Tomato Compost Trial

Finding the Best Composts to Grow Tomatoes

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for using peat-free composts.  Every year, I uncover the best quality peat-free composts on the market in my peat-free Compost Trials.  I ran this Compost Trial to help you find top quality composts that will enable your tomato plants to produce bumper harvests of tomatoes!

Buying Peat-Free Compost

Compost packaging can be confusing.  Packaging can make products appear very green and environmentally friendly, thanks to the imagery, colours and the wording on the pack; however, this is often just marketing spin.  Sadly, the vast majority of composts offered for sale in the UK contain peat, which is quite simply horrifying; especially as we understand how damaging the use of peat is to our environment.

It’s difficult believe and hard to fathom why, but today there are still garden centres that do not stock any peat-free composts!  Can you believe it?  Unfortunately, it’s true.  If you want to purchase a peat-free compost, check the packaging for the words, ‘Peat Free’ or ‘100% Peat Free’.

If you’re wondering why it’s important to use peat-free compost, you’ll find more information via this link, here.

Using this Compost Trial Report

At the very top of this page, you’ll find a series of headings in red text; simply click on a heading to save time scrolling and whizz over to another section of this Compost Trial Report.  At the bottom right-hand-side of the page, you’ll see an upward facing arrow – if you click on the arrow, you’ll be returned back to the top of the page.  If my headings don’t work perfectly the first time, just click to go back to the top and start again – sometimes it can get out of sync, simply because this is a long report, with lots of images.  I hope this makes it easier for you to manoeuvre through this Tomato Compost Trial Report and speedily find all the information you require.

Trialled Composts

During this Tomato Compost Trial, I trialled the following composts:

  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic)
  • Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic)
  • New Horizon Tomato Planter (peat-free)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing (peat-free and organic)
  • Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic) used with the Quadgrow and Nutrigrow fertiliser (peat-free)

Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost (peat-free and organic)

Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost.

Dalefoot Composts describe Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost as:

“No other growing media has such a high concentration of naturally derived nutrients for improved plant size and quality.

Grow bag for tomatoes
Mix into soil for greedy vegetables (eg. courgettes)
Aids water retention for dry, sandy soils.”

If you’re interested in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost, you can find every article I’ve written about this compost via this link.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic)

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

Dalefoot Composts describe Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes as:

“Super-strength compost containing all the must-have nutrients needed to grow organic, succulent, aromatic tomatoes throughout the year without additional tomato feed.

Use as a grow bag or in pots
50% less watering
No need to feed – feeds tomatoes throughout the season without additional feed!
Peat-free
Soil Association approved”

If you’re interested in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic)

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads.

Dalefoot Composts describe Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads as:

“Perfect for “grow your own” organic vegetables, salad and fruit in an allotment, raised beds, containers or windowsill.

Up to 50% less watering
Feeds throughout the growing season
100% Peat-free
Soil Association approved

No need to feed – None of our composts require any additional feed and will feed your plants throughout the season.

50% less watering – The wool content in our composts provides natural water retention meaning less watering is required than other composts.

Soil Association approved – Our composts are sustainably made from from renewable, natural ingredients on our farm in the Lake District and are approved for organic growing by the Soil Association.”

If you’re interested in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

New Horizon Tomato Planter (peat-free)

Westland New Horizon Tomato Planter.

Westland describe Westland New Horizon Tomato Planter as:

“New Horizon Tomato Planter is a naturally peat free formulation that gives tomatoes triple the goodness.

100% sustainable, natural & peat-free compost
Specially blended for all types of vegetables
Base fertiliser – Feeds plants for up to 6 weeks
Ideal for tomatoes, chillies, peppers and cucumbers
BIO3 formulation – No Green Waste
Available size: Medium (2 plants)”

If you’re interested in New Horizon Tomato Planter, you can find every article I’ve written about this compost via this link.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing (peat-free and organic)

SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing.

Melcourt describe Melcourt SylvaGrow® Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing as:

“Melcourt SylvaGrow® Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing contains a unique blend of fine bark (a by-product of sustainably managed British forests), coir (from a single, known source), green compost (a carefully-sourced, certified ingredient) and balanced organic nutrients sufficient for the first 3 – 4 weeks of growth.

It is based on a formula used by professional organic growers throughout the UK and is Soil Association approved.
Extra depth for more roots and easier management
Professional peat-free formulation
45 litre volume
contains balanced organic fertilizers and seaweed meal for excellent vigour and disease resistance
performs best when routine liquid feeding is applied from around 3 – 4 weeks
contains no peat
RHS Endorsed”

Please note that Melcourt SylvaGrow® recommend that plants grown in this compost should be provided with supplementary feeding 3-4 weeks after planting.  I did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendations – the tomato plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® Peat-free Planter for Organic Growing did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Tomato Compost Trial.

If you’re interested in SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing, you can find every article I’ve written about this compost via this link.

Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost and Nutrigrow (peat-free)

Here’s my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter and all the kit that comes with it.

