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By Chino

Devon, United Kingdom Gb

What sort of compost do you clever gardeners use to germinate seeds. I don't seem to have much luck with them, generally only a miserable three or four come on, then I end up having to spend plenty for all the plants I need for hanging baskets, raised beds and pots. I usually water the trays from the bottom.



I use a john innes seed compost usually, though if the seed is large I use a multipurpose type with added vermiculite to encourage drainage.

27 Jul, 2013


Against all the rules I just use what I happen to have and it usually works well. Not proud of this, just thankful. I did try some John Innes seed compost I happened to have this year but the germination was practically non existent and it went rather hard and compact so I shall revert to the non recommended method next year and use multi purpose with JI.

27 Jul, 2013


I have used John Innes seed and cutting compost mixed with vermiculite this year and have had great success...over 100 lavender seedlings to pot on!

27 Jul, 2013


I have only ever used multi-purpose, from a very big diy super store in mauve bags. If you wanted to, you can sieve it to get a finer mass. The extra cost of seed compost just doesn't do it for me.
I think the secret is not so much the compost but the quality of the seeds. For instance, for the first time this year I used seed from a well known supplier ( T & M), they were useless, less than 10% success.
Also I mix my compost with 25% vermiculite.
If you keep the compost moist, NOT WET, and the seeds out of direct sunlight your germination rates will improve.
I grow about 70% of my plants from seed.
I am fortunate to have 2 greenhouses and a couple of propagators, and if you can invest in these it will make it much easier.
Happy Sowing.

28 Jul, 2013


I just use whatever I have to hand, multi purpost compost of various brands, it's worked well for me I've had excellent germination rates this year. I haven't got the space for lots of different types of compost for different uses and there's the cost to consider too.

I water from the top rather than the bottom, as I'm not sure whether the soil would suck up the moisture to where the germinating seeds are.

28 Jul, 2013


I stock and use all of them as a test and find that JI composts nowadays are too fine and claggy - they just go like concrete. I do mix in perlite or vermiculite to 'lighten' most of my composts. As most have said here, a multi purpose and good quality seed, good germinating conditions, and then HOPE!

28 Jul, 2013


Yours went like concrete too Worthy? I'm glad it wasn't something I did wrong then, if it happened to you as well.

28 Jul, 2013


Thanks everyone. Very interesting to here the JI stories as this is what I use, so at seed sowing time I will try most of the methods above, I'm sure the little devils will then have to show their faces to me. I can but hope.

I do have a greenhouse but its not heated so have to use all available window sills indoors, drives him indoors crazy.

29 Jul, 2013


Chino, bubble wrap the greenhouse. It's not that expensive and it really keeps the extra cold out.

30 Jul, 2013


This method works for me. For summer bedding plants I use general multi purpose potting compost, I water the compost first then sprinkle on the seeds then cover with a thin layer of more compost then lightly water again, I then place a plastic lid on top or some cling film with holes in then place on a sunny windowsill. When the soil looks dry I water with a very fine rose little watering can.

3 Aug, 2013

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