Sunday, 16 March 2008

Which Seed Compost ? 16.03.08

Welcome back to Reads Retreat - my guide to Growing your own Veg in Raised Beds.

At this time of the year, seed sowing is the main thing happening in the garden / on the plot, and it's a key stage in the development of your crops.
And every year, you are faced with the perplexing decision of which Seed Compost to use. Each and every supplier extols the benefits of "their" compost, be it peat free or whatever, so how do you decide which to use ?
For many years / successive seasons, I have used the Tunstalls brand, not necessarily because of how good it may be, but generally because of the price. When you can get 3 x 75 Litre bags for a tenner, you will find it hard to complain - in fact the only complaint is lifting the 75 Litre bags.
However, this year it seems that you can buy seed / potting compost almost anywhere, so i decided to try a different supplier - ALDI ! Yup, the bargain supermarket ! They are selling 20Litre bags for 99p, so pound for pound, they're not far off from the Tunstall's price ( 200 Litres for a tenner vs. 225 Litres for a tenner ) but the key bit that attracted me initially was the fact that it's far easier to carry 10 x 20 Litre bags, than 3 x 75 Litre bags.
I say initially because, now that I have tried the Aldi compost, I must say that I'm totally impressed by not only the quality of it, but also by how well my seeds are germinating / growing in it. I cant recall a sowing season that has gone as well as this one. Virtually every seed I've planted has germinated, and after pricking out / potting on, none of my seedlings seem to be suffering from the deadly "dampening off " that I usually struggle against. The other point is that I always sieve my compost before use, through a 1/4" sieve, removing the lumps that would otherwise hinder the seedlings growth. With a 20 Litre bag of the Aldi compost, I removed approx 2 Litres of lumps over 1/4", about 10%. With the Tunstall's and other brands I have tried, this figure is usually a lot nearer the 20% mark. These overs are used elsewhere in the garden in the borders etc and are not wasted !
So as you can see, I'm hooked! I would recommend you try some vs. the brand you are using. For a quid it has to be worth a try !

Here's a snapshot of the seeds I have growing in my unheated conservatory. This is using the compost from Aldi.

Most have been potted on, but the Sweet & Hot peppers will hopefully be done later today, as well as further sowing's, to include Parsley, Lettuce, Lambs Lettuce, Rocket, Spring onions.

Thats quite enough to be getting on with - don't you think !

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I hope you have enjoyed this weeks update, and that your preparations are coming along well too. Thanks to all of you who have contributed / commented on the blog - it's always nice to get your feedback. As a final pointer, I'd like to recommend that you take a look at Steve's Allotment blog - there's a link in my favourites, and why not join him for a "Live " chat Sunday evening 7pm to 9pm ?

Thats it for today,


1 comment:

TopVeg said...


I know you are into 'out of season potatoes'. Just wondered if you will have any ready for first week in April? Special request!