Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

Contents

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts – I want to encourage everyone to go peat-free!  However, I do understand that gardeners who use peat-based composts might be reluctant to switch to a peat-free compost, if they aren’t familiar with this type of growing media.  Trying a new compost can feel like a venture into the unknown; none of us want to start the gardening season off on the wrong foot, to be unnecessarily delayed, or to have our gardening compromised by using products that are not as good quality or effective as we might wish for.  I want to help you to avoid this dilemma and encourage you to switch to a peat-free compost.  I want to help you find a compost that you can be confident and excited about using; hence the reason for this Compost Trial!

I don’t usually include peat-based composts in my Compost Trials, but after receiving many requests from gardeners asking me to demonstrate peat-based composts alongside peat-free compost, I’ve made an exception for this Compost Trial and my Broad Bean Compost Trial.  If you’re a stickler for peat-based composts please look at these trials; I’ve written them for you.

I’ve included Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose (peat-based) Compost in this Compost Trial, as this is a popular and widely available compost that peat loving gardeners are likely to be familiar with.  This is my attempt to convert peat stalwarts into becoming peat-free champions; as this Compost Trial allows you to actually see how the peat-free composts included this Compost Trial directly compare to a popular and widely used, peat-based compost.  Please note that I have no plans to include any peat-based composts in any of my future trials.

I’ve included organic and vegan composts in this Compost Trial, in the hope that all of my readers will be able to source great peat-free composts that suit their needs and requirements, using the information in this Trial Report.  In order to avoid any confusion, I’ve listed whether each compost is peat-based, peat-free, organic, and vegan, in my headings throughout this Compost Trial Report.

Although peat has been widely used as an ingredient in commercial compost for a great many years now, it might surprise you to hear that most plants do not need to be grown in a peat-based compost in order to grow or perform well.  In fact, many plants perform far better when they are grown without the inclusion of peat in their growing media.

Buying peat-free compost

Compost packaging can be confusing.  Some compost brands’ packaging make their products appear very green and environmentally friendly; thanks to the imagery, colours, and the wording used on the bag.  Sadly, the vast majority of composts that are offered for sale in the UK still contain peat.  This is almost unbelievable and incredibly tragic, but some garden centres currently don’t stock any peat-free composts, which I find deeply upsetting.  If you want to purchase a peat-free compost, you must check the packet (or confirm with the manufacturer) that the compost you’re buying is 100% peat-free.

To find out more about the compost sold at your local nursery or garden centre if the information you require isn’t displayed on the front of the compost’s packaging, it might be necessary to lift the bag down and study both the front and back of the packaging.  This is far from ideal and it’s not something that all customers are able to manage.

NB. A word of warning: my husband spent two weekends driving around to garden centres and nurseries looking for peat-free composts to include in this Compost Trial.  When enquiring which composts were peat-free he was told at least three times by members of staff (in different garden centres) that peat-based composts were no longer available and all their composts were peat-free.  These members of staff sounded very authoritative and well informed, but their statements were not true – these garden centres only stocked one peat-free compost and peat-based composts are still widely available.  If you want to buy peat-free compost, please look for the words ‘peat-free’ or ‘100% peat-free’.

The ‘Peat Content’ label on the back of Westland compost can easily be misunderstood. The ‘percentage of peat’ part of the chart is green in colour; most gardeners who glance at this would assume it means the product is sustainable, environmentally friendly or ‘green’. However, on closer inspection, the graphic is actually indicating that the compost is 80-90% peat – which is extremely bad for the environment.

This small label on the back of a Scotts Miracle-Gro compost bag is titled “Our commitment to sustainability”, but when you look closely, it indicates that the compost contains anywhere between 40% and 70% peat. Using peat will not enhance our environment or make the world more beautiful. Using peat-based composts is not sustainable.

Why 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.  There are a lot of images and text in this Trial Report; the images take longer to load than the text and so sometimes it can be out of synch when you use the headings and you may need to scroll a bit further or pop back up to the top and try again.   At the bottom right-hand-side of the page, you’ll see an arrow – if you click on the arrow, you’ll be returned back to the top of the page.  I hope this makes it easier for you to manoeuvre through this Compost Trial Report and speedily find all the information you require.

