed compost

CeresCeres Posts: 1,872
Does anyone know of a reliable seed compost? I swear the stuff has been getting worse year on year but I have just managed to buy what I consider to be the worst one I have ever had the misfortune to waste money on.....Levingtons seed and cutting compost. It's lumpy, compacted, fibrous, and impossible to break up. Dried out it might make good fuel but as a seed bed, it is abyssmal.


  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 9,672
    Years ago you could count on John Innes ( different grades from 1 to 3 ).  You would choose No. 1 for your seed compost and No. 3 for mature plants.
    Sadly, JI is simply a formula and it is produced by a vast number of manufacturers - some good some bad.
    Unless you make your own seed compost, I'm afraid these days it is very much suck it and see - not much help I know.
    It can depend on what seed you are sowing - you can often get away with something quite basic to get the seeds up and then you have to think on what you need to bring them on.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,188
    I used Levingtons for 40+ years, but no longer.
    I've been using Grow Wise (Bord na Mona) with added JI for the past 4 years and pleased with the quality and results. It does contain peat. 3 x 50L /£12 around here.
    They do produce a seed compost, but I can't find it locally.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 9,672
    Pete.8 said:
    I used Levingtons for 40+ years, but no longer.

    Interesting Pete - Levingtons always used to be reliable - presumably gone the same way as JI ?
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,780
    Levingtons professional is awful now, I shalt be buying any more.

    I used seed compost once many years ago when I first started growing, vowed never to use it again, this year, because so many people said they used it and how good it was, I bought some, 2 different makes, never again, totally useless, so I will stick to my usual compost for seeds, cuttings  and potting on. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I've always used coir bricks.  I buy them from the Organic Gardening Catalogue, they sell nutrient granules to use with them as coir contains no nutrients.  I usually add a dash of seaweed extract and two handfuls of seaweed meal per brick to help with water retention.  I like that it's clean and light to handle, takes up little space in storage and contains no weed seeds, so I know that whatever grows is what I sowed.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 1,115
    edited May 2019
    I've had great success with Wilko's compost - granted it does need sieving. But I just use the chunky bits in the bottom as filler and the smooth stuff on top for the seeds to germinate in.

    and actually my first few seed trays I didn't bother sieving and the seeds still grew really well. I just changed method because a few of the seedlings had massive lumps of compost stuck to the top of the seed leaves.

    But it was really cheap.
  • SlumSlum Posts: 308
    Another another vote for coir from me. I make it with a little bit of liquid seaweed added to the water. Coir has a fine texture which appears to be good for root growth.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,055
    This year’s review of seed composts in Which? has these as the top 4
    Clover multi purpose 100%
    Thompson & Morgan Incredicompost 98%
    Bathgate Champions Blend All Purpose 93%
    Westland Jack’s Magic 90%

    Levington’s was 5th with 82%, Bord na Mona got 53% (but was excellent for containers), and Wilko got 52%.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,188
    Having used both Levingtons and Bord na Mona I don't agree with their conclusions.

    They also raved about a Panasonic microwave a couple of years ago when I needed to replace mine, but on the same page, all the comments from customers who owned this microwave were dire.
    Which? isn't what is was... a bit like Levington's
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 374
    for those skeptical about a 'seed compost'....

    as i understand it, for some seed types (typically smaller seeds/slower seeds...them you'd do in trays) it's important to use seed compost because its low-nutrient, it allows the roots to prosper whilst not putting on green growth above, thus leaving you with a good start for your seedling.  you don't want tonnes of greenery and very few roots.

    personally i buy any seed compost, sieve it, add about 20 to 30% vermiculite to help retain moisture.
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