2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Contents

2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener and a passionate advocate for peat-free gardening.  I want to help you be a successful gardener, so every year I run independent Compost Trials and share the results on my website.

I’ve included organic and vegan, peat-free composts in this Compost Trial.  All of the composts in this Compost Trial are 100% peat-free.

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 on this topic, here.  See more articles I’ve written about peatlands, by clicking 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.

The labelling on compost bags started to change this year, but this new scheme doesn’t go far enough and is not as useful as it could be – read about the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media in this article.

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 the headings are out of sync with the text, this is due to the fact that there is so much information and so many charts and 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 – if the full Trial Report has loaded – it should work correctly the second time.

Trialled Composts

Each of the composts that I chose for this Compost Trial were sourced 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 trialled the following peat-free composts and compost blends in my 2022 Compost Trial:

  • Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost)

Compost Costs

The lowest priced compost in this Compost Trial was Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) which came in at 12 pence per litre.  Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) was the most expensive compost at 24 pence per litre.

CompostCostBag SizeCost per LitreSupplier/source
Bathgate Multi Purpose£5.9950£0.12Yew Tree garden centre
Petersfield Supreme£7.9960£0.13Six Acre Nurseries
Bathgate Champions Blend£7.2550£0.15J Maher Electrical and Garden
Harmony Garden£7.9950£0.16Aylett Nurserie
SylvaGrow® Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes£8.0050£0.16Squires
SylvaGrow® Organic Sustainable Growing Medium£8.0050£0.16Squires
Coco Bloom All Purpose£13.9950£0.28https://cocoandcoir.com/
Heart of Eden£16.7550£0.34Akkin Garden Supplies

What The Manufacturers Say About Each Compost Type……

Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

On their website, Bathgate Horticulture describe this product as:
A premium compost blend formulated with natural seaweed extracts, volcanic minerals, rock dust and naturally occurring strains of beneficial bacteria and fungi. This unique formulation stimulates growth, enhances plant development and improves resistance to disease with the added benefit of slow release nutrients and natural trace elements.  This unique formulation, contains a blend of natural ingredients and is manufactured to our strict standards. Suitable for a wide range of ornamentals and edibles.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To see every article I’ve written that mentions Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost, please click here.

Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free)

On their website, Bathgate Silica describe this product as:
Uniquely formulated Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost containing a blend of natural products enriched with essential nutrition and trace elements for healthy plant development and sustained growth.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To see every article I’ve written about Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost, please click here.

Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost

On their website, Coco & Coir describe this product as:

Natural 100% peat free coir compost based on coir pith with added nutrients. Coco Bloom is the perfect potting compost, creating the ideal rooting and growing conditions for all plants growing in containers.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To read every article I’ve written about Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost, please click here.

Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

Online Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost is described as:

Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost 50ltr

The first carbon neutral, peat-free compost!

Peat-free multi-purpose compost with a balanced, mineral fertiliser.

> Peat Free
> Carbon Neutral

Ideal for:
> Sowing seed and cuttings
> Hanging baskets, tubs and containers
> Beds and borders
> Fruit and vegetable growing

Made naturally from:

COIR – A by-product from the coconut which has a low pH and has great water and nutrient holding capacity for the plants.

BARK – A by-product of timber production which helps keep the compost open to allow strong roots to develop.

FIBREGRO-N – A recycled wood fibre rather than virgin timber that reduces the weight of the product and releases nitrogen for healthy green leaves.

GREEN COMPOST – Made from recycled garden waste that has been composted, screened and tested to PAS100 standards.

AND just the right amount of plant food with added trace elements

Southern Trident, the manufacturers of Harmony Gardens are a Carbon Neutral Company and a Responsible Sourcing Scheme Accredited Member.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To see every article I’ve written about Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost, please click here.

Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost

On their website, Heart of Eden All-Purpose Natural Compost is described as:

All-Purpose Natural Compost is an environmentally friendly all-rounder product, suitable for indoor plants and outdoors in your garden. It can be used for sowing seeds, rooting cuttings and filling pots, hanging baskets and tubs. All-Purpose Natural Compost is based on premium quality ingredients, enriched with naturally occurring nutrients and balanced fertiliser levels to ensure healthy and vigorous plants at all stages of growth and under a variety of situations, for use all year round.

This product is free from peat, which is an increasingly rare natural resource. Peat bogs are an invaluable habitat for flora and fauna and an important store of carbon – destroying them to make garden compost contributes to battling climate change.

USES
Fertiliser to encourage healthy growth
Gives plants and seeds a great start when sowed
Allows flowers and vegetables to flourish and grow
AVAILABLE IN
50ltr pre-packed bags.

No additional fertiliser is needed.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To see every article I’ve written about Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost, please click here.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)

On their website, Melcourt describe this product as:

SylvaGrow® with added John Innes
• A unique blend of fine bark, woodfibre (by-products of sustainably managed British forests) and coir (from known, ethically-approved sources) plus sterilized loam and sand
• Contains balanced nutrients sufficient for the first 4 – 6 weeks of growth.
This growing medium is based on one widely used throughout the UK by professional growers and is suitable for a wide range of uses around the garden
• Contains no peat or green waste compost

Available in 15 and 50 litre packs

Product Description
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
RHS Endorsed
Suitable for vegans
Made in the UK from renewable resources
Available in 50L bags and 15L carry packs

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

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

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

On their website, Melcourt describe this product as:

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 known, ethically-approved sources).

Product Description
• 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
• RHS endorsed
• Soil Association approved
• suitable for a wide range of uses around the garden
• contains no peat
Made in the UK from renewable resources

Available in 15 and 50 litre packs

A NOTE ABOUT ORGANICS
If you wish to maintain the organic integrity of this product then you should only use fertilizers labelled as organic and preferably those approved by the Soil Association. However, non-organic fertilizers will also function very well. In both cases read the manufacturers’ advice carefully.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

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

Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium

Petersfield describe this product on their website as:
General seed and potting, close texture, excellent water retention, especially under protection.

While filling up the containers of compost for my Compost Trial, we paused to take a picture of each of the composts. This is Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) pictured straight from the bag on the 13th March 2022.

To see every article I’ve written about Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium, please click here.

Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’

All of these packs of Thompson & Morgan Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds were purchased from my local garden centre for my Compost Trial.

For this particular Compost Trial, I opted to sow seeds of a Dwarf Broad Bean called ‘Robin Hood’.  These Thompson & Morgan seeds were purchased from my local garden centre on the day my Compost Trial started.

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.

These Thompson & Morgan Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds were purchased from my local garden centre for this Compost Trial.

Growing Broad Beans in Containers

I started this Compost Trial on the 13th March 2022, 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.

Seed Sowing Error

My husband helps me with my Compost Trials – he lifts all the compost bags and containers for me, which is so kind of him – I really appreciate all his help and assistance.  I remember accidentally dropping a couple of seeds on the ground when I was preparing to sow the seeds for this Compost Trial.  I left the seeds on the ground and replaced them with fresh seeds from the pack.  I hadn’t realised at the time, but in hindsight we think my husband saw a seed on the floor (next to one of my Trial containers) and instinctively sowed the seed in the Trial container (after the container’s six allocated seeds had already been sown) – which is how I ended up with seven Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants in one container.  I first became aware that I had seven Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedlings when I was recording the germination rates of each compost type.

Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers

Back in November 2020, Haxnicks kindly sent me their Bamboo Plant Markers to use for my Trials.  I’ve used the same Haxnicks Bamboo Markers for this Compost Trial, as I used for my previous Compost Trials.  Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers are easy to write on and my text was still clearly visible at the end of this Trial.

Germination Rates

A Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedling grown in Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost, pictured as it emerged on the 14th April 2022.