Greenhouse Sensation describe their Quadgrow Self Watering Planter as:

“The eco-friendly Quadgrow Self-Watering pot is made from recycled plastic and has a positive impact on the environment by re-using water as it constantly feeds your plants. This self-watering plant pot is the perfect way of becoming self-sufficient as its easy to grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole family.

Harvests are 2x bigger when grown in a Quadgrow self-watering planter compared with grow bags or pots because it automatically waters your plants for 14 days at a time. Even better, it does it all without electricity or timers!

Each Quadgrow holds 4x plants and includes everything you need.

Why this self-watering pot works:

The Quadgrow self-watering pot automatically waters plants, keeping soil at the perfect moisture level, never too dry or waterlogged.
Perfect moisture means roots have better access to oxygen which fuels faster growth and bigger harvests.
There’s no risk of erratic watering, which means much less chance of root rot, split fruit and blossom end rot.
Self Watering!

The Feeder Mats pull water up from the SmartReservoir into the soil around the roots – precisely where the plants need it – maintaining perfect moisture at all times. Growing an impressive crop is easy, and there’s no need to worry about holiday watering.

If you want to leave your plants for longer than 10 days in the summer either ask a neighbour to pop in and top-up the SmartReservoirs or link a water butt to the Quadgrow(s) using the optional Water Butt Link Kits. These kits include everything you need to connect a water butt to your Quadgrow including a water level controller which sits in the SmartReservoir and all the pipes and connectors. When the water level drops in the planters reservoir more water is pulled from the Water Butt.

Easy to use

Place the Quadgrow’s FeederMats in the 4x 11 litre pots, add compost, plants, and add water to the SmartReservoir which sits below the pots.
Your plants will be perfectly fed and watered for around 14 days at a time.
We include free award-winning Nutrigrow plant food with feeding instructions. The feed will last you the whole season!
The Quadgrow self-watering pot was named best self-watering product by Which? Gardening and best space-saving product award from Grow Your Own magazine readers.

Ideal for growing in greenhouses, polytunnels and on patios. It’s ideal for growing tomatoes, aubergines, sweet peppers, beans, cucumbers, courgettes, peas and all tall-cropping plants.

Quadgrow Dimensions

126cm Long x 36cm Wide”

The Tomato ‘Honeycomb’ plants that were destined for the Quadgrow were kept in their original pots until they were planted into Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost, in my Quadgrow, on the 18th April 2020.

A specially designed fertiliser called Nutrigrow – was added to my Quadgrow’s reservoir for the first time on the 27th April 2020.  I followed the instructions on the pack, adding the correct dose of Nutrigrow A and Nutrigrow B, which were mixed with tap water and used to fill the Quadgrow’s 30 litre reservoir.

If you’re interested in Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost you can find every article I’ve written about this compost via this link.

If you’re interested in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, you’ll find every article I’ve written about this product via this link.

If you’re interested in Nutrigrow, you can find every article I’ve written about this fertiliser, via this link.

Tomato Compost Trial

Tomato Compost Costs

Compost costs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from supplier to supplier.  Special offers provide an opportunity to purchase composts at a reduced rate, but these money saving opportunities are usually only available for a limited period of time.  Shopping around, comparing compost prices from one supplier to another can reduce costs.

For some suppliers (for example, Dalefoot Composts), buying compost in bulk reduces the cost (per litre) of growing medias, but naturally you’ll need to have the resources to place a large order to realise this discount.  One way to solve this problem is to club together with your neighbours, friends, family, allotment groups, local horticultural society, or other local gardeners, and make a large combined order of composts, all delivered to one address.

NB. Compost lasts longest when kept in a dry location, a shed or garage is ideal.

CompostPriceBag Size (L)Cost per LitrePrice from
Dalefoot Composts Tomato Compost£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot Composts
Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot Composts
Dalefoot Composts Double-Strength Compost£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot Composts
SylvaGrow Peat-Free Tomato Planter£6.4945£0.14Oxford Garden Centre
Gardman Country Smart Multi-purpose Organic Compost*£29.99280£0.11Gardman / Amazon
New Horizon Peat Free Tomato Planter£4.9950£0.10Squires Garden Centre

* Note: To grow tomato plants in the Quadgrow, using Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost, (as seen in this Tomato Compost Trial) as well as purchasing the Gardman Compost, you will have to factor in the costs of the QuadGrow Self Watering Planter (every new Quadgrow that’s purchased comes complete with Nutrigrow fertiliser), or a new pack of Nutrigrow fertiliser.  Nutrigrow is currently priced at £8.50 for 2.5L.  I used around two-thirds of the fertiliser that came with my Quadgrow for the four tomato plants I grew for this Tomato Compost Trial; this would have added around £5 to the overall cost.

The most expensive growing medias in this Tomato Compost Trial were the composts produced by Dalefoot Composts.  The cheapest growing media that featured in this Compost Trial was the New Horizon Peat Free Tomato Planter.

