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B&Q M.Purpose Compost Issues.

Has anyone recently used B&Q multi-purpose compost as recommended by "Which". On opening the bag I got a strong smell of raw sewage, and all plants which have been transplanted into the B&Q compost have not shown any root development into the new compost after 2 weeks, in fact I would say less root now than when transplanted. This also goes for Cucumbers, courgettes, butternut squash, peppers and toms. Many tomatoes have died (40 to 50)especially San Marzano, Fiorentino and Big Reds, base of stems and roots had rotted away. Other toms such as Sungold and Sweet Millions have stunted growth and the same lack of root growth but no issues currently at base of stems. I checked the PH and it was 7 which I believe is ok for most crops. 



  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 734

    Gordon.  Yes.  My seedlings (masses of them) are not producing roots and are showing hardly any growth at all over a month.  I've lost a lot.  Some of the potted-on seedlings in the same compost are also doing badly.   

    When I opened the bag of Multi-P, it wasn't the usual nice dark moist mix.  It was more rusty and brown.  Because I don't usually buy this specific bag, I assumed it was how their compost was meant to be.  But I have my doubts.  My seedlings are in the same conditions they were last year - but with different compost - so the only thing I can think of which is different this time around is the compost.  I assumed it was something I was doing, or my water.   Everything sown outside is absolutely fine.

  • donutsmrsdonutsmrs Posts: 475

    I have found the same with B & Q compost and their gro bags. I lost a lot of plants through using it a few years ago and I've never used again. I planted my tomato plants into their grow bags and some of them just died and I hardly had any toms to pick on what I had left. It is better to pay a little more and get good quality compost.

  • G.C.G.C. Posts: 15

    Thank you both for your responses. Naively / foolishly I was fairly confident that as the B&Q compost was "Which Magazine" recommended, it would be fine.  B&Q were not interested when I spoke with there customer services on-line or in-store, I even took them a sample pot /seedling. I guess the B&Q staff I spoke with are not gardeners. Yesterday I re-potted about 200 seedlings out of the B&Q compost into a top brand compost. Fingers crossed. I will probably have some more losses but hopefully will save most of my 2012 seedlings. I let you know how they progress.

    No more B&Q gardening products for me. I have learnt a valuable lesson, and as you advised I will pay top money for compost in the future. It's just not worth the risk using cheap stuff ! The difference in price is only £2 - £3 pounds. Thanks again GC

  • I have a similar problem with tomatoes and cucumbers but in Wicks multi purpose compost.  Geminated OK but only slowly grew on to the first 2 or 3 true leaves and then seemed to have stopped.  I wondered about the compost, they have changed the printing on the bag and now say it is not suitable for seeding?

    Also, I have a lot of mould on the compost.  You can only see it on the sides of the peat pots but when you water it raises a small cloud of white powder from the surface.

    Have re-sown some tomatoes in a different compost but the mould seems to have spread there as well!

  • Even with decent brands there is no guarantee.  The manufacturing process for this rubbish and the indifference with which they churn it out is a disgrace, all of the dead and diseased plants you pay the council to take away are shredded and sold back to you.  I now use my own leafmold mixed with my own home sterilised compost though you can use turf-loam, mole hills or even border soil, that is what people used before and look at the gardens they managed to create.  


  • Tee GeeTee Gee Posts: 32
    Apparently there are two batches of B&Q three for a tenner composts on the market. I found this out as a user on another forum posted a picture of a bag she bought and it is slightly different from the ones I bought. I am guessing that the batch that is giving the problems is old stock and has become contaminated. I have told this lady of the problems I and others are having with this stuff and she is going to trial it and report back to me. Once she does I will reply to this thread. BTW I have lost all the plants I potted up with this c** p including a ??60 collection of Streptocarpus I have bought. When I purchased the Wickes stuff which they declared was not suitable for seed sowing I decided to use the B&Q stuff as a seed compost. The seeds germinated OK but stopped growing on inspection I found that the roots had burned away. When I discovered this I re- pricked out all the seedling that had been started off in the B&Q including dipping them in water to wash off all traces of this dodgy seed compost. So it's fingers crossed that this will work ! To date I have lost over 200 plants and I am not a very happy bunny! Last year I was similarly affected with a compost named " Growell" when I lost over a thousand plant. I am now and the end of my tether with this compost issue. I have gardened for over forty years and I am now thinking of giving it up, trouble is I do not know what I will do in its place. If I thought i would be listened to I would contact my MP and point him to the numerous threads on the net like this but I won't hold my breath if I do. I am totally p****d of of the with blanket decisions these Euro politicians keep coming out with. If only they would ask the users first before they set these laws in stone. If they had asked me for instance I could give them a solution that would save more peat than the current procedures are doing and the users would not have to buy this stuff that is not fit for purpose. I ask the question; what can we Gardeners / users do to alleviate this problem. It would be nice to know your opinions then perhaps we could link the powers that be to this thread. Sorry for the rant but I just had to get this off my chest...Tg
  • The best way to get them to listen is to contact their press dept / PR team especially as this is an issue appearing on various forums. They will not want their reputations online to be affected - especially Which - and often track this kind of negative conversation. I would suggest a call to the press team of both, mentioning that this is an ongoing, negative conversation amongst gardeners. Contact details available on the press section of both companies' websites... An idea but could work....good luck!
  • Tee GeeTee Gee Posts: 32

    Thanks for your suggestions Margot

    My plan is to search all the forums I have been involved with over the last year or so and get links to the various threads on the issue including this thread.

    I had hoped this thread would have brought more response than it has so over the next day or two I will research the subject on line and contact Which,B&Q plus Wickes.

    Subject to any response from them, I will also send copies of any correspondence to my MP.

    I have even considered sending the same information to MP's throughout the country, as this is not just a local issue, it is national,  so the more MP's that get involved the better (assuming any get involved)

  • Good idea but don't worry too much about collating all the forums as I think once you flag this GW one as one among many they will have tools to quickly find the rest ( I know this because I work in this area! Boring I know image ) even better if Adam or Kate or someone from GW can somehow endorse that this is indeed an issue that will provide added weight.
  • G.C.G.C. Posts: 15

    I thought it was just me having a senior moment, but it seems I am not alone. What really annoyed me was the lack of understanding from B&Q staff and management. As per Tee Gee I have washed this B&Q filth off what was left of the roots and stems, and repotted into a "Petersfield" loam based compost recommended by a small local independant garden centre, all survivors are now making good progress.

    This may make you smile a little: 

    When I finally realised that the manager of my local B&Q store refused to take the matter at all seriously, I suddenly turned into Victor Meldrew !                                   I bent over to pick up my remaining half bag of compost, but instead of lifting it by the top, I reached a little further and lifted the bag fom the bottom, depositing 60 to 70 litres of compost on B&Q customer services floor. The managers face was a picture! I then calmly, but briskley walked away, to the sound of the manager screaming for my name and address details, which I of course told him politely, (with a little smile on my face), that he could not have. A small victory, but seriously these goods are not fit for purpose, and trading standards should be involved. Thanks all for your comments GC.

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