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Challenge on peat-free compost

PUBLISHED: 14:54 12 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 March 2014

JANUARY 13, 2008: Compost producers need to up their game in order to produce good quality, peat-free composts that live up to their peat- based counterparts, according to new research by Gardening Which?.

Despite Government targets requiring compost manufacturers to
go virtually peat free by 2010*, Gardening Which? tests show
there is still a way to go before reliable quality peat-free
composts are produced. There remains a large gulf between the
performance of peat-free and peat-based composts for growing
young plants from seed.

New Horizon Organic and Peat Free Grow Bag was the only peat-
free compost deemed to be a Best Buy for growing-on young
plants.

Variable results in quality between bags of the same compost
bought from different parts of the UK meant it wasn't
possible make any peat-free compost a Best Buy for sowing
seeds .

Focus Multi Purpose Peat Free compost was rated a 'Don't
Buy', scoring only 8 per cent overall, and performing badly
in both the young plant trial and seed sowing trials.**

Traditional peat-based compost continued to top all the
trials, with B&Q performing best.  B&Q's Seeds, Seedlings and
Cuttings compost scored 88 per cent and was awarded Best Buy
status in the seed sowing tests, while B&Q's John Innes No.2
was the top scoring compost in the young plant trial.  This
was also awarded a Best Buy and scored 83 per cent overall.

Ceri Thomas, Gardening Which? editor, says:

"We've been testing composts for a quarter of a century at
Gardening Which? and we are still astounded by the variable
quality of peat-free products.

"Compost manufacturers really need to up their game if they
are going to produce compost that can balance the needs of
the environment with the needs of our plants."

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