2021 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Contents

2021 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts.  I know from experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media.  I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost; while gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again.  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 superb peat-free compost, one which you can be confident and excited about using; hence my reason for demonstrating a range of composts in this Compost Trial.

I’ve included organic and vegan, peat-free composts in this Compost Trial, as I hope to help all of my readers to source a top-quality peat-free compost that suits their needs and requirements, using the information in this Trial Report.  All of the composts in this Compost Trial are 100% peat-free.  In order to avoid any confusion, I’ve listed whether each trialled compost is organic, and vegan, in my headings throughout this Compost Trial Report.

Compost Trial Differences

Firstly, I must let you know that this Compost Trial differs from my other Compost Trials.  During this Compost Trial, I’ve used the same trial containers that I usually use and I’ve sown the same number of seeds (all sown at the same time) for each container of compost that featured in the trial.  However, this Trial differs from my other Compost Trials in that I have followed the advice given by each compost supplier/manufacturer for every compost type in the trial.  If the manufacturer has recommended feeding the plants grown in their compost, I’ve followed that advice.  The only exception for this is my use of The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil – this is a top soil – it’s not intended to be used in containers or for container gardening.  I included the SuperSoil as a base reading for the Trial, but I have gone against the company’s recommendations.  Please note that The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil would perform much better when used as a top soil.  I don’t recommend using The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil in containers, but I do recommend SuperSoil as a top soil to top dress garden beds and borders or to top up raised beds.

This isn’t the only difference.  Instead of giving all of the composts the same quantity of water, administered at the same time (as I have done in the past for the plants grown for my Compost Trials); for this Compost Trial I’ve only watered the individual planters when their plants have required watering.  I’ve followed the manufacturers recommendations and advice to give each compost the best chance to succeed and impress in this Compost Trial.  This has meant that some composts were watered more than others.  I have documented all the details of the individual care and attention that the plants in each container of compost has received in this report.  I hope that this Compost Trial will help you discover some superb peat-free composts!

Why Peat-Free?

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, most plants perform better when they are grown in a peat-free compost.

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

Buying Peat-Free Compost

Compost packaging can be confusing.  Some compost brands’ labelling make their products appear very green and environmentally friendly, thanks to the images, colours, and the wording on the pack.  However, I’m sorry to say that today, the vast majority of composts that are offered for sale in the UK, contain peat.  If you want to purchase a peat-free compost, check that the packaging states that the growing media is peat-free – if you don’t see the words ‘peat-free’ or 100% peat-free’ on the pack – choose another growing media.

Compost Trial Problems

2021 has been a year of challenging weather conditions!  While the broad bean plants I grew for this Compost Trial were flowering, we endured unseasonably cold and wet weather conditions, which meant that far fewer bees were able to forage for food at this time.  I noticed a drastic decline in the number of bees visiting the broad bean plants, compared to previous years.

The lack of bees undoubtedly affected the results of this Compost Trial, but it was the increase in the number of slugs and snails that had the biggest effect on this Compost Trial – these mollusks decimated many of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants I grew for this Trial, preventing these plants from producing a harvest!

The increase in the number of slugs and snails encountered during this Compost Trial could be linked to the fact that the Thrushes I usually see in my garden were absent this year.  Thrushes are predators of slugs and snails.  Thrushes were once very common garden birds, but their numbers have declined dramatically since the introduction of slug pellets.  Please don’t used slug pellets in your garden, as these products are harmful to birds and hedgehogs.

I don’t use any slug pellets in my garden – I’ve never used any slug pellets.  During this Compost Trial no slug or snail deterrents were used.  If you want to protect your plants from slugs and snails, you may be interested in the results of my Slug and Snail Trial.

It’s important to note that this Compost Trial was adversely affected by various problems (extreme weather conditions and higher numbers of slugs and snails than normal) which meant that it was not as conclusive at as many of the other Compost Trials I have run in previous years.  In particular, Dalefoot Composts fared particularly badly in this Compost Trial, despite having produced excellent results in my previous years’ Compost Trials.  This is not a reflection of the quality of Dalefoot Composts.  Dalefoot Composts are top quality composts that I still recommend just as strongly as I did following my earlier Compost Trials.  It was just unfortunate that the broad bean plants grown in the Dalefoot Composts were mostly obliterated by slugs and snails during this Trial.  However, some of the composts – notably Melcourt SylvaGrow® – have performed exceptionally well in spite of these difficulties.

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 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.  If for any reason the headings are out of sync with the text, this is probably due to the fact that there is so much information and so many pictures in this report that it takes a while for everything on the page to load; consequently, you may need to go back up to the top of the report and try again – it should work correctly the second time.