Tomato ‘Honeycomb’

These ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my Tomato Compost Trial. Pictured on the 13th August 2020.

For this Tomato Compost Trial, I opted to grow a delicious cherry tomato called ‘Honeycomb’.  ‘Honeycomb’ was bred by Simon Crawford, from Burpee Europe.

‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes taste sensational!  These orange coloured cherry tomatoes are incredibly sweet, with a full and deliciously tangy flavour.  This is one of my favourite tomatoes!  I wholeheartedly recommend you grow ‘Honeycomb’, it’s a truly great tasting tomato, with a long harvest period.

I purchased my ‘Honeycomb’ tomato seeds from Pennard Plants.  To see every article I’ve written that features Pennard Plants, please click here.

Fertiliser

Only the four ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter received the Nutrigrow fertiliser (Nutrigrow is recommended by Greenhouse Sensation and comes as part of the package when you purchase a Quadgrow).  None of the other tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial received any fertiliser whatsoever, during this Compost Trial.

The four tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow were fed with Nurtigrow fertiliser, following the instructions on the Nutrigrow pack, as recommended by the manufacturer.  If you’re interested in these two products you can find out more details about the Quadgrow and Nutrigrow fertiliser in this article I wrote about the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter.

Raising Tomato Plants in my Glasshouse

I sowed the seeds for this Tomato Compost Trial on the 2nd February 2020.  All of my ‘Honeycomb’ tomato seeds were sown in the same sized individual pots, which were all filled with a 50:50 ratio of the same two composts.  Instead of using an evenly mixed blend of these two composts, I opted to fill the containers with a top layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds, please click here) and a base layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, please click here).

All of the tomato seedlings that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial were raised inside my Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse.

My Access Garden Products Exbury classic growhouse.

Every single one of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato seeds that were sown for this Tomato Compost Trial were started off in the same sized pots, which were filled with the same ratio of these two composts.  This created strong and sturdy, healthy plants to begin the Tomato Compost Trial.  I grew additional tomato seeds, so I had many more plants than I required for this Compost Trial.  This gave me a choice of ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants, which allowed me to select similarly sized tomato plants to be grown in each of the trialled composts, thereby ensuring a fair trial.  However, although all of the tomato plants that were destined to be grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters were all the same size before they were planted in their trialled growing medium; I must say, that the tomato plants that were planted in my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter were much smaller in stature than the tomato plants that were destined to be grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.  The tomato plants planted in the other trialled composts (in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters) were very uniform in their size and stature, but the Quadgrow plants were significantly smaller.

I chose to plant the smaller ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants in the Quadgrow, as these plants were already destined to experience different growing conditions from the other tomato plants that were grown for this Trial (the Quadgrow is a different sized container from the Vigoroot Planters and made from a different material, the Quadgrow grown plants had to spend a month in my lounge with less than ideal lighting.  The Quadgrow grown plants were watered at different times from the Vigoroot grown plants, and the Quadgrow grown plants were fertilised regularly with the Nutrigrow fertiliser).  I thought it wisest to keep all the differences together and plant the smaller plants inside the Quadgrow.  However, it should be noted that the Quadgrow grown plants did not enjoy the same optimal experience as the Vigoroot grown plants during these early stages of this Tomato Compost Trial and the Quadgrow grown plants started this Trial with a distinct disadvantage.

It may seem a slightly crazy idea to use the same top quality seed compost (Dalefoot Wool Compost for Seeds) to raise all of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato seedlings for this Tomato Compost Trial and create strong and healthy tomato plants and a level playing field to start this Trial.  I chose to run the trial in this way, rather than sowing the seeds in each trialled compost because many gardeners don’t grow tomatoes from seeds; instead they purchase tomato plants from garden centres, nurseries, and online, taking their plants home to plant in grow bags or containers, at their garden or allotment.  I wanted to use this Tomato Compost Trial help these gardeners, as well as helping gardeners who grow their tomato plants from seed.

I hope the results of this Tomato Compost Trial will help all gardeners who intend to grow tomatoes.  Growing tomatoes is great fun; I recommend you try it!

Potting on the Tomato Plants

Many growing medias and composts provide nutrients for around six to eight weeks of plant growth; after eight weeks, these composts will need refreshing.  If repotting the plants is not possible or appropriate, the plants grown in these eight week old composts will now require additional fertiliser in order to allow the plants to sustain strong and healthy plant growth.

This Tomato Compost Trial demonstrates how ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants perform when a strong and healthy, six-week old tomato plant is grown in a container filled with its trialled compost.

For this Compost Trial, the plants were first potted up into their trialled composts on the 19th March 2020.  On the 25th May 2020, these plants were then potted into Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters, which were filled with their trialled compost.  During this Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were grown in the same container of growing media from the end of May until the end of September (four months), without adding any new compost or fertiliser.

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were destined to grow in my Quadgrow were kept in their original pots until they were planted in my Quadgrow a month later.  The Quadgrow grown tomato plants received fertiliser once they were planted in the Quadgrow; these plants were the only plants to receive fertiliser, during this Compost Trial.

