All About Compost

I tried the no dig method of vegetable gardening a few years ago and I was immediately sold on (most of) it. Laying a fresh lot of compost on the ground is far less work than digging it and as far as weed control goes I couldn’t ask for more.

The downside of no dig is that it requires a lot of compost. If you have a decent sized patch of land and a reasonable portion of it isn’t productive you can probably generate enough compost on your own. If you’re like us though and have a little town back garden you don’t stand a chance. If nothing else then getting enough woody matter is a real challenge as town gardens don’t have space for trees.

For the last few years I’ve been mulching my main bed with mushroom compost bought from CPA Horticulture. I have no complaints about the service (the only minor gripe is the courier they use usually doesn’t listen when you say you need a smaller truck), the product has always been top quality, and the price has been competitive. One place I never compared prices to, however, was my local B&Q and I’ve been left shocked.

Looking at John Innes No 3, which I can compare like for like, at CPA Horticulture it is 27.3p/litre when bought at 750 litres (my typical order size). B&Q is 28.6p/litre when bought in 28 litre bags. For my typical order size that means £214.50 from B&Q vs £205 from CPA. When you consider that I don’t really need all 750 litres that makes B&Q a very compelling deal. Essentially, if I buy one back less at B&Q the price is the same and I can get it exactly when I want it.

There are also cheaper options at B&Q, there’s their own brand multi-purpose compost comes in at 12.5p/litre. I’ve used it in the past and it’s not completely terrible but it’s not great either. At less than half the price though maybe it’s worth another look.

For the mushroom compost I think CPA is still the go to supplier. It’s extremely rich (and usually smelly) stuff and B&Q don’t offer anything like it. For regular compost though I think it’s time to switch supplier.