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Homebase compost

I would like to report a severe problem with Homebase Peat Free multi Purpose Compost which I bought after reading the Which  report on best compost to raise seedlings.  I potted up 25 Sarah Raven veg seedlings which had arrived in tip top condition   Duly watered and kept frost free on window sill. Two days later they had wilted and the stem had gone “pulpy” where it came into contact with the compost   I potted on a further 10 seedlings in case it was something I had done. They all wilted and died. I have taken photos to show the sad state of them.  The compost has a very strong smell and in fact was not pleasant to have in the house. I have phoned Homebase customer service and I am taking  both compost and plants into their Leamington store. Has anyone else had a problem ?


  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,107
    There is quite a lot of discussion about this on the Which? Gardening Facebook group, and I think Which? have said they are in contact with Homebase directly.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Hello, just seen your post. I've got problems with seeds not germinating, either not at all or very low numbers. As you say, the compost has a strong smell and it also seems to form a very dry crust despite watering. I've used various peat free composts for more than 10 years and never had a problem with germination. Off to Homebase for a chat!

  • Yes please do.  I spoke to my local Homebase and they were very concerned and they did say that they would never suggest to their customers to buy this compost for seeds or seedlings despite what it says on the bag.  Interestingly, all new bags now come without the 'Which" recommendation on it.   I have written to Head Office and now await their response.
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267
    I don't beleive it, today bought 3 bags of honebase peat free compost 😔 I usually get compost with peat. 
  • SlumSlum Posts: 372
    I haven’t used it for germinating seeds as I’m using coir pellets this year and they’ve had very high success rates. I have used Homebase peat free for potting on tomatoes, peppers, etc, dahlia tubers and various other bits and bobs. These are all doing well in it.  In my experience peat free composts can form a dry crust which causes a problem for germinating seedlings. I’ve prevented this by either keeping them covered or topping with grit or vermiculite. 
  • I bought 2 bags of Homebase peat free multipurpose compost a week ago. It smells of horse manure which is bad enough (I only have a balcony and it’s attracting flies!), but my seedlings are dying. None of the annuals I have just planted are actually thriving. All my planting is in pots, large and small, and I have never had a problem any other year. What on earth is in this stuff?
  • WatchburyWatchbury Posts: 8
    Take it back to Homebase and complain.  I have successfully complained about the fact that everything died.  They are going to investigate the compost and said that they would let me know the outcome.  My advice to anyone is DONT BUY THIS COMPOST
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267
    I agree but think who ever sells compost should have an open bag or sample so you can see it, feel the texture before you buy. Ok so you won't know if anything will grow in it but it's more consumer freindly 
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,206
    I got some like that from Sainsbury's last year. It was by one of the established compost companies. I can't remember which one 
    I used it as mulch away from the patio😒 it certainly stank!
    I assumed they'd put it in the wrong bag. Perhaps not.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,817
    When buying compost in recent years I've been known to look around to see if there's a damaged bag that I can get a look at. There quite often is.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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