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Seed compost

Shropshire, United Kingdom Gb

I have purchased John Innes Seed Compost especially for this year's seed sowing. I find this is very lumpy with all sorts of strange things incorporated in it. I and am wondering why, being a seed compost, this is not sieved? Can anyone enlighten me on the virtues of this product and if the lumps are going to stop germination. I do sieve the top layer of compost when covering the seeds, but do not feel included to sieve the whole bag - or should I?



I also bought some John Innes and it was very lumpy with unusual alien looking material in it too. I found it gritty and when watered it was heavy and I feel too much for some of my finer seeds to get through. I now have B & Q own brand of multi purpose which is much finer, although there are still lumps in it, they can easily be crumbled by hand. I use a spare plant pot as a sieve to cover my seeds which works brilliantly. I'm going to test over the next few weeks which works best, I usually go for the B & Q with great success but we were in a different Garden Centre when I ralised I needed compost so didn't really know what the quality was like.

25 Mar, 2009


I never sieve compost and have never had problems that I could describe as lump related. I rarely even use seed compost although I did today for my Melianthus seeds. I used Westland Seed Compost (with added John Innes) which came in a small red bag. It seemed very soft and pretty much lump free.

25 Mar, 2009


I don`t like John innes at all, i too found it heavy and lumpy, and for such a popular medium i wasnt impressed at all, i agree with greenfingers B&Q compost is great and i`ve used westlands compost too, tho i do favour the simple general purpose stuff from B&Q, i bought 3 bags of John innes number 1 ,2, and 3 and ended up tipping the lot into the garden, I feel the general purpose stuff retains heat much better too, and thats essential when raising seeds....... Hope this helps


25 Mar, 2009


Just to chip in, I haven't used 'seed compost' for years - had nothing but trouble with it - particularly damping off. Nowadays I just sow into multipurpose, sometimes adding in a bit of sharp sand to lighten it. Not had a problem with damping off since.

25 Mar, 2009


This has been a really useful thread and I thank you all. I have always used multipurpose compost (any make) and added some grit and sharp sand if I had any. I thought that it would be easier to buy the product already mixed and was recommended by the Gardeners World monthly magazine. The lumps in the compost are hard (and hairy) and some cannot be broken up by hand. I have also purchased JI No 2 (recommended for potatoes) and No 3 (recommended by a member of this forum) to pot up dahlia tubers to put, pot and all, into my flowerbeds later in the year. It is certainly simpler to get general purpose compost, but being new to seed growing, I wanted to do the right thing for the seeds. So far antirrhinums have germinated and hopefull the 4 trays I sowed yesterday will not damp off. Good idea Greenfingers about the plant pot as a sieve, I have been lucky in that a good friend returned from Portugal with an authentic sieve as a present for me. It is a great piece of equipment.

26 Mar, 2009


Just an update of the above thread. I contacted the suppliers of John Innes Seed compost and asked them about the lumpy consistency. I was informed that this should not be the texture and there had been a problem with screening the compost. I was send a £15 voucher, so have at least got my money back. I won't be purchasing this product again as since writing about the seed compost I have had similar failures with JI No 3 when potting up dahlia tubers. I had potted 6 dahlias and ran out of the JI No 3 so used a multipurpose compost for the other 8 tubers. All the multipurpose pottings have got good growth, but nothing at all with the JI pottings. So today, I emptied all the JI pots out and started again with the multipurpose compost. The JI medium was cold and heavy and I am not surprised the dahlias failed to start growing.

27 Apr, 2009

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