VPGGB # 6 - Compost

I don't usually expect much in the way of gardening bargains in the January sales, but Homebase this year have come up trumps - 60 litres of peat free compost substantially reduced as you can see from the picture. January would normally be one of the worst times to buy compost too - the bags on sale have usually been left outside for months and consequently have had a lot of their nutrients leached out and aren't a good buy. However, the bag I bought a few days ago had been kept inside in the stock area, was for sale inside the shop and was therefore OK. Just as well as I still have a few tulip bulbs left to pot up as I ran out of compost just before Christmas.

At other times of the year, you may pick up similar bargains. Stores often have a cheap deal going on 3 bags of compost and I use the empty bags as a weed suppressing cover on my allotment. I have 10 compost bins on the go, so you'd think I'd never have to buy any wouldn't you? But I seem to have a garden and allotment that obeys the law - the more compost you have, the more uses you can find for it, so the occasional top up is needed. Also keep an eye open for broken packets, not just of compost. I found an enormous bag of purple slate chippings for £1 a couple of years ago which I've been using as a decorative mulch for my pots ever since.

The pictured bag turned out to be even more of a bargain - the recent VAT reduction was taken off when I took it to the till, so the final bill came to £3.40 :)


  1. Wow VP, 10 bins going, good girl. I have not found any good once yet, can you recommend one?
    I actually dig all my stuff down into the soil staight away!

    Have a great weekend/ Tyra

  2. It's reassuring to know that I am not the only soul who has still got tulip bulbs to plant up :) I was going to do it after Christmas but then it has just been too cold - that's my excuse. Sounds as if you have snaffled a bargain VP. Have you used Homebase's peat free stuff before ?

  3. Hi Tyra - luckily our local council has special offers on compost bins so I've usually bought whatever's on offer from them at the time. So it's rather a motley collection. I'm about to trial a new type of bin called a Johanna, which you're supposed to be able to put cooked and meat based remains into as well, so let's see how that turns out. My neighbours have donated their bins (and compostable material!)too.

    Hi Anna - I'm always chronically late with my bulbs, but they seem to forgive me :) Yes I have used their peat-free before and from other suppiers. I avoid the woody remains based ones like the plague and I've yet to find one suitable for seed sowing. Apart from that they're fine - for more permanent planting like perennials and shrubs in pots it does have to be mixed with a soil-based compost, but that applies to peat-based/multi-purpose composts anyway.

  4. Thanks for your Christmas greetings Michelle over at This Is My Patch, it was so thoughtful of you, and I do hope you enjoyed yours. Sorry I didn't get back, I had the dreaded flu, and it just knocked me for six! What with work and all, I have had no free time for blogging. There are bargains to be had out there and even though I make compost of my own, I always buy for seed sowing and potting on. I have only just got round to planting up some tulips which I bought at Wyevale for 50p a bag! I hope you have a very Happy Gardening New Year. x

  5. Hi Louise - I'm so glad you got in touch, I was getting a bit worried. Hope you're feeling better now and that we'll see a little more of you in blogland - life permitting of course. You certainly have an eye for a bargain :)

  6. Now that is reasonable. The price of some of the specialist houseplant composts is scandalous. I just wish the peat-free composts actually worked.

  7. Hi Hermes - I find in general they do work as long as you avoid the ones that aren't much more than slightly composted pine wood and don't use them for seed sowing. It is a bit of trial and error though.

  8. Happy New Year, VP.
    A nice bargain. Tomorrow I'll be having a delivery of a ton of manure for £8.40. Another bargain. My work colleagues can't quite understand my excitement...

  9. TEN? Oh man, do I want more space.

  10. Just nipped back for a second look today to see what folks have commented and there is a whole new scenario! the comments are visible without changing the window - brill. And in just few short hours too!

    VP I've done a couple more things on my blog in the last couple of days (if you're interested).

    I feel I'm slacking a bit with only 4 compost bins, but one is a wormery which takes all the kitchen stuff including the 'meat' that the cats won't eat once they've licked all the jelly off and there are a few places in the field - on reflection with the extra places, maybe I don;t feel so inadequate. x
    Just realised word verification is ineces - sounds appropriate.

  11. Ah- just closed a window or two and all was back as it was before.
    Was I dreaming? I really did see all the comments underneath the post, but not the earlier ones. Was my computer having a fantasy?
    Troubled times must be affecting my brain. x

  12. I use this for everything, including seed sowing. It costs a fortune, but it's the only one I've found which is both completely peat-free and completely organic, and which doesn't kill my plants.

  13. VP,

    You put me to shame! I have one compost bin and then a big pile. Plus about 100 bulbs to plant!


  14. I do love a good garden bargain! At that price I could just use it as a Winter mulch!

  15. HM - Happy New Year. £8.40 for a tonne of manure? That's a great bargain. I get a trailer load for £15 from the local farmer.

    Kate - Compost Lady admits to 20!

    Maggi - I'm on my way over, just to check you've not overheated or something.

    Juliet - thanks for the tip :)

    Gail - we're equal on the bulbs front at least.

    Matron - good idea. I'm also going to order a metric cube of compost from the people who compost the green waste collection to do the same thing.

  16. VP - Fertile Fibre also do a seed & cutting compost if you do a lot of seed sowing - I find the multipurpose one is fine for the small amount I do. If you do get some of either, don't water it anything like as much as you would normal compost though - it holds water for ages.

  17. Hi Juliet - thanks for that. I'll keep an eye open for it as it'd be good to have a reliable non-peat based seed compost

  18. Have 28 compost bins on the go, now....

    ...and plans for more...

    I can recoment Fertile Fibre products as well, really good for seeds. Only thing I have found less good in it are Beans...(French or Clinbing) Peas were ok so am not sure why, but I have observed this over several years.

  19. Crumbs - you really are the queen of the composting world!


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