The first Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds to germinate emerged on the 14th April 2022.  The first seeds to germinate were grown in these composts:

  • Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost)
  • SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)
  • SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
A Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedling emerging from a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost, on the 17th April 2022.
This chart shows the germination rate for all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans. There should have been only six broad bean seeds sown in each container of compost, but I made a mistake and accidentally sowed seven beans in one pot of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Compost. This was an error. Six seeds were sown in all other containers during this Compost Trial, so the maximum number of seeds that could germinate in the other composts was six.
This chart shows the germination percentages for each of the composts in this Compost Trial.
This Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seedling was grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost for my Compost Trial. Pictured on the 18th April 2022.

Weather Conditions

The weather was dry and sunny in March 2022, when I started this Compost Trial.  We enjoyed a lovely period of bright sunshine and warm temperatures and then the weather changed.  We had a crazy day of weather on the 31st March 2022, when it snowed for a time, followed by sleet, and then hail stones!  It snowed again on the 1st April 2022 and the 2nd April 2022.  The containers and composts that featured in this Compost Trial were not under snow for long as it soon melted.

For the remainder of April, and the month of May we experienced just a couple of short, light rain showers.  There was a short period of wet, rainy weather whilst the broad bean plants were in flower.  This was bad timing for my Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants as the overcast weather and rain meant that fewer bees were active and the broad bean flowers were less likely to be fertilised.

I took this picture of one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants in bloom. This plant was grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost for my Compost Trial. Pictured on the 4th June 2022.

There was no more rain for the remainder of this Compost Trial, as the drought and high temperatures persisted.

Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ Plants

Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

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Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)

These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 4th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.
These Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were grown in a container of Melcourt SylvaGrow® With Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) for my Compost Trial 2022. This photograph was taken on the 30th June 2022.

Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ Plants’ Heights

This chart shows the maximum height attained for the broad bean plants grown in the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans. The trial plant, Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ is described as growing 30-40cm (12-16 inches) tall. This chart shows the effect that compost has on the eventual height of Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ with plants ranging from 24cm (Melcourt SylvaGrow Organic) to 87cm (Heart of Eden All-Purpose Compost) tall.

Watering the Broad Bean Plants

The containers of Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial were evaluated individually and watered as necessary.  Due to the drought and high temperatures this summer, most of the plants needed watering at the same time.  No composts that stood out for needing significantly more or less watering.

Fertilising the Broad Bean Plants

During this Compost Trial, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in this compost did not receive any fertiliser:

  • Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost

The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown in all the other trialled composts received fertiliser: these plants received the same amount of fertiliser, administered at the same time.  To clarify, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in these composts all received fertiliser during my 2022 Compost Trial:

  • Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)
  • Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost)

PlantGrow Natural Fertiliser Liquid (NB: this is an organic, vegan product) was administered to the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants on the following dates:

  • 8th May 2022
  • 22nd May 2022
  • 3rd June 2022

PlantGrow Natural Super Tomato Liquid (NB: this is an organic, vegan product) was administered to the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants on the following dates:

  • 11th June 2022

EcoGro Booster (NB: this is an organic, vegan product) was administered to the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants on the following dates:

  • 28th June 2022
  • 5th July 2022
  • 12th July 2022

NB: There were delays in applying fertiliser and weekly doses of fertiliser were not always possible for various reasons, including the weather and water supply.

Wildlife

Bob the Blackbird foraging around the broad bean plants grown for my Compost Trial.

A male Blackbird (known as Bob the Blackbird) was regularly observed foraging for slugs, snails, and worms around the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  A female Blackbird (known as Kate) was also seen hunting for food.  Sparrows, Blue Tits, Robins, and Dunnocks were also observed around the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.

Bees

During this Compost Trial, I observed far fewer bees pollinating the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ flowers than any other time I’ve grown broad beans.  I can only attribute the absence of bees to the fact that the weather changed markedly for a short period at the time that these Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants were flowering: the weather was overcast and rainy – so there were fewer bees active than usual.

I spotted this bee pollinating the flowers on this Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plant (grown in a container of Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost) on the 4th June 2022.