Trialled composts

During this Compost Trial, I did something I have only done once before (and I’m not intending to ever do again!) – I’ve included a peat-based compost in this Compost Trial.  Naturally, as a peat-free advocate, I don’t want to get into trialling peat-based composts!  The reason I’ve included one peat-based compost in this Compost Trial is to try to demonstrate the quality of the peat-free composts in this trial and mainly because so many of my readers have asked me to include a peat-based compost in my Compost Trials.

When choosing a peat-based compost for this Trial, I selected Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, as this is one of the top selling composts; in the UK, this is a widely used and popular, peat-based growing medium that many gardeners are familiar with.  This is the second time I’ve used a peat-based composts in one of my Compost Trials; I am now reverting back to doing 100% peat-free Compost Trials.

Each of the composts that I chose for this trial were purchased at the same time, so as to avoid using old composts, which might have been depleted of nutrients, and to ensure a fair trial of every compost in the trial.  I usually have equal quantities of compost in my Compost Trials, but I didn’t have a sufficient number of my Trial pots, plus I didn’t want to purchase any more peat-based compost.  Consequently, there were only two containers of Westland Jack’s Magic (peat-based) Compost and Happy Vegetable Compost, compared to three containers of all of the other trialled composts.

I trialled the following peat-based and peat-free composts and compost blends for this Compost Trial:

  • Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)
  • Happy Compost All Purpose Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) (3 containers)
  • Happy Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) (2 containers)
  • New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)
  • New Horizon All Veg Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)
  • SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan) (3 containers)
  • SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium (peat-free and vegan) (3 containers)
  • Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost (peat-based) (2 containers)
  • Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)

Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic)

Bord Na Mona Growise Organic Vegetable Compost.

Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost is described by Bord na Móna as:

Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost is suitable for delicious home grown vegetables. It is rich in organic matter and nutrients to ensure healthy and strong growth the natural way without artificial fertilisers. Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost is produced from composted bark fines, green organic compost and other sustainable organic materials along with an organic fertiliser.

Ideal for use:
Organic Vegetables
Raised Beds for Vegetables
Improving Soil Composition

If you’re interested in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic)

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost.

Dalefoot Composts describe Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost as:

This general purpose compost is ideal for growing in pots, tubs and hanging baskets where water retention is key.  No need to add extra feed or water retaining gels.

Use in containers, hanging baskets and raised beds
50% less watering
No need to feed
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 Potting Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Dalefoot Composts Tomato Compost (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.

Happy Compost All Purpose Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

Happy All Purpose Compost.

Happy Compost All Purpose Compost is described as being:

For successful seed sowing, beautiful flowers and productive fruit and vegetable.  The All Purpose compost is vegan.  A great choice for the everyday gardener.

100% Peat Free
Rich in Organic Matter”

If you’re interested in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Happy Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic)

Happy Vegetable Compost.

Happy Vegetable Compost is described as being:

For healthier and more productive fruit and vegetables.  

Full of natural goodness

100% Organic Growing Media

If you’re interested in Happy Vegetable Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free)

Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost.

New Horizon All Plant Compost is described by Westland as:

New Horizon All Plant Compost is a naturally peat-free formulation that gives every plant triple the goodness.

  • 100% sustainable, natural & peat-free compost
  • Specially blended for all types of plants
  • Base fertiliser – Feeds plants for up to 6 weeks
  • Ideal for seedlings, containers, fruit & vegetables
  • BIO3 formulation with No Green Waste

100% peat-free – 100% sustainable – Guaranteed results!

New Horizon All Plant Compost has been specially created to be the perfect compost for all fruit and vegetables, herbs, & seedlings. Westland BIO3 is a revolutionary new compost formulation engineered to out perform all peat-based blends. The ingredients start nourishing the plant immediately.

Works best with seedlings, containers, fruit and veg and herbs. Not suitable for ericaceous plants.”