Trialled Composts

Each of the composts that I chose for this Compost 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 type.

I purchased some of the composts used for this Compost Trial and I was given some of the composts I was sent for the Trial.  I was given some Carbon Gold compost, but I also purchased Carbon Gold compost for this Trial.  I was given some Melcourt SylvaGrow® compost, but I also purchased Melcourt SylvaGrow® compost for this Trial.  I purchased all of the Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost and the New Horizon Compost I used in this Trial.  I was sent the Dalefoot Compost, PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost, and The Real Soil Company SuperSoil.  No products receive any preferential treatment, during my Trials.

I trialled the following peat-free composts and compost blends in my 2021 Compost Trial:

  • Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic)
  • Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic)
  • New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan)
  • PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)
  • 50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic)

Carbon Gold Organic Biochar All Purpose Compost.

Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost – What the Company Says…..

Our 60L All Purpose Compost is an organic alternative to peat.

It has been proven to deliver quicker establishment in plants, requires less watering, less fertiliser use and promotes greater vigour.

Perfect for indoor or outdoor use in containers, hanging baskets, potting on and planting directly into garden soil.

To see every article I’ve written that features Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost, please click here.

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

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost.

Dalefoot Composts – what the company says….

Sometimes our compost seems dry on top but is moist underneath, to avoid over-watering, either push a finger an inch into a pot or into the soil and see if it’s still moist. This should act as a guide to all the other pots or soil-based plants.  Alternatively, pick up one of your pots and check it still re-assuringly heavy.

With our seed compost, crusts can form which may alarm some users.  Over watering is a risk here and is particularly important as it can cause damping off.  For users who struggle with a slight crust on top we suggest using a mister to moisten the top.

To see every article I’ve written that features Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, please click here.

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

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

Dalefoot Composts – what the company says….

Sometimes our compost seems dry on top but is moist underneath, to avoid over-watering, either push a finger an inch into a pot or into the soil and see if it’s still moist. This should act as a guide to all the other pots or soil-based plants.  Alternatively, pick up one of your pots and check it still re-assuringly heavy.

With our seed compost, crusts can form which may alarm some users.  Over watering is a risk here and is particularly important as it can cause damping off.  For users who struggle with a slight crust on top we suggest using a mister to moisten the top.

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

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

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads.

Dalefoot Composts – what the company says….

Sometimes our compost seems dry on top but is moist underneath, to avoid over-watering, either push a finger an inch into a pot or into the soil and see if it’s still moist. This should act as a guide to all the other pots or soil-based plants.  Alternatively, pick up one of your pots and check it still re-assuringly heavy.

With our seed compost, crusts can form which may alarm some users.  Over watering is a risk here and is particularly important as it can cause damping off.  For users who struggle with a slight crust on top we suggest using a mister to moisten the top.

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

Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan)

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

Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Peat-Free Growing Medium with added John Innes – what the company says…..

Superb quality, 100% peat-free compost as used by professionals
With added sterilised loam and silver sand
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

To see every article I’ve written that features Melcourt SylvaGrow® with added John Innes, please click here.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic)

Melcourt SylvaGrow Organic Growing Medium.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium – what the company says…

SylvaGrow® Organic is a unique blend of fine bark (a by-product of sustainably managed British forests), green compost (a carefully-sourced, certified ingredient) and coir (from a single, known source) and is

• based on a formula used by professional organic growers throughout the UK
• 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
• Soil Association approved
• suitable for a wide range of uses around the garden
• contains no peat
• RHS Endorsed

To see every article I’ve written that features Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic, please click here.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow Multi-Purpose.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose – what the company says…

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

To see every article I’ve written that features Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose, please click here.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow Tub & Basket Peat-Free.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free – what the company says….

SylvaGrow® Tub and Basket is a unique blend of fine bark, wood fibre (by-products of sustainably managed British forests) and coir (from a single, known source).

Superb quality, 100% peat-free compost for tubs, troughs and hanging baskets
Contains water-retaining aid for effective ease of management
Suitable for a wide range of garden applications where higher moisture-holding capacity is needed
Suitable for vegans
RHS endorsed
Available in 50L bags and 15L carry packs
Also available as a bag for life

To see every article I’ve written that features Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free, please click here.

New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free)

Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost.

Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost – what the company says…

New Horizon All Plant Compost is a naturally peat-free formulation that gives every plant triple the goodness. This peat-free formulation is ideal for all types of plants and can also feed your plants for up to 6 weeks. Additionally, our special BIO3 formulation includes 3 special ingredients to help your plants thrive.