I don’t use any insecticides or pesticides in my garden.  Increased use of pesticides and insecticides is harming our bees, butterflies, and other insects.  Please be kind to wildlife: leave aphids for Blue Tits and ladybirds to devour.  Caterpillars will be snapped up by birds and are also a favourite food of hedgehogs;

Insects

I thought I had spotted a mighty and powerful crab spider who had successfully caught this Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) on one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown for my 2022 Compost Trial; however my friend, Acid John on Twitter told me that in fact this is a picture of a cricket shedding its skin. Pictured on the 9th July 2022.

I don’t use any pesticides or insecticides in my garden.  No steps were taken to protect any of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial from any pests or diseases.

Slugs and Snails

I took this photo of slugs on my Compost Trial containers on the 16th May 2022. When I find slugs and snails I leave them alone.

I don’t use any slug deterrents during my Compost Trials.  If I see a slug or snail, I may stop and take a picture, but I leave mollusks where they are.  Slugs and snails were prevalent throughout this Compost Trial.  No deterrents were used to dissuade slugs and snails from consuming the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.

On the 16th May 2022, I took this picture of a slug that was feasting upon Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown for my Compost Trial.
On the 16th May 2022, I took this picture of a slug and woodlouse in one of my containers of Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown for my Compost Trial.
Here’s a slug pictured feasting upon one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that was raised for my Compost Trial. I took this picture on the 20th May 2022.
Here’s a slug pictured in one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants raised in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium. I took this picture on the 7th June 2022.
Slugs and snails often hide under the containers in the daytime and come out at night or after rain (or watering).
Here are some more slugs pictured on one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants raised in a container of Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium. I took this picture on the 7th June 2022.

Black Bean Aphid

On the 21st May 2022, I took this picture of a small colony of Black Bean Aphids on one of the plants that was grown for my Compost Trial.

Black Bean Aphid was found on a number of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were grown for this Compost Trial.  This was not a problem for the plants, as the Black Bean Aphids were soon predated on by ladybirds, hoverfly larvae, dragonflies, beetles, and birds.

On the 6th July 2022, I took this picture of a small colony of Black Bean Aphids on one of the plants that was grown for my Compost Trial.

2022 Compost Trial Results

Harvesting the Broad Beans

The Broad Beans that were grown for this Compost Trial were harvested on the following dates:

  • 3rd July 2022
  • 8th July 2022
  • 20th July 2022

Total Weight of Bean Pods Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total weight of broad beans harvested from the broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Total Number of Broad Beans Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total number of broad beans harvested from the broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Total Weight of Broad Bean Pods Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total weight (in grams) of broad bean pods harvested from the broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Average Weight of Broad Beans Pods Harvested per Plant

This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of broad bean pods harvested per plant for each of the composts in my Compost Trial.
This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of broad bean pods harvested per plant for all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Total Number of Broad Bean Pods Harvested per Trialled Compost

This chart shows the total number of broad bean pods harvested from the broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants grown in all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Average Number of Bean Pods Harvested per Plant

This chart shows the average number of broad bean pods harvested per plant for each of the composts in my Compost Trial.
This chart shows the average number of broad bean pods harvested per plant for all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Average Number of Broad Beans Produced per Plant

This chart shows the average number of broad beans harvested per plant for each of the composts in my Compost Trial.
This chart shows the average number of broad beans harvested per plant for all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

Average Weight of Shelled Broad Beans Produced per Plant

This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of broad beans harvested per plant for each of the composts in my Compost Trial.
This chart shows the average weight (in grams) of broad beans harvested per plant for all of the composts that featured in my 2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans.

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

This table shows the relative yield (in average weight of broad bean pods, per plant) compared to that of the top-performing compost.
This table shows the relative yield (in average number of broad bean pods, per plant) compared to that of the top-performing compost.
This table shows the relative yield (in average number of bean pods, per plant) compared to that of the top-performing compost.
This table shows the relative yield (in average weight of bean pods, per plant) compared to that of the top-performing compost.

