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What should I do differently with peat free compost (as opposed to peat-based)

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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 10,818
    I think the brand does make a large difference.
  • stephentamestephentame Southwest EnglandPosts: 239
    I'm quite fussy about which brand of peat free compost I use for seed sowing. I tend to stick to Sylvagrow for seeds.
    Other than that, I use peat free compost in pretty much the same way as I used to use peat based compost, though I do tend to (slightly randomly) mix different composts together as I use them, to balance out their different qualities ...
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,309
    I do the same, @stephentame . At the moment I use Miracle-Gro 'neat', and mix Lidl and New Horizon together (sometimes with home made leaf mould or garden compost depending on what I'm planting).

    I can't really advise on how to make the experience 'more like using peat' as I've only ever used peat-free (started to gardening when Geoff Hamilton was on GW and he was adamant about it so I just never considered using peat). My seeds pretty much always come up and grow fine.

    Adam Frost has only ever used peat-free too, whereas Monty Don used to use peat so could probably be quite helpful on the comparison aspect. I think it's been a good few years though so he might not remember! Personally, I think comparison-with-peat experiments are a bit pointless though, especially as they involve buying yet more peat. 
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 959
    New horizon has always been good for me. Very consistent product.
  • B3B3 Posts: 18,676
    I decided to try some sylvagrow today. It has an interesting texture, a bit like coffee grounds. Seems better than the hoover droppings in the Westland one I tried last year. It's got to be better than the couple of mis-labelled bags containing horse manure that I got at the weekend.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,309
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • CamelliadCamelliad SussexPosts: 398
    edited 19 May
    That's so interesting, thank you @LG_, particularly the point about watering and it shows that a large part of this is education, which is presumably where organisations such as the RHS could possibly also show greater leadership.
  • Thanks all. The https://www.jackwallington.com/peat-free-compost-trials-2021/ was very interesting, thanks LG_ .
  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,267
    I thought I might share my own experiences with New Horizon as I've used it before and had fairly good results. And with trying my best to use peat-free wherever possible, I potted up my baby foxgloves using it.

    However growth has been very slow with leaves not as green as they should be, leaning towards yellow in the worst plants. All in all they look very sorry for themselves. They are outside in dappled shade and have been watered regularly. I'm in two minds as to composting them and sowing fresh seeds.


  • Chris-P-BaconChris-P-Bacon Posts: 413
    I still use peat based - if its already been harvested & bagged, not buying it wont make any difference.
    Consumer sales wont influence the withdrawl (or the speed of withdrawl) of peat based products - thats already been decided. If I don't buy it somebody else will. Nor am I nor will I ever be influenced by TV presenters.
    That doesn't mean I'm not in favour of protection of bogs & peatlands - quite the reverse and I'll buy peat free compost when the time arrives when its the only option but by then I'd expect the producers to be able to supply a consistent, environmentally sustainable good quality peat free compost - they've had more than enough time to do so already but have continued (in a lot of instances) to flog any old crap by sticking "peat free" on the bag and relying on the feel good factor.
    I often hear nurseries and professional growers boasting they've been peat free for years - but fail to mention what they grow is maintained almost on a round the clock basis in growing conditions that can never be replicated in domestic gardens - not to mention the myriad of 'extras' they add to the compost & soil.
    Stock up with the good stuff while you can would be my advice.
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