100% sustainable, natural and peat-free compost
Specially blended for all types of plants
Base fertiliser – Feeds plants for up to 6 weeks
Ideal for seedlings, containers, fruit and vegetables
BIO3 formulation with No Green Waste
Use New Horizon All Plant Compost all around the garden for amazing results

Please note that in my previous Compost Trials, I found that Westland New Horizon Compost gave off a potent and very unpleasant smell.  However, in this Compost Trial my experience was very different; happily I found that there was no noticeable odour from the Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost used during this Compost Trial.  To see every article I’ve written that features New Horizon All Plant Compost, please click here.

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost.

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost – what the company says….

PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix – 900L Bulk Bag

Award winning PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is formulated from the solid commodity produced by the anaerobic digestion of plant material. The base ingredients used in the process are specific cereal and grass crops. Its unique water retaining crumbly mix of nourishing plant food delivers the essential soil microbes that ensure healthy and sustainable growth for all plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs whether they’re grown in the garden or in pots and containers. Applied as a mulch, top dressing, soil incorporation, or at the bottom of planting holes, PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix will consistently deliver outstanding results.

PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix contains a comprehensive range of both micro and macronutrients that will revitalise soil to optimise healthy and sustained plant growth.

Recommended use – PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is ideally suited for mixing within or top-dressing newly created planting borders and vegetable growing areas where organic nutrients will be in high demand from the new plantings and crops. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is also a perfect product for using throughout the year to condition soils and enrich their nutrient content within established garden borders, vegetable patches, allotments and orchards, as well as in pots and containers. Simply apply directly from the bag either as a no-dig mulch around new and established plants, as a top-dressing to bare soil, or by mixing into the soil or compost. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is also the perfect product for applying directly to the bottom of planting holes. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix provides not only the essential nutrients to all plants, but also the vital soil microbes that sustain an enriched and healthy growing medium for strong root growth. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix can be re-applied as required and can be used alongside and in addition to other plant feeds, where its microbial components will optimise the release of nutrients. Using PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix within the garden will ensure healthy and sustained plant growth.

Wash hands after use.

Unique Properties:

100% Natural
100% Organic
100% Vegan
Environmentally friendly
Chemical-free
Peat-free
Improves soil and compost health
Water retaining properties
Helps reduce the effects of soil borne diseases
Contains micro-nutrients
Made completely from plants
Safe for the birds, bees, insects, animals, and children
Helps plants to grow stronger and healthier

To see every article I’ve written that features PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost, please click here.

50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic)

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost.

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost – what the company says….

PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix – 900L Bulk Bag

Award winning PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is formulated from the solid commodity produced by the anaerobic digestion of plant material. The base ingredients used in the process are specific cereal and grass crops. Its unique water retaining crumbly mix of nourishing plant food delivers the essential soil microbes that ensure healthy and sustainable growth for all plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs whether they’re grown in the garden or in pots and containers. Applied as a mulch, top dressing, soil incorporation, or at the bottom of planting holes, PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix will consistently deliver outstanding results.

PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix contains a comprehensive range of both micro and macronutrients that will revitalise soil to optimise healthy and sustained plant growth.

Recommended use – PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is ideally suited for mixing within or top-dressing newly created planting borders and vegetable growing areas where organic nutrients will be in high demand from the new plantings and crops. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is also a perfect product for using throughout the year to condition soils and enrich their nutrient content within established garden borders, vegetable patches, allotments and orchards, as well as in pots and containers. Simply apply directly from the bag either as a no-dig mulch around new and established plants, as a top-dressing to bare soil, or by mixing into the soil or compost. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix is also the perfect product for applying directly to the bottom of planting holes. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix provides not only the essential nutrients to all plants, but also the vital soil microbes that sustain an enriched and healthy growing medium for strong root growth. PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix can be re-applied as required and can be used alongside and in addition to other plant feeds, where its microbial components will optimise the release of nutrients. Using PlantGrow Soil Conditioning Natural BIO Mix within the garden will ensure healthy and sustained plant growth.

Wash hands after use.

Unique Properties:

100% Natural
100% Organic
100% Vegan
Environmentally friendly
Chemical-free
Peat-free
Improves soil and compost health
Water retaining properties
Helps reduce the effects of soil borne diseases
Contains micro-nutrients
Made completely from plants
Safe for the birds, bees, insects, animals, and children
Helps plants to grow stronger and healthier

To see every article I’ve written that features PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost, please click here.

Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost.

Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost – what the company says…

  • 100% Organic and renewable.
  • Promotes natural growth in plants.
  • Easy to handle pack size.
  • Superior water holding capacity.
  • Excellent air space for roots to grow.
  • Efficiently releases nutrients to plant roots.
  • Easy to hydrate.

To see every article I’ve written that features Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost, please click here.

The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

The Real Soil Company SuperSoil.

The Real Soil Company SuperSoil – what the company says….

100% natural ingredients.

100% traceability.

100% natural, eco-friendly & sustainable.

Significantly increased nutritional content.

Meets and improves on the BS3882 standards.

Our new 100% natural, peat-free, organic and veganic SuperSoil has been created to help plants get off to the best possible start, without causing environmental damage.

Whether for replacing boarder soil, replenishing raised beds, or tackling new planting schemes, avid gardeners will know all too well, that an early investment in their plant roots will lead to substantial rewards when it comes to harvesting.

Packed full of organic nutrients for optimal plant health, The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil is the solution gardeners have been searching for.

SuperSoil’s natural ‘boosters’ will stimulate quicker plant establishment and better resilience against pests and disease, whilst also enabling edible crops to benefit from nutritional enhancement and a higher crop yield.

Other welcome benefits come in the form of improved water retention and release for optimum plant growth, which also helps to provide a more balanced and workable material for gardeners.

In addition, SuperSoil is entirely peat-free and sets a new standard for sustainable gardening, perfect for those gardeners seeking the best peat-free alternatives for their cherished plots.

Meeting and improving on the BS3882 standards for compliance and reliability, The Real Soil Company offers you an enhanced natural topsoil with outstanding characteristics and performance.

To see every article I’ve written that features Real Soil Company SuperSoil, please click 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.

When buying peat-free composts, please be mindful that the compost ingredients (coir, wool, bracken, green waste, wood chip, etc.) need to be purchased in order to make these composts.  Peat-based composts can be dug out of the ground without the need to purchase other ingredients or specialist machinery.  As a result, peat-free composts tend to be more expensive to produce than peat-based composts.

It’s worth looking out for special offers, which can reduce the cost of compost when you buy multiple bags at once. For example, SylvaGrow® composts retail for around £8 per 50L bag but Squires Garden Centre had an offer of £15 for two bags, and RHS Wisley Garden Centre were selling 4 bags for the price of 3.

Some of the suppliers in this Trial (e.g. SuperSoil and PlantGrow) can deliver a bulk bag, which can contain up to 900kg of the product; this can be a cost-effective way of ordering if you need a lot of compost or are ordering as a group – and it’ll significantly reduce the plastic waste from individual compost bags too.

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
Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost£18.9960£0.32CarbonGold.com
The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (sold as 25 x 25L bags)£135.00625£0.22Garden Top Soil Direct
SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost£8.0050£0.16RHS Wisley
SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes£8.0050£0.16Squires
SylvaGrow® Tub and Basket£8.0050£0.16Squires
SylvaGrow® Organic Sustainable Growing Medium£8.0050£0.16Squires
PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (bulk bag)£130.00900£0.14PlantGrow.co.uk
New Horizon All Plant Compost£7.0050£0.14Homebase
Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost£29.99280£0.11Gardman/Amazon


Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’

For this particular Compost Trial, I opted to sow seeds of a Dwarf Broad Bean called ‘Robin Hood’.  Usually I buy all the seeds for my Compost Trials, but these seeds were kindly given to me by Suttons Seeds.

Thanks to Suttons Seeds for supplying me with Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds for this Compost Trial.

I chose to sow seeds of this particular broad bean cultivar, as it’s a dwarf, compact broad bean that’s a great bee-friendly plant and a lovely vegetable to grow in containers.  Broad bean risotto is a delicious treat in spring and summer; this meal is improved a thousand times over just by using home-grown broad beans!

If you’re looking for vegetables to grow as container plants, I’d recommend you try Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’, this cultivar doesn’t need any support and is very easy to grow from seed.

I’ve grown this particular broad bean cultivar during previous Compost Trials, so by growing the same plant again, these Compost Trial results are more comparable to my earlier Compost Trials.

Growing Broad Beans in Containers

I started this Compost Trial on the 2nd April 2021, when six Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds were sown in each container of compost.  I used three of my trial containers for every compost blend trialled.  Each container of compost was tended to following advice from each compost manufacturer and monitoring each individual plant’s needs.  The broad bean plants were observed as they grew, and the results were monitored and recorded.

Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers

I’ve been trialling Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers since autumn 2020. I’m really impressed with these plant labels so far.

Haxnicks kindly sent me their Bamboo Plant Markers to use for this Compost Trial.  These labels were easy to write on and my text was still clearly visible at the end of this Trial.