My experience: I discovered that newly opened the bags of New Horizon All Plant Compost produced a very potent odour, rather like fresh manure.  It was an unpleasant smell that I could detect a few feet away from the containers of compost.  When I first discovered that the New Horizon All Plant Compost had an unfavourable, pungent odour I hoped that I was somehow unlucky with the bags of compost I purchased, but I’ve now used this compost in a number of Compost Trials and found that this odour is typical for this compost blend.  The odour from this compost persists for a couple of weeks, when thankfully it then fades.

If you’re interested in New Horizon All Plant Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

New Horizon All Veg Compost (peat-free)

Westland New Horizon All Veg Compost.

New Horizon All Veg Compost is described by Westland as:

New Horizon All Veg Compost is a naturally peat free formulation that gives vegetables triple the goodness.

  • 100% sustainable, natural and peat-free compost
  • Specially blended for all types of vegetables
  • Base fertiliser – feeds plants for up to 6 weeks
  • Ideal for adding into raised beds
  • BIO3 formulation – No Green Waste

100% peat-free – 100% sustainable – Guaranteed results!

New Horizon All Veg Compost has been specially created to be the perfect compost for all tomatoes, chillies, root crops and herbs.

Westland BIO3 is a revolutionary new compost formulation engineered to out perform all peat-based blends and starts nourishing the plant immediately. It also has an open structure and micro-nutrients for total plant health, helping to feed plants for longer.”

My experience: I discovered that newly opened the bags of New Horizon All Veg Compost produced a very potent odour, rather like fresh manure.  It was an unpleasant smell that I could detect a few feet away from the containers of compost.  When I first discovered that the New Horizon All Veg Compost had an unfavourable, pungent odour I hoped that I was somehow unlucky with the bags of compost I purchased, but I’ve now used this compost in a number of Compost trial and found that this odour is typical for this compost blend.  The odour persists for a couple of weeks, before thankfully diminishing.

If you’re interested in New Horizon All Veg Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

SylvaGrow Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow All Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with Added John Innes.

Melcourt describe SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes as:

  • “Superb quality, 100% peat-free compost as used by professionals
  • With added sterilised loam
  • Suitable for a wide range of garden applications including potting-on, planting out and as a growing bag
  • Available in 50L bags and 15L carry packs
  • Suitable for vegans
  • 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 plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® with added John Innes did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Compost Trial.

If you’re interested in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with Added John Innes, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

SylvaGrow Sustainable Growing Medium (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow Sustainable Growing Medium.

Melcourt describe SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium as:

Sustainable growing medium for gardeners who are as passionate about the environment as their gardens.

  • Superb quality, 100% peat-free compost as used by professionals
  • Suitable for a wide range of garden applications including potting-on, planting out and as a growing bag
  • Available in 50L bags and 15L carry packs
  • Suitable for vegans
  • RHS Endorsed

Melcourt SylvaGrow® is a unique blend of fine bark, wood fibre (bi-products of sustainably managed British forests) and coir (from a single, known source).  It contains balanced nutrients sufficient for the first 4 – 6 weeks of growth. This growing medium is widely used throughout the UK by professional growers and is suitable for a wide range of uses around the garden.  Melcourt SylvaGrow® contains no peat or green waste compost.”

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 plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Compost Trial.

If you’re interested in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost (peat-based)

Westland Jack’s Magic Traditional Blend All Purpose Compost.

Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost is described by Westland on their website as:

Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost blends the finest 100% natural ingredients to create a pure and balanced growing medium, which produces super, natural growth and exceptional health for plants and blooms all over your house and garden.

  • Rich peat based compost
  • Great for seed sowing & potting on
  • Use in beds, borders & containers
  • Perfect medium for flowers, fruits & vegetables.

If you’re interested in Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost (peat-free)

Woodland Horticulture Limited Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost.

Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost is described as:

Based on composted bark fines, composted wood fibre, organic compost and other peat free materials indigenous to the United Kingdom, together with coir, these media are suitable for potting and cuttings of most types of plant. All components are from sustainable sources and avoid further depletion of peat resources.

Additives to enhance drainage, water retention and uptake can be added if required. Inorganic or organic fertilisers are added to give the desired balance of nutrients.

Peat Free Growing Media are ideal for:

Cultivation of most types of plant at all stages of growth.”