Using the Quadgrow to Grow Tomato Plants

Like the other tomato plants grown for this Tomato Compost Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter were grown from seeds sown on the 2nd February 2020.  These plants remained in their original pots (which were filled with a top layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds, (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds, please click here), and a lower layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, please click here) until the 18th April 2020, when four ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted in Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Compost (a coir based compost) in the Quadgrow.

The Quadgrow features four containers that are smaller in size than the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters I used for this Compost Trial.  Indeed, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow were kept in their previous (smaller sized) containers for longer that the other plants, which were all potted on into larger sized containers, before being potted on into the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.

The Quadgrow’s specially designed fertiliser – Nutrigrow was added to my Quadgrow’s reservoir for the first time, on the 27th April 2020.  The Quadgrow’s reservoir was topped up regularly, throughout the Trial.  For more detailed information on how often the Quadgrow’s reservoir was filled up, please see this article I wrote about the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter.

Moving the Tomato Plants Outside

I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters as the containers for this Tomato Compost Trial. I took this photo after the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted on the 25th May 2020.

My tomato plants were all sown and raised in my Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were destined to be planted in Haxnicks Vigoroot planters were grown inside my glasshouse after the seeds were sown in February 2020, until the plants were planted outside, on the 25th May 2020.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in my Quadgrow were also grown from seeds sown in February 2020; however, these plants remained inside my glasshouse, until they were planted in my Quadgrow and moved to my lounge, on the 18th April 2020.  My Quadgrow grown ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes remained inside my lounge (with lower light levels and more shaded conditions than I would ever wish for tomato plants) until my Quadgrow was moved outside, on the 25th May 2020.

All of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this trial were planted outside on the 25th May 2020.  For this Tomato Compost Trial, (apart from the four ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow) three ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were grown in each of the trialled composts.  These ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted in Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters, which were filled with their allocated compost (on the 25th May 2020) and buried in the soil, so the top of the planter was just above ground level.

My greenhouse grown plants (or any tender plants I grow) are usually hardened off for a minimum of two weeks and often for as long as four weeks (occasionally longer), before the plants take up their permanent position, outdoors.  I would absolutely recommend you take the time to acclimatise your plants to their new home; take the time to move your plants outside in the morning and then bring your plants undercover again in the evening.  This effort is worthwhile and will benefit your plants enormously.

However, I am unable to move my Quadgrow myself and I was unable to get assistance to do this.  Accordingly, for this Tomato Compost Trial, all of my ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were moved outside together, on the 25th May 2020.  None of the tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial were hardened off or acclimatised before they were moved outside.

Irrigation

Apart from the Quadgrow grown plants, all of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial were watered by the rain and by hand.  Each plant received the same quantity of water, given at the same time.

The Quadgrow has its own reservoir so this was topped up manually as required.  Consequently, the Quadgrow grown plants and the Vigoroot grown plants received different amounts of water, administered at different times.  The Quadgrow Self Watering Planter was watered on far fewer occasions than the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.  For more information on how often the Quadgrow’s reservoir was filled up, please see this article I wrote about the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter.

Growing Tomatoes in Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters

I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters as the containers for this Tomato Compost Trial. I took this photo after the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted on the 25th May 2020.

I decided to use the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters for this Compost Trial, as I needed to use a pot or planter to contain each of the trialled composts.  I didn’t have a sufficient number of my plastic Trial Pots available, as I was running another Compost Trial (and other Trials) at the same time as organising this Tomato Compost Trial.

Supporting the Tomato Plants Grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter

Here’s my QuadGrow Self Watering Planter, as pictured on the 1st October 2020. My ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants are still growing and flowering!

My Quadgrow grown tomato plants were supported by a home-made support frame that was constructed from old bamboo canes, sections of wood left over from other projects, and the strongest twines from my Twine Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were supported by lengths of strong twine; each plant was twisted around its own length of twine.  This is a quick, easy, and effective method of supporting tomato plants.

Supporting the Tomato Plants Grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters

When I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters in an earlier Tomato Trial, I experienced problems with the planters leaning and becoming unbalanced.  So to avoid these problems during this Tomato Compost Trial; the ‘Honeycomb’ plants were grown in Vigoroot Planters, which were planted in the ground and supported using a simple home-made wooden support frame and the strongest twines, from my earlier Twine Trial.

During my Tomato Compost Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were supported using a home-made wooden support and lengths of strong twine.

Please note: I’m not suggesting anyone should use Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters beneath the soil in the way I have for this Compost Trial, as I have concerns about fibres from the planters being left in the soil.  I’m purely using the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters as a way to test the different composts and to give my plants greater stability.  If you’re using Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters, I’d recommend you use them on top of the soil and build your own support frame.  Alternatively, you could try the support system that Haxnicks have for these planters – I’ve not tried this product myself.