Germination Rates

This Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedling emerged from one of the containers filled with New Horizon All Plant Compost. Pictured on the 3rd May 2021.

The first Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds to germinate emerged on the 3rd May 2021 (31 days after the seeds were sown).  On the 3rd May 2021, the first broad bean seeds to germinate were grown in the containers filled with:

  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic) 100% Peat-Free Compost – 4 seeds germinated in this compost (on the 3rd May 2021).
  • New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free) – 2 seeds germinated in this compost (on the 3rd May 2021).  
  • The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan) – 1 seed germinated in this compost (on the 3rd May 2021).

This seedling emerged on the 3rd May 2021, which was 31 days after the seeds were sown.

This Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedling emerged from one of the containers filled with The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil. Pictured on the 3rd May 2021.

Here are the germination rates for the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown for this Compost Trial:

During my Compost Trial, 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds were sown in each of the trialled composts. This chart shows the number of seeds that germinated (out of a maximum of 18) in each composts featured in my 2021 Compost Trial.

Weather conditions

The composts that featured in this Compost Trial were all treated to a dusting of snow on the 12th April 2021!

Like many gardeners, I’ve experienced unusual weather this year, which has affected my plants.  April 2021 got off to a cold start and at the beginning of the month frosts and even a few snow flurries undoubtedly slowed down the germination of the broad bean seeds grown for this Compost Trial.  There was no rain until the end of April, when an hour or two of light rain fell over my Trials area.

Extreme weather on the 5th May 2021, saw my Compost Trial containers covered with hail stones – ice!

On the 5th May 2021, we experienced large hailstones, thunder and lightening; on at least two occasions my Compost Trial containers were covered in ice.  The month of May brought us continually low temperatures, incessant rainfall and many more hailstorms, including the largest hailstones I’ve ever seen!

Here’s one of my Trial Containers, pictured on the 24th May 2021 after a hailstorm.

By the middle of May we experienced a week of rain and cooler temperatures.  The days were overcast and the light levels were low.  This period of gloomy weather coincided with the time when the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown for this Compost Trial were in flower – the wet weather, cooler temperatures and low light levels would not have been beneficial to the bees and other insects that pollinate broad bean plants.

June 2021 saw the arrival of summer weather – warm temperatures and sunshine, which was followed by a prolonged period of inclement weather interspersed with some sunshine.  The rainfall during May, June, and July 2021 was considerably higher than the long-term average for that period.  For example, July 2021 had 78.5mm compared to the long-term average for July, which is 50mm.

Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants

Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic)

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

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

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

New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free)

Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic)

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan)

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan)

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic)

The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

Watering

This Compost Trial is very different from my other Compost Trials – previously all of the plants that I’ve grown for my Compost Trials were all watered at the same time and given the same quantity of water.  However, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial were only watered when they needed watering, and the plants were assessed individually, according to each container’s individual needs.  Each watering was recorded for each Trial Container so I could monitor and assess the irrigation requirements for each compost type.

It’s worth noting that when it rained all of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial were watered by the rain – regardless of whether these plants required watering or not!

The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in the range of Dalefoot Composts required watering on fewer occasions than the plants grown in the other trialled composts.

Fertiliser

Fertiliser was only used on plants grown in some of the composts that were used for this Compost Trial.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in all of the Dalefoot Composts did not receive any fertiliser at any stage, during this Compost Trial.  For the avoidance of any doubt, the plants grown in the following composts did not receive any fertiliser, at any stage, during this Compost Trial:

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

Fertiliser was first used on the 1st June 2021, when Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Concentrate Organic Liquid Food for All Plants was applied to the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in these composts:

  • Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan)
  • PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)
  • 50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic)
  • The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan)

The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in the above composts, were fertilised with Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Concentrate Organic Liquid Food for All Plants on these dates:

  • 1st June 2021
  • 8th June 2021

When this fertiliser ran out, I switched over and on the following dates I used Will & Al’s Beanstalk! Fertiliser for Fruit & Vegetables:

  • 1st July 2021
  • 19th July 2021

Wildlife

Bees

On the 15th April 2021, I found this bumble bee resting on one of the containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow Tub & Basket Peat-Free compost that featured in this Compost Trial.

Usually my Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants are buzzing with bees while they’re in flower.  Sadly, this year there were far fewer bees visiting the plants.  The photographs you see in this Trial Report represent all of the bees I observed visiting the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown for this Compost Trial.  I often assessed these Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants whilst they were in flower without encountering a single bee for the duration of my visit, which made me feel incredibly sad, deeply concerned, and rather anxious.