If you’re interested in Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Compost Costs

The price range of the composts in this trial is quite wide, with premium composts, like Dalefoot costing nearly three times as much (per litre) as the cheapest composts in the trial.  This increase in costs is often due to the cost of delivery, because many of the premium peat-free composts can only be bought direct or from online suppliers.  If you’re considering ordering some compost from Dalefoot, it’s often worth looking into placing a bulk order – perhaps with friends, neighbours, your local allotment society, or gardening club; often a flat rate portion of the price is taken up with delivery, so the more you order, the cheaper the compost becomes per litre.

Note: When I ran my Broad Bean Compost Trial, I wasn’t able to find bags of Happy Compost in many outlets.  At this time Happy Compost was a relatively new compost (launched in January 2020), so garden centres were only just starting to stock this brand.  This meant that the only representative price I could find at the time was nearly £15 per bag, by buying online at TheCompostShop.co.uk.  This made Happy Compost look much more expensive relative to the other composts in that Compost Trial.

By the time I started this Compost Trial in July 2020, (my third Compost Trial of 2020), many more garden centres were stocking Happy Compost.  Most outlets were selling this product for £6-7 per bag, which makes it the cheapest compost per litre in this Compost Trial and significantly better value.

CompostPriceBag Size (L)Cost per LitrePrice from
Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot
Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot
Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes£10.9930£0.37Dalefoot
Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost£12.0040£0.30Squires
Happy Compost All Purpose Compost£5.9950£0.12Polhill Garden Centre
Happy Compost Veg Compost£5.9950£0.12Polhill Garden Centre
Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost£17.0060£0.28Amazon
Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost£7.0050£0.14Almondsbury Garden centre
New Horizon All Plant Compost£7.0050£0.14Homebase
New Horizon All Veg Compost£7.0050£0.14Homebase
SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes£8.0060£0.13Squires
SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium£6.0050£0.12Country Supplies.uk.com

Compost Trial: Growing French Beans

I started this Compost Trial on the 12th July 2020, when six Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds were sown in each container of compost.

Please note: usually all of my Compost Trials feature equal quantities of each trialled compost.  However, I was not keen on the idea of purchasing any more bags of peat-based compost, so there are only two containers of Westland Jack’s Magic in this Compost Trial.

I didn’t have a sufficient number of my trial containers for this Compost Trial; as a result, there are only two containers  of Happy Vegetable Compost in this Compost Trial.  While there are three containers of all the other composts that are featured in this Compost Trial.

Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’

Mr. Fothergill’s Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ is a pink podded dwarf French bean.

I purchased these Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds from Mr. Fothergill’s especially for this Compost Trial.  I chose this variety of French bean as ‘Red Swan’ is a great choice for container gardening.  ‘Red Swan’ plants produce dainty flowers, which are followed by decorative French bean pods in varying shades of green, pink, and mauve.

My ‘Red Swan’ seeds were sown on the 12th July 2020, which is quite late to sow French beans; if you’re thinking of growing French beans, earlier sowings in May or June are more reliable (especially in the North or cooler areas of the country).  Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds can be sown inside a glasshouse or polytunnel from April to July, and outside in the garden from May to July.

Mr. Fothergill’s Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds.

Germination Rates

This Dwarf French bean ‘Red Swan’ seedling was the first seed to germinate during this 2020 Compost Trial. This seed was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

On the 17th July 2020, five days after the seeds were sown, the first French bean ‘Red Swan’ seed germinated in container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

These charts show the germination rate of the French bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds that were sown in each trialled compost, during this Compost Trial.  In the past I’ve heard stalwart fans of peat-based composts complain that high germination rates are impossible to achieve using peat-free composts; my Compost Trials prove this to be a fallacy and entirely untrue, as peat-free composts outperformed the peat-based compost in this Trial.

This chart shows the germination rate of the French bean ‘Red Swan’ seeds that were sown in each trialled compost, during this Compost Trial.

Weather Conditions

The weather was very variable during the period that this Compost Trial ran.  July was warm, but also overcast; August 2020 saw prolonged periods of rain followed by a period drought in September, which was again followed by rain.