Tomato Plants Grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters

I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters as the containers for this Tomato Compost Trial. I took this photo after the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted on the 25th May 2020.

When the tomato plants were being planted outside in my Trials Area it was very obvious that the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the New Horizon Tomato Planter were significantly smaller plants than the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Dalefoot Composts and SylvaGrow Composts.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Dalefoot Composts and SylvaGrow Composts had produced side shoots that were larger than the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the New Horizon Tomato Planter.

I grew these ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants for my Tomato Compost Trial. Pictured on the 6th August 2020.

Tomato Plants Grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter using Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic) and Nutrigrow fertiliser (peat-free)

Here’s my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter and ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants, as pictured on the 2nd August 2020.

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter were grown from seeds sown on the 2nd February 2020.  Like the other tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial, these ‘Honeycomb’ tomato seeds were sown in the same small individual pots, which were filled with a top layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Seeds, please click here) and a lower layer of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (to see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, please click here).

All of the tomato seedlings that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial were raised inside my Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse.

On the 18th April 2020, four ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants were planted in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, which was filled with Gardman Country Smart Organic Compost.  My Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse isn’t large enough to accommodate the Quadgrow, as well as all the other tomato plants needed for my Tomato Trials; as a result, on the 18th April 2020, the Quadgrow was set up inside my lounge!  My lounge is the brightest room in my home, but it doesn’t boast bright growing conditions, so to give the plants the best possible growing conditions, the Quadgrow was positioned next to my Tall Orchidarium, which has LED grow lights.

At this stage of the Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow experienced less advantageous growing conditions compared to the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were destined to be grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.  These plants remained inside my glasshouse, where they benefitted from brighter light and improved growing conditions.

Here’s my QuadGrow Self Watering Planter, as pictured on the 6th September 2020.

What Tomato Pests, Diseases, & Problems did the Tomato Plants contract during this Tomato Compost Trial?

Pests

No pesticides, insecticides, controls or deterrents were used to prevent any insects from accessing the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial.  No slug pellets, natural slug and snail controls, or biological controls were used to deter slugs or snails from reaching the tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial.

Aphids

I only noticed one or two aphids on the tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial.  No action was taken to move or harm these aphids.  The aphids were left alone; no precautions were taken to prevent any aphids from colonising the tomato plants.  However, no action was needed, as the insects were not noticed in any following inspections.

Caterpillars

No caterpillars were found during this Tomato Compost Trial.

Slugs and Snails

A number of slugs and snails were observed around the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial.  No action was taken to move or harm the slugs and snails and no deterrents were used to discourage the mollusks from reaching the tomato plants.  During this Tomato Compost Trial, only one single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato fruit (produced by a plant grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads) was damaged by slugs or snails.

Birds

Birds were seen daily as they patrolled the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Trial.  The birds were regularly observed around the tomato plants, searching for insects and worms to feast on.  Slugs, snails, aphids, and other insects were all controlled by the birds that visited the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants, during this Tomato Compost Trial.

Blossom End Rot

None of the tomatoes that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial showed any signs of Blossom End Rot.

Split Tomato Skins

Many thin skinned cherry tomatoes are prone to splitting. This is exacerbated by irregular watering.

‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes produce thin-skinned fruits with a skin that dissolves as you eat the fruit.  The fruits of these types of tomatoes that produce thinner, more fragile skins are prone to splitting.  Irregular watering causes the fruit to split.

‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants produce thin skinned tomatoes that are prone to splitting. These tomatoes were grown for my Tomato Compost Trial.

During this Tomato Compost Trial, all of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters were all watered at the same time and given the same quantity of compost.  However, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow followed a different watering schedule.  These plants were watered via the Quadgrow’s reservoir, which was filled up with water and nutrients as required.  There were two occasions when the Quadgrow’s reservoir ran dry before being filled up again, which undoubtedly caused the fruits of these plants to split.

This chart shows the number of split tomatoes (in yellow) versus the number of whole tomatoes, without any splits (shown in orange tomatoes) produced by each compost type, during my Tomato Compost Trial.
This chart shows what percentage of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants’ harvest included split tomatoes, for each trialled compost, during this Tomato Compost Trial.

Late Blight

I grew this ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant for my Tomato Compost Trial. This plant is suffering with Late Blight.

Usually my Trials are more equal and exacting in their conditions with all plants are grown together, in the same area.  However, for this Tomato Compost Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters were grown together in one area of my garden, while the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter were grown on my patio.

Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) on some of the tomatoes grown for my Tomato Compost Trial. Pictured on the 15th September 2020.

Accordingly, with plants grown in two different areas of my garden, I expected that some of the tomato plants would become afflicted with Late Blight sooner than others.  On the 9th September 2020, I discovered the first signs of Late Blight on the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters.

