We’ve been testing container composts to find the best performers. As the industry moves to increase sustainability, can new peat-free composts compete with their traditional peat-based counterparts?
The results of our latest trial of container composts are in, and as ever they show a huge variation in quality. Out of 23 composts tested, only three are Best Buys.
Our ‘best’ and ‘worst’ photos spell out the differences between a good and bad compost – so if you want your plants to grow well this year, plump for a Best Buy.
The world of compost is changing. The government wants all growing media to be free of peat by 2020, which means the hunt is on for good, sustainable alternatives.
Peat-free goodness for your plants
Manufacturers are already on the case. Westland has come up with West+ wood fibre, which is made from Forest Stewardship Council trees. William Sinclair has developed Super Fyba, made from ‘oversize’, the woody material left over once green waste has been composted.
Which? has found that some peat-free products for containers are really good – one of this year’s Best Buys is a peat-free growing bag. But peat-free compost is not an easy sell.
While some people understand and care about the issues surrounding peat, many more don’t. Many consumers have low expectations of peat-free composts, and one compost manufacturer has likened selling peat-free compost to trying to sell alcohol-free wine.
Boosting your compost confidence
Because of this, the government is proposing a performance standard for composts so that consumers have confidence in future peat-free products. We’ll be interested to see how this develops.
Some composts (peat based and peat-free) are clearly not fit for purpose at the moment. The only way to test whether a compost is good is to grow plants in it, over a long period of time – which is exactly what we do during our Which? testing.
Do you care what’s in your compost, or do you just want it to work? Do you consciously choose peat-based or peat-free?