This bumble bee has collected a large amount of pollen. I spotted this bee as it tended to each of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ flowers that were grown for this Compost Trial. Pictured on the 13th June 2021.

What was the reason for the dramatic decline in the number of bees?  2021 has been a difficult year for insects.  The weather was cold and wet while the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were in flower, which meant that less bees were flying.

On the 13th June 2021, I spotted this bumble bee tending to each of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ flowers that were grown for this Compost Trial.

The way we treat our gardens, the countryside, and our planet has a dramatic affect on insects.  Our continued, sustained use of pesticides is damaging to bees and other pollinating insects, and is essentially harmful to ourselves.  I don’t use any pesticides outdoors in my garden; I’ve never used any pesticide outside – I’ve never wished to.

If you want to help bees, butterflies, hoverflies, moths, and all other insects (and life on earth), avoid using any pesticides and insecticides in your garden (or at your allotment).

I watched this bumble bee buzz from flower to flower, as it visited the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants I’ve grown for my Compost Trial. Pictured on the 16th June 2021.

At the time that my Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants came into bloom the weather was cold and rainy. I’ve seen far fewer bees than usual around the broad bean plants I’ve grown for this Compost Trial.

I watched this bumble bee pollinating my Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants, on the 22nd June 2021.

Birds

On the 17th June 2021, this lovely male Blackbird, who I call ‘Bob’ (also known by its scientific name, Turdus merula) was busily foraging around the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants I grew for this Compost Trial.

I observed Blackbirds, Blue Tits (including Ken and Brenda Blue Tit), Goldfinches, and a Pigeon visiting the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  These birds foraged for insects, worms, and mollusks on and around my Compost Trial plants.

Usually I see more Thrushes visiting my garden, but sadly the Thrushes were absent whilst the plants I grew for this Compost Trial were in growth.  The absence of Thrushes might account for the increase in the number of slugs and snails the Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants encountered during this Compost Trial.

I managed to get these two pictures of a male Blackbird that we call ‘Bob’.  ‘Bob’ and a female Blackbird, known as ‘Kate’ (both names are in reference to Blackadder), were frequent visitors to the broad bean plants I grew for my 2021 Compost Trial.

Lots of birds visit my Compost Trials, but they usually fly away before I can take a picture, so it was lovely to capture these two images of a male Blackbird surveying my Trial pots in search of insects, worms, or other food.

Hoverfly

I spotted this hoverfly visiting the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ flowers on the 12th June 2021.

This was the only hoverfly I spotted visiting the Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.

Woodlice

I spotted these woodlice mating in one of my Compost Trial containers. Pictured on the 9th May 2021.

My garden is home to large populations of woodlice.  I spotted many woodlice during my Compost Trial, including this mating pair.

A closer look at the mating woodlice! Pictured during my Compost Trial, on the 9th May 2021.

Pests & Diseases

Aphids

Only a few aphids and Black Bean Aphids were discovered, during this Compost Trial.  These insects were very sparsely distributed (usually spotted individually), they didn’t manage to form large colonies.  The broad bean plants were not adversely affected by either aphids or Black Bean Aphids, at any stage of this Compost Trial.

Slugs & Snails

I discovered this slug on a Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant grown in a container filled with Melcourt SylvaGrow Tub & Basket Compost, for my 2021 Compost Trial.

Slugs and snails were by far the biggest threat the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants I grew for this Compost Trial had to face.

I didn’t use any slug and snail deterrents or barriers or any biological controls during this Compost Trial.  If a slug or snail was discovered during this Trial they were left alone; the mollusks were not interfered with or disturbed at any stage of this Trial.

This large slug was munching through my Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in a container of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes. Pictured on the 4th June 2021.

I encourage birds into my garden.  In springtime, I usually observe Thrushes visiting the plants grown for my various Trials.  Sadly, I can’t recall seeing a single Thrush in my garden whilst this Compost Trial was in progress.  Accordingly, the slugs and snails were left to run rampant and these mollusks soon obliterated many of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.

I spotted this slug eating the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that I grew in a container of PlantGrow. Pictured on the 4th June 2021.

It rained all day on the 4th June 2021. I spotted this slug eating the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that I grew in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow Tub & Basket Compost.

On the 28th June 2021, I observed this slug eating the leaves of a Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant I grew in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes. There were at least two other slugs in this container when I took this picture!

Here’s another view of this large slug eating the leaves of a Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant I grew in Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.

Broad Bean Rust and Chocolate Spot

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container filled with Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost. Pictured on the 11th June 2021.

From June 2021 onwards, a few of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were not were not decimated by slugs and snails began to show some signs of Broad Bean Rust and Chocolate Spot.  These fungal diseases did not cause any significant damage and they didn’t seem to reduce the plants’ harvest.