After finding Late Blight on the 9th September 2020, all of the ripe tomatoes were promptly harvested from the Vigoroot grown plants.  Then, to minimise waste and maximise harvest, all the full sized tomatoes that had attained the maximum size but had yet to ripen were then harvested; thereby allowing the tomato plants to use all of their energy in developing the remaining tomatoes to a larger size before Late Blight destroyed the plants.  I was fortunate that due to the dry weather at this time, I was able to continue to harvest tomatoes from the Vigoroot grown tomato plants for an additional 11 days; before Late Blight finally ravaged the plants and this part of my Tomato Compost Trial finished.  The final harvest from the Haxnicks Vigoroot grown plants was gathered, on the 20th September 2020.

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) often leaves marks like these on tomato stems.

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter were the last to contract Late Blight.  These plants continued producing tomatoes until 10th October 2020, when the final harvest was gathered.

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, for my Tomato Compost Trial, contracted Late Blight and were removed on the 10th October 2020.
The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, for my Tomato Compost Trial, contracted Late Blight and were removed on the 10th October 2020.

Unexpected Problems the Tomato Plants experienced during this Tomato Compost Trial

On the 9th June 2020, I accidentally fell into two of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that I was growing for this Tomato Compost Trial.  As I tripped, I accidentally snapped one of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that was growing in Dalefoot Composts Tomato Compost and another tomato plant that was growing in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Compost.  I felt full of remorse for damaging these two plants!

I accidentally snapped the top of this ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant. This plant is growing in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Planter, filled with Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost. Pictured on the 18th June 2020.
A closer look at the top of a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant that was accidentally damaged during my Tomato Compost Trial. This plant is growing in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Planter, filled with Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost. Pictured on the 18th June 2020.

The sideshoots had already been removed on both of these plants, but upon examining the two plants I found that each plant had the tiniest hint of a side shoot growing.  I allowed these sideshoots to grow to form new leaders for each of these plants.  It wasn’t long before the plants recovered, but snapping the tops of these two plants undoubtedly set these plants back.

I accidentally snapped the top of this ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant. This plant is growing in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Planter, filled with Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes. Pictured on the 18th June 2020.
A closer look at the top of a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant that was accidentally damaged during my Tomato Compost Trial. This plant is growing in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Planter, filled with Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes. Pictured on the 18th June 2020.

Around the same time, the main stem of one of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that was grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter was also accidentally snapped.  Again a new side shoot was allowed to grow up and replace the snapped main stem.

Harvesting the Tomatoes

Here are the results of my Tomato Compost Trial…..

The first ripe tomato grown for this Compost Trial was harvested on the 28th May 2020 – this ‘Honeycomb’ tomato was grown in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planter that was filled with compost from a SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing.

The combination of ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial, produced a harvest of tomatoes at least once every ten days, and usually once a week or every few days, from the 28th May 2020 through until the 10th October 2020.

The Quadgrow Self Watering Planter was planted with ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were significantly smaller than the ‘Honeycomb’ plants that were grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.  The Quadgrow was planted up on the 18th April 2020 and placed in my lounge, where these plants remained until they were moved outside on 25th May 2020.  Therefore, it was not a surprise that the Quadgrow grown tomatoes were later in producing a harvest.  The first ripe Quadgrow grown ‘Honeycomb’ tomato was harvested on the 28th June 2020, which was a month later than the first tomatoes produced by Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters.  The Quadgrow grown ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants produced a regular supply of tomatoes from the 28th June 2020 until the 10th October 2020.

Harvesting Ripe and Unripe Tomatoes

I grew these ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my Tomato Compost Trial. Pictured on the 30th July 2020.

Towards the end of this Tomato Compost Trial, when the first of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants began to contract Late Blight, both ripe tomatoes and full-size unripe tomatoes were harvested and the results were recorded.

The majority (all of the tomato plants that were grown in Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters) of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes that were grown for this Compost Trial were taken down on the 20th September 2020, after these plants contracted Late Blight.  The final harvest of tomatoes from the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters, for this Tomato Compost Trial, was gathered on the 20th September 2020.

The final harvest from the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter was gathered on the 10th October 2020, after these plants contracted Late Blight.

These ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes were grown in my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter. These green tomatoes were harvested on the 10th October 2020, for my Tomato Compost Trial.

Which Compost produced the Largest Average Number of Tomatoes per Plant?

This chart shows the average number of ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes produced by a single tomato plant, grown in each of the trialled composts, during this Tomato Compost Trial.

What was the Weight (in grams) of the Tomato Harvest Produced by a Single ‘Honeycomb’ Tomato Plant grown in each of the Trialled Composts?

This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes produced by a single tomato plant, grown in each of the trialled composts, during this Tomato Compost Trial.

What was the Total Number of Tomatoes Produced by each Trialled Compost, during this Tomato Compost Trial?

This chart shows the total number of tomatoes produced by each compost during this Tomato Compost Trial.

What was the Total Weight of Tomatoes Produced by the Plants, when the Results were Normalised to show the Total Harvest (in grams) for Three ‘Honeycomb’ Tomato Plants grown in each Trialled Compost?

