council recycled compost

Last season I had dismal results with some compost i bought from our local garden centre. Sorry! i  cannot remember the blooming make,

but in all the blurb written on the bag it it said contains some recycled materials, or something like that.

They were not kidding, it contained pieces of wood and other debris,but I perservered with it, and as I said results were dismal.

Then I read an article by some guru who was warning to look out for compost containing council recycled material as a lot of it contains a lot of weed killer and shredded wood material.....YUK!

So, how can I be sure I am not buying this rubbish, because reading all the composts at my local garden centre, all state contains added nutriants etc ( which could be a wizz kids way of saying it has council magumby added.

So any ideas which compost is safe from this new disastrous trend.




  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    This is not a new trend at all, it has come more into the headlines as we want to use more compost that is peat free and organic.  The trouble is, that most gardeners only send to council tips the stuff they cannot or will not compost themselves - perennial weeds, weedkilled material, nails, wooden slats etc.   In due course most of this stuff woud compost well ( well, not the nails!), but needs a very long time at very high temperatures within the compost and in most council compost making places this does not happen.  As we demand more and more of this so called 'good' compost, the people preparing it are having to speed up their supplies - hence more rubbish gets to stay in it.   There are many problems with bought compost at present, I suggest you do a couple of things - buy a small amount from 1 supplier and check out that it is OK beore you buy more, look around for someone making large amounts locally, with enough heat and time to get it right - not easy to do, but should be possible in thos day of electronic communications,  Again, buy a little and check it.  Of course the most important thing is to make your own, bu you can't start there I know.   Keep an eye on this site, people do share what they have found with various composts, thus informing you as to which are good and which not.  I'm afraid there is little way to avoid poor stuff except by experiment and avoidance. 

  • Have to say i've noticed a difference even from last years bags to this years bags of Seed compost. Last year the JAB seed (in the pink bags) was really nice, this years is alot more indifferent, often with bits of plastic in it. 

    I'm not a big fan of the soil based seed composts so there is not much choice around. 

    The stuff i like the best, primarily just for the look and feel of it, is the New Horizon stuff, certainly the vegetable and MPC from them always seems better than the other brands.

    Unfortunately i cannot ever find the New Horizon seed/cutting compost locally to try that, just the JAB stuff. Although Which voted the New Horizon the best MPC, but worst Seed compost so who knows!


  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    John Innes loam based is doubtless the best but works out very expensive if you want to use alot.  i use it for permanent pots, it adds weight which is a good thing if you have a windy site as we have here, and I add it to other composts for baskets & summer pots, with bulb compost for bulb pots stored for the spring.  

  • This year, Which voted Verve (b&q's own) the best multipurpose compost, the report was done in december or January, which means they tested last years, which as many of us know was utter garbage.

    I am a cheapskate (I garden on a budget of next door to bu88er all), and for seed compost I have found aldi's own to be very good so far, only minimal bits of twig found, for the most part looks & smells good.  Aldi growbags also good, and I've also bought a couple of the westland grow-bags, as I can get it delivered with my online shopping (so OH is inadvertently supporting my gardening habit)  I opened one of the growbags to repot an Aldi Blackcurrant, it was very good considering it only costs £2. 

    So I can personally recommend Aldi seed & cutting compost, Aldi Growing bags, and the Westland grow bags (although prefer the aldi ones).

  • Verdun i get confused by all the John Innes types, if you were going to make seed compost would you use perlite + JI #1

    I always thought seed composts were supposed to be sterilised, where i assume the JI types are not? Maybe that's just marketing blurb that is not actually true.

    I sowed some peppers in some B&Q seed compost this year, on a windowsill indoors, and it ended up having some tiny slug like creatures that ate the seedlings as soon as they sprouted. So won't be using that again, was very twiggy anyway.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    You could, but why not use JI seed compost and perlite or vermiculite if you're going to buy JI?  You can always add fertiliser and use it for other things if you have more than you need of the seed stuff, I have done this for a long time - worth trying for you may be? 

  • I did try a couple of bags of the JI soil based seed compost, but wasn't a big fan of this. It seemed to go a big claggy, maybe adding extra perlite might help lighten it  a bit. 

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Indeed, I do think it needs a bit of lightening, I use vermiculite but I assume perlite does much the same job.  I have found I get good root systems with this - whatever works for each of us I guess. 

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