Irrigation

The Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial were watered by the rain and by hand, during dry periods.  Although there was no set time (the plants were only watered by hand, during periods of dry weather) that was allocated for watering the French bean plants that were grown for this Compost Trial; all of the containers received the same quantity of water, administered at the same time.

Fertiliser

No fertilisers or plant feed was given to any of the French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  The plants were reliant on the nutrients they received from the composts they were grown in.  Please note, many compost manufacturers recommend that fertilisers are used alongside their composts.  I have not followed these recommendations and no fertiliser was used during this Compost Trial.

Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ Plants

Let’s have a look at the Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial…

Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 3rd August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Dalefoot Composts Tomato Compost (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Happy Compost All Purpose Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Happy Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) (2 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Happy Vegetable Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

New Horizon All Veg Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of New Horizon All Veg Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium (peat-free and vegan) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost (peat-based) (2 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost (peat-free) (3 containers)

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 1st August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 16th August 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants were grown in a container of Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost for my 2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans. Pictured on the 6th September 2020.

Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ Flowering

My ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds came from Mr Fothergill’s. This is a lovely French bean, the flowers start their lives as pretty pink buds and they fade to white as the blooms open.

The French bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial started flowering at the end of August and beginning of September.

French bean plants are decorative and productive. This Dwarf French Bean is called ‘Red Swan’. My ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds came from Mr Fothergill’s. This plant was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial.

This Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plant was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial. This is a pretty French bean, ideal for containers – my seeds were from Mr Fothergill’s.

This Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plant was grown in a container filled with Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial.

This Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plant was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, for my 2020 Compost Trial. This lovely French bean is a great choice if you’re looking for vegetables to grow in containers – my seeds were from Mr Fothergill’s. This picture was taken on the 6th September 2020.

Weeds

These ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants were grown in Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose (peat-based) Compost. I took this picture on the 16th August 2021, which was just a month after the seeds were sown; as you can see there is a covering of weeds over the surface of the compost.

I noticed that although the vast majority of the composts featured in this Compost Trial remained essentially free of weeds, this was not true of the containers filled with Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose (peat-based) Compost.  Weeds were noticed growing in this compost just a few weeks after this Compost Trial started.

Wildlife

I spotted this hoverfly on one of the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that was grown for my 2020 Compost Trial.

I spotted an array of insects around the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  Most of the insects didn’t stop for a photograph, but I did manage to take these snaps of a small hoverfly.

I moved into get a closer view of this hoverfly that I spotted on one of the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that was grown for my 2020 Compost Trial.

I then discovered that this hoverfly seemed to have its proboscis stuck on the pedicel of one of the ‘Red Swan’ French flowers.

I was anxious not to damage this hoverfly’s proboscis and I was very hesitant as I didn’t want to hurt this lovely hoverfly.

I put a small amount of rainwater on the flowering stem and moved one of my fingers underneath the insect so it could use me as a ledge to push up from; this seemed to help this hoverfly release itself and fly away.

This woodlouse was spotted on one of the ‘Red Swan’ Dwarf French Bean plants that was grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial.

A Barred Sallow Moth (also known by its scientific name Tiliacea aurago) pictured resting on one of the ‘Red Swan’ Dwarf Bean plants grown for my 2020 Compost Trial.

French Bean Pests

No insecticides, pesticides, or any other sprays or deterrents were used during this Compost Trial.  When pests were spotted their presence was recorded but no attempt was made to re-home or move any of the pests.

Slugs and snails

A slug or snail has sheered this Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seedling, cutting the plant’s stem off below soil level. This plant was growing in a container of Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, for my 2020 Compost Trial. Pictured on the 25th July 2020.

When this Compost Trial was set up, no deterrents were put in place to protect any of the plants from slugs and snails.  From early on in this Compost Trial, slugs and snails were a serious pest of the Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  Seedlings were demolished, or as I found with the seedling pictured above, cut off at the base, thereby killing the plant (similar to the damage a rodent would cause).

Slugs and snails damaged the Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ seedlings grown for my Compost Trial. Pictured on the 25th July 2020.

All of the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown for this Compost Trial sustained some damage from slugs and snails.

