Do you really need special seed compost?

I've grown annual and perennial flowers from seed in the past, and always bought special seed compost.  This year, raising veg, I've just been using the green waste compost from the local authority to start my seeds of on the windowsill.  It seems to be sterile, but it's not at all fine and sieved.  The big seeds are happy (peas, squash) - no surprise there.  But I've also sown tiny chives and garlic chives in it, and they are coming up well too.

Is seed compost a con, or are there some seeds that really need the fine stuff?



  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 7,107

    Hi Laura - i have just bumped a couple of threads that discuss this to the top of the forum for you - hope they help

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,137

    Laura, Depends on the seeds many plant and flower seeds are very fine where as Vegetables are bulkier. I watched my Dad as a lad steaming garden soil or heating it in old biscuit tins on his greenhouse wood burner for the fine seeds sown in old fruit boxes no plastic back then either. He lost very little after he sifted the sterilised soil and mixed it with washed sand, we lived next to a sand pit and he washed it himself, no GC or bags of grit and sand, "gosh" they were hard times.

    I buy John Innes number two compost which is soil based then mix my own to suit what I am doing. One third compost one third fine grit one third washed sand for seeds, they contain their own nutrient and do not need any feed until they shoot, they will seed in sand I have done it many times.

    Prick out into half compost and half made up of washed sand and fine grit, that is enough nutrient and the sand and grit gives drainage.

    Pot on to three quarters compost a quarter sand and grit it works for me and as an engineer if it works then leave it. Many seeds are expensive why risk them cutting back on compost.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,788

    I find that it's best to use loam based seed compost for hardy perennials that may take a while to germinate and are going to stay outside for a goodly while.

    For quick germinating veg seeds etc I'll use sieved MPC.  

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Buzzy2Buzzy2 Posts: 41

    I use Grobag Compost with some Perlite mixed in

    I have Tomatoes, Antirhinum, and Verbina Bonerensis (sp)

    All are growing well!

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