The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic) were the first plants to show signs of infection.

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container filled with Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost. Pictured on the 11th June 2021.

Compost Trial Results

Harvesting the Broad Beans

Harvesting dates

There were two harvesting dates for the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial:

  • The first harvest was collected on the 22nd July 2021
  • The second harvest was taken on the 1st August 2021

Total Weight of Bean Pods Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total weight of bean pods harvested from the broad bean plants grown in the trialled composts, during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Total Number of Bean Pods Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total number of bean pods harvested from the broad bean plants grown in each of the trialled composts, during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Total Number of Broad Beans Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total number of shelled beans harvested from the broad bean plants grown in the trialled composts, during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Average Weight of Broad Beans Pods Harvested per Plant

This chart shows the average weight of broad bean pods produced per plant, for each of the trialled composts that featured in my 2021 Compost Trial.

Average Number of Bean Pods Harvested per Plant

This chart shows the average number of broad bean pods produced per plant for each of the compost types trialled during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Average Number of Broad Beans Produced per Plant

This chart shows the average number of broad beans that were produced by a single Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant grown in each of the trialled composts, during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Average Weight of Shelled Broad Beans Produced per Plant

This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of the shelled broad beans produced by a single Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant, grown in each of the trialled composts, during my 2021 Compost Trial.

How Does Each Trialled Compost Compare to the Top Performing Compost in this Compost Trial?

This chart shows how each trialled compost compared to the top performing compost (Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic), during my 2021 Compost Trial.

Final Compost Ranking: Harvest per Plant


Rank

Compost Type


Conclusions

1

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic) was the clear winner in this Compost Trial, achieving the top spot – first place!  The broad bean plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium produced the largest harvest of beans, during this Compost Trial.

15 out of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium germinated successfully.

In my earlier Compost Trials, I trialled composts without any fertiliser but by administering fertiliser to some of the composts (including all of the Melcourt Composts) that featured in this Trial, the Melcourt composts have triumphed.  This shows how important the addition of fertiliser is to the performance of Melcourt Compost.  When purchasing Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium, remember to use a peat-free, organic, vegan fertiliser to enhance your plants’ growth and achieve the best results.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium is a peat-free and organic product.

2

Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan) secured second place!  The Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes produced the second largest harvest of broad beans, during this Compost Trial.

14 out of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes germinated successfully.

To get the best results from Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes, use an organic, peat-free, vegan fertiliser.

3

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan) took third place.  The broad bean plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free Compost produced the third largest harvest of broad beans, during this Compost Trial.

13 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free Compost germinated, during this Compost Trial.

To achieve the best results using Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free Compost, use a peat-free, vegan fertiliser.

 

4

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan) achieved fourth position.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose produced the fourth largest harvest of beans, during this Compost Trial.

12 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose germinated, during this Compost Trial.

To achieve the best results, use a vegan, peat-free fertiliser regularly for all plants grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost.

5

New Horizon Peat Free All Plant Compost (peat-free) took fifth place.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in New Horizon Peat Free All Plant Compost produced the fifth largest harvest of broad beans, during this Compost Trial.

16 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of New Horizon Peat Free All Plant Compost germinated, during this Compost Trial.

In my previous Compost Trials, I’ve experienced problems with New Horizon All Plant Compost emitting a potent and unpleasant odour.  Thankfully, during this Compost Trial, I found New Horizon All Plant Compost produced no noticeable smell.

New Horizon All Plant Compost is widely available; this compost can be improved by adding garden compost, leaf mould or another good quality compost.

 

6

The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, & vegan) took sixth position.  The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil is a top soil, it’s not a compost.  This product is not designed to be used in containers, as I have done during this Compost Trial.  The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil is a top soil, designed to be added as a top layer over garden or allotment soils.  This product will be far more effective when it’s used as it is intended – to top up raised beds or add new top soil to gardens.  I’ve used the Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil in a way that doesn’t make the best use of this product.  I would recommend using the Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil to add a layer of top soil to beds and borders, and to top up raised beds.

13 out of 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds germinated in containers filled with The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil, during this Compost Trial.

7

Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic) took seventh position.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in containers of Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost produced the seventh largest harvest of broad beans, during this Compost Trial.

16 of the 18 Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost germinated, during this Compost Trial.

8

The 50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic) was ranked in eighth position, during this Compost Trial.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in this compost blend produced the eighth largest harvest of beans, during this Compost Trial.

8 out of the 18 Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers filled with a 50:50 blend of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost and Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost germinated, during this Compost Trial.