Although these Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ leaves have sustained some extensive snail damage the beans themselves remained all almost entirely intact. This plant was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial.

These two low hanging beans sustained some snail damage. These ‘Red Swan’ Dwarf Bean plants were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial.

A Snail on an as yet undamaged Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ leaf. This snail was found on one of the French bean plants that was grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, for my 2020 Compost Trial. This leaf is in perfect condition, so I wondered if the snail might have been dropped by a bird or other predator.

Black Bean Aphid

On the 19th September 2021, I found a few Black Bean Aphids on one of the ‘Red Swan’ dwarf French bean plants that was grown in a container of New Horizon All Plant Compost.  No other aphids were spotted at any other time during this Compost Trial.

Compost Trial Results

Havesting Dates

These Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ beans were growing during my latest Compost Trial.

There were five harvesting dates for the Dwarf French Bean ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial:

  • 6th September 2020
  • 13th September 2020
  • 19th September 2020
  • 27th September 2020
  • 10th October 2020

Average weight of French beans produced per plant

This chart shows the average weight of beans that a single French bean ‘Red Swan’ plant produced in each of the trialled composts, during this Compost Trial.

Average number of French beans harvested per plant

This chart shows the average number of beans that a single French bean ‘Red Swan’ plant produced in each of the trialled composts, during this Compost Trial.

How does each compost compare to the top performing compost in this Compost Trial?

This chart shows how the harvest of each of the trialled composts compares to the top performing compost in this Compost Trial. The top performer was Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes. This chart shows that the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in the peat-based compost – Westland Jack’s Magic Compost – achieved 58% of the harvest of the ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes (a peat-free, organic compost).

How does each compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?

This chart shows how the harvest of each of the trialled composts compares to the peat based compost used in this Compost Trial. The top performer was Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes. This chart shows that the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes achieved 172% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in the peat-based compost – Westland Jack’s Magic Compost.

Compost Rankings


Rank

Compost Type

Conclusions

1

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic compost) was the top-performing compost of this Compost Trial taking first place.   The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced the greatest average number of French beans per plant of all the compost featured in this Trial.  That’s not all, the ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced the third largest, average harvest of beans (per plant) in weight.

How does this Dalefoot Compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced 172% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost – demonstrating that their is a clear advantage for gardeners for switching from peat-based composts to this peat-free, organic compost.

During this Compost Trial, 100% of the seeds sown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes germinated successfully.

This Compost Trial proves that Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes can be used for more than just growing tomatoes!  Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes is a fantastic peat-free and organic compost.  This is a nutrient rich compost that produces attractive healthy plants.  Please note: tomato plants and French bean plants grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes do not require any supplementary fertiliser.

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

2

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic compost) took second place in this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost produced a total harvest which was 90% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost produced the highest average weight of beans per plant, and the second largest, average number of French beans per plant.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost produced 154% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost – demonstrating that their is a clear advantage for gardeners for switching from peat-based compost to this peat-free, organic compost.

During this Compost Trial, 94.4% of the seeds that were sown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost germinated successfully.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost is a top quality, peat-free, and organic compost that can be used to cultivate a wide range of plants, including ornamental plants and vegetables.  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost for this Compost Trial showed no signs of requiring any additional fertiliser.  Dalefoot Composts advise that no fertilisers should be used with any of their composts – I can tell you from running my Compost Trials that no additional fertilisers are needed.

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

3

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) took third position in this Compost Trial.  The French beans grown in Dalefoot Wool Composts for Vegetables & Salads produced the second heaviest average harvest of beans (per plant) in weight and the third largest average number of beans per plant, during this Compost Trial. The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced an average harvest per plant which was 76% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads produced 131% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost – demonstrating that their is a clear advantage for gardeners for switching from a peat-based compost to this peat-free, organic compost.

94.4% of the French bean seeds that were sown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads germinated successfully.

Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads is another top quality compost from Dalefoot Composts, which can be used to grow a wide range of edible plants.  Please note: French bean plants grown in this compost will not require any additional fertiliser.

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.

