Inspired (if that’s the right word) by dodgy and persistent claims that all ‘peat-free compost is rubbish’, I’ve set out to find out for myself.
Since spring 2011 I’ve been putting around 20 different makes of peat-free compost through their growing paces, with some very mixed results.
Mine is a warts and all gardening trial, which aims to recreate the day-to-day experience of raising plants in a back-garden environment – which is a world away from what you might find in a ‘professional’ trial situation.
Until the results are transplanted here to earth-friendly gardener, you can take a look at how the trial is progressing over at organicinthegarden.com
You can see how I got on growing a range of different plants: cosmos, lettuce, onion, ‘early’ potatoes, radish, ‘salad leaves’, sweetcorn and tomato. Along with my gardening notes, there are plenty of photographs of how different plants performed, some showing comparative shoot and root growth – and some showing very little growth at all.
Are all peat-free composts ‘rubbish’? No, not at all (that’s just a pernicious myth). But as you might expect, a few are downright ugly, some are simply bad, and there’s a range of rather good ones.