Tips for choosing the perfect garden compost


Whether you’re a novice or seasoned gardener, it’s not always easy knowing which type of compost to buy. However, it’s important to make the right choice, as the garden compost you use can make a big difference to the results of your growing endeavours. In some cases, the wrong choice may even cause your plants to perish!


Know your garden compost types

Garden compost can be distinguished according to what it’s made from, and this falls into three categories:
• Soil
• Peat
• Peat-free



Compost made from soil is often referred to as John Innes 1, 2 or 3. This isn’t a type of brand name, but actually relates to the compost’s recipe. The higher the number, the more feed it has added, so John Innes 1 is ideal for potting young plants in small pots, whereas John Innes 3 is better suited to bigger plants in larger pots, such as trees in tubs.



Peat was once a popular choice for composts, but the government has increasingly restricted its use due to concerns that peat extraction has a damaging environmental impact.



Peat-free composts are improving all of the time, and they are made from a wide variety of waste ingredients, including composted bark, green refuse or garden waste.

Know what to use your garden compost for

Arguably the most essential criteria for deciding which type of garden compost to choose is what you want to use it for. If you’re planning to sow seeds or tender plants, a seed compost will do the job nicely, while a potting compost is ideal for potting plants. Look for a compost with slow-release feed or water-retaining gels for planting hanging baskets.


To enrich the soil of a flowerbed or vegetable patch, use a soil improver or well-rotted manure. For topping up the soil in your garden or filling raised beds, topsoil is the recommended choice. Improving the drainage of your soil, particularly if it is very heavy, requires sand, gravel or grit.


Different plants may also require different types of compost. Acid-loving specimens like camellias, for instance, will need a lime free soil, such as ericaceous compost.


Reputable supplier

Whether you’re choosing garden turf, compost or topsoil, the key factor is to choose a reputable supplier like The London Topsoil Company, to ensure a good quality product that is free from weeds, and will keep your plants healthy and strong.