4

Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost (peat-based compost) came fourth in this Compost Trial.  However, the results were very close between the composts in fourth, fifth, and sixth positions, with a mere 0.5g separating the average weight of the beans harvested (per plant) between the fourth placed Westland Jack’s Magic Compost (peat-based) and the fifth placed compost, New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free).  There was also just 1.6g of beans between Westland Jack’s Magic (peat-based) Compost and the sixth placed Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free, organic, and vegan).

The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost (peat-based) produced an average harvest per plant which was 58% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in the top performing peat-free and organic compost – Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes – demonstrating that gardeners who use peat-based composts would be better off switching to a peat-free and organic compost.

During this Compost Trial, 91.7% of all the seeds that were sown in Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost germinated successfully.

If you’re interested in Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

5

New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free) was hot on Westland’s heels and took fifth position.  The Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in New Horizon All Plant Compost produced the fourth largest, average bean harvest (per plant) and the fourth greatest, average number of beans harvested per plant, during this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in New Horizon All Plant Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 54% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in New Horizon All Plant Compost produced 83% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost.

88.9% of the seeds that were sown in New Horizon All Plant Compost germinated successfully.

I must say that I find the odour from newly opened bags of New Horizon All Plant Compost is very off putting; this fades after a the compost has been in use for a couple of weeks.

If you’re interested in New Horizon All Plant Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

6

SylvaGrow® All-Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan) was close behind in sixth place.  Melcourt SylvaGrow® All-Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with Added John Innes was the top-performing vegan compost in this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes produced an average harvest per plant which was 41% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes produced 70% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost.

During this Compost Trial, 88.9% of the seeds that were sown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® All-Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with Added John Innes germinated successfully.

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 plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® with added John Innes did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Compost Trial.

If you’re interested in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with Added John Innes, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

7

SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium (peat-free and vegan) took seventh place, producing the seventh largest, average number of beans per plant and the seventh heaviest average harvest of beans per plant.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium produced an average harvest per plant which was 40% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium produced 69% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic peat-based compost.

During this Compost Trial, 94.4% of the seeds that were sown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium germinated successfully.

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 plants that were grown in SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium did not receive any supplementary feeding, during this Compost Trial.

If you’re interested in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

8

Happy All Purpose Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) came in eighth position.  The ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown in Happy All Purpose Compost produced the eighth largest, average compost per plant by weight and the eighth greatest average number of beans per plant, during this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 32% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Happy All Purpose Compost produced 56% of the harvest produced by Westland Jack’s Magic Peat-based Compost.

72.2% of the French bean seeds that were grown in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost germinated successfully.

If you’re interested in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

9

New Horizon All Veg Compost (peat-free and organic) tool ninth position.  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in New Horizon All Veg Compost produced the ninth largest, average weight of beans per plant and the ninth greatest number of beans per plant.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in New Horizon All Veg Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 22% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in the top performing compost – Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in New Horizon All Veg Compost produced 38% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Westland Jack’s Magic Peat-based Compost.

During this Compost Trial, 100% of the French bean seeds that were grown in New Horizon All Veg Compost germinated successfully.

I find the smell of newly opened bags of New Horizon All Veg Compost is very unpleasant; thankfully this fades after the compost has been in use for a couple of weeks.

If you’re interested in New Horizon All Veg Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

10

Woodland Peat-Free Multi-Purpose Compost (peat-free) was awarded tenth place.  The ‘Red Swan’ plants that were grown in Woodland Peat-Free Multi-Purpose Compost produced the tenth lowest, average harvest of beans per plant and the eleventh lowest, average harvest when measured by weight.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Woodland Peat-Free Multi-Purpose Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 18% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Woodland Peat-Free Multi-Purpose Compost produced 32% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Westland Jack’s Magic Peat-based Compost.

During this Compost Trial, 83.3% of the French bean seeds that were grown in Woodland Peat-Free Multi-Purpose Compost germinated successfully.

If you’re interested in Woodland Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

11

Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) came in eleventh position.  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost produced the eleventh lowest, average number of French beans (per plant) and the lowest average weight of beans, during this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 15% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in the top performing compost – Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost produced 25% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Westland Jack’s Magic Peat-based Compost.

72.2% of the French bean seeds that were grown in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost germinated successfully.