This chart shows the total weight (in grams) of tomatoes produced by the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in each of the composts that were trialled during this Tomato Compost Trial. These results have been normalised to show the harvest produced by three plants grown in each compost.

Tomato Compost Trial Results

This chart shows the total number of tomatoes produced by the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants grown in each of the trialled composts, the total weight of tomatoes produced by all the plants grown in each compost blend, the average weight per tomato, the normalised count and weight for each compost blend, and the harvest per plant.


Rank

Compost Type

Conclusions

1


The ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter (filled with Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic), using Nutrigrow fertiliser (peat-free), produced the largest harvest of tomatoes of all of the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial.  The Quadgrow grown ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants produced an average of 230.5 tomatoes, per plant, weighing 1597g.  The Quadgrow grown tomato plants produced the lowest percentage of split tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.  During periods of drought, the Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter did not require as much attention as the plants grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters; as the Quadgrow’s reservoir needed to be filled up less often than the other tomato plants (all grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters) needed watering.

To read a more detailed article about the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, showing how to set up the Quadgrow and demonstrating how it works and revealing how often I filled up my Quadgrow, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Nutrigrow fertiliser, please click here.

2

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) produced the second largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced an average harvest per plant of 156 tomatoes, weighing 1096g.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced the largest harvest out of all the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters.

To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts, please click here.

3

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost (peat-free and organic) produced the third largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Compost Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost produced an average harvest (per plant) of 132 tomatoes, weighing 767g.  The tomatoes grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost produced the smallest sized tomato fruits, during this Tomato Compost Trial.


To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts, please click here.

4

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic) produced the fourth largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced an average harvest (per plant) of 126.33 tomatoes, weighing 902g.

To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Dalefoot Composts, please click here.

5

Please note that Melcourt SylvaGrow® recommend that plants grown in this compost should be provided with supplementary feeding 3-4 weeks after planting.  I did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendations – the tomato plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® Peat-free Planter for Organic Growing did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Tomato Compost Trial. The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the compost from the Sylvagrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing (peat-free and organic) produced the fifth largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing produced an average harvest (per plant) of 103.33 tomatoes, weighing 799g.  During this Tomato Compost Trial, on average, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the compost from the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing produced the largest sized tomato fruits, with an average tomato grown in this compost weighing 7.73g.  The first ‘Honeycomb’ tomato to ripen during this Tomato Compost Trial was produced by a plant grown in the compost from the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing.

To see every article I’ve written about Melcourt SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing, please click here.
To see every article I’ve written about Melcourt SylvaGrow Composts, please click here.

6

The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the compost from the New Horizon Tomato Planter (peat-free) produced the lowest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the compost from the New Horizon Tomato Planter produced an average harvest (per plant) of 67.67 tomatoes, weighing 488g.
To see every article I’ve written about the New Horizon Tomato Planter, please click here.


To see every article I’ve written about New Horizon Compost, please click here.

Conclusions

  • Tomatoes grow well in peat-free compost.
  • Peat-free composts are available in a wide price range.
  • Tomato ‘Honeycomb’ produces delicious cherry tomatoes and makes a good container plant.
  • ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants produce a regular harvest of tomatoes, through through the growing season.  The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Compost Trial produced their first harvest on the 28th May 2020, and their last harvest on the 10th October 2020.
  • The first ripe ‘Honeycomb’ tomato that was produced during this Tomato Compost Trial was grown in a Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planter that was filled with compost from a SyvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing.  This tomato was harvested on the 28th May 2020.
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter (filled with Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Compost, used with Nutrigrow fertiliser) produced the greatest harvest of tomatoes.
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, on average a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant that was grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter (filled with Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Compost, used with Nutrigrow fertiliser) produced 46% more harvest than a single plant grown the second placed compost (Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads).
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, of the tomato plants grown in the Vigoroot Planters, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced the greatest harvest of tomatoes.
  • On average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced 22% more tomatoes than a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in the third-placed compost.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced the third largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Compost Trial.
  • During this Trial, on average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced 13% more tomatoes than a plant grown in the fourth-placed compost.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing produced the fourth greatest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.
  • During this Trial, on average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing produced 4% more tomatoes than a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant that was grown in the fifth-placed compost.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost produced the fifth largest harvest of tomatoes, during this Compost Trial.
  • During this Trial, on average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost produced 57% more tomatoes than a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in the sixth-placed compost.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in New Horizon Tomato Planter produced the lowest harvest of tomatoes, during this Tomato Compost Trial.
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, on average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant that was grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter (filled with Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Compost with Nutrigrow fertiliser) produced more than three times larger (327%) a harvest than a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in the New Horizon Tomato Planter.
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, on average, a single ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads produced more than twice as large (225%) a harvest than a ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plant grown in the New Horizon Tomato Planter.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost produced the largest number of tomato fruits with split skins.  30% of these plants’ harvest contained split tomatoes.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow produced the lowest percentage of split tomatoes, with 8% of their harvest containing split tomatoes.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing and the New Horizon Tomato Planter produced the joint second lowest harvest of split tomatoes, with 9% of their harvest containing split tomatoes.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing produced the largest average sized tomatoes during this Tomato Compost Trial.  These plants produced tomatoes with an average weight of 7.73g per individual tomato.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Compost produced the smallest average sized tomatoes during this Tomato Compost Trial.  These plants produced tomatoes that had an average weight of 5.81g per individual tomato.
  • During this Tomato Compost Trial, the ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter produced a greater harvest of tomatoes than the ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants grown in Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters.
  • The ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants that were grown in the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter required fewer waterings during periods of drought.
  • The Quadgrow grown tomatoes required less water through the growing season compared to the tomatoes that were grown in the Haxnicks Vigoroot Tomato Planters.
  • Compost has a dramatic effect on the productivity of tomato plants; this Tomato Compost Trial has demonstrated that by choosing a top quality growing media, you can increase the average size of the fruit that your tomato plants produce, grow fewer split tomatoes, and improve your tomato harvest by three times!