9




Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic) took ninth place.  Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost is an excellent compost that I heartily recommend.  It’s disappointing to see the previous winners, Dalefoot Composts being ranked in ninth position in this Compost Trial.  Dalefoot’s low position is due to this Compost Trial being ranked by the harvest the plants in each compost produced.  The broad bean plants that were grown in this compost sustained serious attacks from slugs and snails.

16 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost germinated, during this Compost Trial.

In the early stages of this Trial, the Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (and in all of the Dalefoot Composts) appeared strong and healthy, but these plants were soon decimated by slugs and snails and only fragments of the plants remained and these were mostly unable to deliver a harvest.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost is a genuine top quality compost.  I enjoy using Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost, and I still strongly recommend this product.

10


Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic) took tenth place in this Compost Trial.  It’s disappointing to see Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes being ranked in tenth position in this Compost Trial.  This quality compost has ended up with a low ranking because I ranked the composts in this Compost Trial by the harvest the plants in each compost produced.

16 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes germinated, during this Compost Trial.

In the early stages of this Trial, the Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Composts for Tomatoes (and all of the Dalefoot Composts) appeared strong and healthy, but these plants were soon decimated by slugs and snails and only fragments of the plants were left, which were for the most part unable to deliver a harvest.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes is a genuine top quality compost.  I enjoy using Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes, and I still strongly recommend this product.

11

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) is an excellent compost that I heartily recommend.  It’s disappointing to see the Dalefoot Composts Wool Composts for Vegetables & Salads being ranked in eleventh position in this Compost Trial; this is because I have ranked the composts in this  Compost Trial by the harvest the plants in each compost produced.

15 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads germinated, during this Compost Trial.

In the early stages of this Trial, the Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (and in all of the Dalefoot Composts) appeared strong and healthy, but these plants were soon decimated by slugs and snails and no plants were left to deliver a harvest.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads is a genuine top quality compost.  I enjoy using Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads, and I still strongly recommend this product.

12

PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) took twelfth position, during this Compost Trial.  PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan) may be more effectively used as a top soil or soil conditioner.  It could also be improved by adding other composts and creating individual compost blends.

2 of the 18 Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds germinated in containers of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost, during this Compost Trial.

13

Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost (peat-free and organic) took the thirteenth and final position in this Compost Trial.  This compost can be successfully improved by adding another compost, leaf mould or another good quality, shop bought peat-free compost.

The seeds that were sown in Gardman Country Smart Multi-Purpose Organic Compost perished, during this Compost Trial.

Conclusions

  • Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ is an ideal choice of broad bean to grow in containers.
  • Broad beans grow happily in peat-free composts.
  • The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that produced the greatest harvest of beans during this Compost Trial were grown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic).
  • The top performing compost in this Compost Trial was an organic, peat-free product (Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic).
  • Slugs and snails can be a serious pest for Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants.  These mollusks obliterated many of the plants grown for this Trial and dramatically affected the results of this Compost Trial. 
  • The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that sustained the most serious damage from slugs and snails during this Compost Trial were grown in Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic), Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic), and Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic).  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in these composts suffered from extensive slug and snail damage and the majority of these plants were unable to produce a harvest.
  • The highest germination rates in this Compost Trial were realised in the containers of Carbon Gold Gro Char 100% Peat Free All Purpose Compost (peat-free and organic), Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes (peat-free and organic), Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost (peat-free and organic), and New Horizon All Plant Compost (peat-free).  In these containers, 16 out of the 18 broad bean seeds germinated.
  • A germination rate of 15 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers of Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables & Salads (peat-free and organic) and Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Growing Medium (peat-free and organic. 
  • A germination rate of 14 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® All Purpose Growing Medium with added John Innes (peat-free and vegan).
  • A germination rate of 13 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Tub & Basket Peat-Free (peat-free and vegan) and The Real Soil Company SuperSoil (peat-free, organic, and vegan).
  • A germination rate of 12 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose (peat-free and vegan).
  • A germination rate of 8 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers filled with a 50:50 mix of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan)  and Gardman Country Smart Multi-purpose Organic Compost (peat-free, vegan, organic).
  • A germination rate of 2 out of 18 seeds was achieved in the containers of PlantGrow BIO Mix Compost (peat-free, organic, and vegan).
  • The Broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial experienced challenging weather conditions.  More favourable results may have been achieved had the weather been warmer and drier whilst the broad bean plants were in flower.

More Trial Reports

More Compost Trial Reports

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

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

Vegetable Trials

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

Tomato Trials

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

Container Trials

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

Flower Trials

To see all of my articles about Flower 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 for the first time, 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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