If you’re interested in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

12

Happy Vegetable Compost (peat-free and organic) was awarded twelfth place.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Happy Vegetable Compost produced the tenth largest average weight of beans per plant and the lowest average number of beans per plant of all the compost tested in this Compost Trial.  The ‘Red Swan’ French beans that were grown in Happy Vegetable Compost produced an average harvest per plant which was 15% as large as the harvest produced by the plants grown in the top performing compost – Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

How does this compost compare to the peat-based compost used in this Compost Trial?  The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Happy Vegetable Compost produced 25% of the harvest produced by the plants grown in Westland Jack’s Magic Peat-based Compost.

During this Compost Trial, 66.7% of the French bean seeds that were grown in Happy Vegetable Compost germinated successfully.

If you’re interested in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Conclusions

  • French beans grow well in peat-free composts.
  • French bean ‘Red Swan’ can be grown successfully in large containers of peat-free compost. 
  • The ‘Red Swan’ seeds that were grown for this Compost Trial were all sown together at the same time; the resulting plants were harvested five times from the 6th September 2020 to the 10th October 2020.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds that were sown in containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes and New Horizon All Veg Compost achieved 100% germination during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds that were sown in containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, and SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium achieved 94.44% germination, during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds that were sown in containers of Westland Jack’s Magic (peat-based) Compost achieved 91.7% germination, during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds that were sown in containers of SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes and New Horizon All Plant Compost achieved 88.9% germination, during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French Bean seeds that were sown in containers of Woodland Peat-Free Multi Purpose Compost achieved 83.3% germination, during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds that were sown in containers of Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost and Happy All Purpose Compost achieved 72.2% germination, during this Compost Trial.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean seeds sown in Happy Vegetable Compost achieved 66.7% germination, which was the lowest germination rate of all the composts that featured in this Compost Trial.
  • The three trialled composts from Dalefoot Composts took the top three places in this Compost Trial, producing the top three heaviest harvests and the three highest numbers of harvested bean pods.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Tomatoes achieved a harvest that was 172% the size of the harvest of beans produced by the plants grown in the peat-based compost – Westland Jack’s Magic Compost – demonstrating that peat-based compost is not always better than peat-free compost.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost achieved a harvest that was 154% the size of the harvest of beans produced by the plants grown in the peat-based compost – Westland Jack’s Magic Compost – demonstrating that peat-based compost is not always better than peat-free compost.
  • The ‘Red Swan’ French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads achieved a harvest that was 131% the size of the harvest of beans produced by the plants grown in the peat-based compost – Westland Jack’s Magic Compost – demonstrating that peat-based compost is not always better than peat-free compost.
  • The French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost produced the heaviest total harvest of beans in weight, during this Compost Trial.
  • The French bean plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes produced the greatest number of bean pods, during this Compost Trial.
  • The top-performing vegan and peat-free compost during this Trial was SylvaGrow® with added John Innes.
  • SylvaGrow® with added John Innes is a vegan, peat-free compost; the plants grown in this compost produced a harvest that was 70% of the size of the harvest that produced by the plants grown in the peat-based compost.
  • The French bean plants that were grown in Bord na Móna Growise Organic Vegetable Compost produced the lowest harvest of beans, during this Compost Trial.
  • This was a small scale Compost Trial, but it demonstrates that there is no advantage for the gardener to continue using peat-based composts to grow dwarf French beans; as peat-free, organic composts outperformed the peat-based compost, during this Compost Trial.
  • Please protect our peat bogs and peatlands and purchase peat-free composts!

More Compost Trial Reports

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

To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.

Tomato Trials

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

Vegetable Trials

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

Scented Daffodil Trial Reports

To see the results of my second Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my first Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.

Slug and Snail Trials

To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and discover the best methods of protecting your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

To read about using nematodes to protect your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

Sweet Pea Trial Reports

To read the results of my third Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my second Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my first Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials

To see my Tall Orchidarium being set up, please click here.

To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.

To see the design of my Rainforest Terrarium, please click here.

To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To see a planting list of ferns, orchids, and other plants that are perfectly suited to growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.

To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.

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