Further Trials & Other Articles that May Interest You………….

To read all about the Quadgrow and find out how often my Quadgrow was filled up during this Tomato Compost Trial, please click here.

For more articles about edible gardening, please click here.

To see all of my articles about automated plant care, please click here.

To see all of my Container Trials, please click here.

To read about Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters, please click here.

To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.

To see all of my Vegetable Trials, please click here.

To see my Tomato Trials, please click here.

To see all of my Outdoor Trials, please click here.

If you’re looking for a strong, lasting twine, to use to support your tomato plants or to support any other fruit or vegetables you’re growing, you might be interested to see the results of my Twine Trial, here’s a link.

To see photographs of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.

For ideas for sustainable gardening, please click here.

For ideas for sustainable living, please click here.

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One thought on “Tomato Compost Trial

  1. Lisa G

    February 13, 2021 at 5:25pm

    Great trial with a nice selection of peat-free composts and loads of good detail. I also liked that you included the Quadgrow in your trial, as that is what I am using. I selected the Quadgrow as I wanted a self-watering system, so that the greenhouse pots did not dry out (to avoid blossom end rot and reduce lugging watering cans to the greenhouse every day), so this result was great to hear I am trying a number of new (to me) tomato varieties this year, Honeycomb among them – so your “preview” of what to expect was appreciated.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 14, 2021 at 12:48am

      Hello Lisa, it’s great to hear from you. How lovely that you have a Quadgrow! It’s so much easier to use than regular containers and great for holidays and busy periods, too. I’m really looking forward to growing more plants in my Quadgrow this summer – I can’t wait! I am sure that you will enjoy Honeycomb tomatoes; I’ve found they’re an improvement on Sungold. I hope you’ll enjoy Honeycomb tomatoes as much as I do! Let me know how you get on. Good luck! Best wishes, Beth

  2. Richard

    March 29, 2022 at 7:24pm

    Hello Beth

    What a great website you have developed. But, unfortunately, I found it and your trials a little too late! I used Dalefoot Compost for tomatoes last year and was impressed with it, so this year’s supply is already sitting in my greenhouse waiting for the tomato plants. I have also ordered, and will use for the first time, a set of 4 Quadgrow pots.

    Then I read your trial and find that Dalefoot compost for Vegetables and Salads outperfomed the Dalefoot tomato compost! I will only be using Dalefoot tomato compost but I will be growing tomatoes in the Quadgrow, in growpots (2 sunk directly into a bagof Dalefoot, using it as a grow bag), in standard large pots and finally directly in beds (in my small polytunnel). It will be interesting to see how they get on but, as I have only just found your website, I have sown Sungold but no Honeycomb! Of course, I will be growing a number of different varieties so it won’t really be a trial. All my tomatoes are grown under cover given our exposed garden, northerly location and fairly high elevation.

    A question if you don’t mind. As 2 Quadgrow pots will use less than 50% of a bag of Dalefoot Tomato Compost, would you supplement later in the season with the Nutrigrow?

    Many thanks and I look forward to exploring more of your site.

    Richard

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      March 30, 2022 at 10:03am

      Hello Richard

      Dalefoot Compost is great stuff – I highly recommend Dalefoot products. Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes is fantastic – I would use this compost for my own tomatoes.

      How exciting that you’ve bought a Quadgrow! I’ve only used the Quadgrow as they have recommended – with a low nutrient peat-free, coir compost. I’ve not tried Dalefoot Compost in a Quadgrow. I never use any additional feeds with Dalefoot composts, as their products have all the nutrients the plants need.

      ‘Sungold’ is very similar to ‘Honeycomb’ I just find ‘Honeycomb’ is a smidgen better both in flavour and growth. ‘Sungold’ tomatoes are delicious!

      Good luck with all your growing – I hope you enjoy a bumper tomato harvest!

      Best wishes
      Beth

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