Final Compost Ranking: Harvest per Plant


Rank

Compost Type

Conclusions

1

Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

Hooray for the winner of this Compost Trial: Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)!
During this Compost Trial, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in containers of Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) produced the joint largest number of broad bean pods per trialled compost, the largest number of broad beans, and the heaviest harvest of broad bean pods and broad beans!  The broad bean plants grown in Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) produced the largest average number of broad beans per plant, during this Compost Trial.  The only area where Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost did not score top marks was for germination: 61% of the broad bean seeds sown in this compost germinated.

2

Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost)

In second place, Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) proved itself to be a good quality compost.  The broad bean seeds sown in Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) achieved 100% germination.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in this compost produced the joint total largest number of broad bean pods and the second highest number of broad beans.  Petersfield Supreme Growing Medium just scraped into second place for the average number of broad beans harvested per plant.  The plants grown in this compost produced the third heaviest harvest of broad bean pods and broad beans.

3

Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

In third place, Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) was just a smidgen behind Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium when it came to the average number of broad beans harvested per plant.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost produced the second heaviest harvest of broad bean pods and broad beans; as well as the third greatest number of broad beans.  The broad bean seeds that were sown in Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost achieved 83% germination.  Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost was the top performing organic compost, during this Compost Trial.

4

Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

In fourth place, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants raised in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) produced the third heaviest average harvest of broad bean pods per plant, the fourth heaviest harvest of broad bean pods, the joint fourth largest average harvest of bean pods, the fourth largest average harvest of broad beans per plant, and the fifth largest and fifth heaviest harvest of broad beans.  The broad bean seeds sown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost achieved a germination rate of 67%.  Of the organic composts in this Compost Trial, Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic Compost came in second place during this Trial.

5

Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

In fifth place, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) produced the joint fourth largest average harvest of broad bean pods per plant and the fifth largest average harvest of broad beans per plant.  The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost (Peat-Free Compost) received no additional fertiliser during this Compost Trial – they were the only plants that did not receive any supplementary fertiliser, during this Trial.  The broad bean seeds that were sown in containers of Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost achieved a germination rate of 78%.

6

Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)

In sixth place, The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) produced the fourth greatest total number of broad beans, the fourth largest total weight of broad bean pods harvested per trialled compost, and the fifth heaviest average harvest of broad bean pods harvested per plant. The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ seeds that were sown in Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) achieved 100% germination!

7

Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost)

In seventh place, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) produced the sixth largest total weight of broad bean pods harvested per trialled compost, and the seventh largest number of broad beans harvested per trialled compost during this Compost Trial.  Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost produced the seventh largest harvest of broad bean pods by weight, and the seventh largest average pod weight per plant, and the seventh largest average number of broad bean pods harvested per plant, the seventh largest average number of broad beans harvested per plant, as well as the seventh largest number of broad bean pods harvested per trialled compost.  The broad bean seeds that were sown in containers of Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost achieved a germination rate of 78%.

8

Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)

In eighth place, the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that were raised in Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) produced the eighth largest total weight of broad bean pods harvested during this Compost Trial, and the eighth largest total number of broad beans produced per trialled compost, during this Compost Trial.  The broad bean seeds that were sown in Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost) produced the eighth largest average harvest of broad bean pods by weight (per plant), and the eighth largest average harvest of broad beans per plant, during this Compost Trial.  The broad bean seeds that were sown in containers of Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes achieved a germination rate of 78%.

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’ seeds that were sown in both Petersfield Peat Free Supreme Growing Medium (Peat-Free Compost) and Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost) achieved 100% germination.
  • The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that produced the heaviest harvest of both broad bean pods and broad beans during this Compost Trial were grown in Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost).
  • The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that produced the largest number of broad bean pods and broad beans during this Compost Trial were grown in Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost).
  • The Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that produced the largest average number of broad bean pods and broad beans harvested per plant during this Compost Trial were grown in Coco & Coir Coco Bloom All Purpose Compost (Peat-Free Compost)
  • The Top-performing organic compost was Bathgate Horticulture Peat Free Champions Blend Compost (Peat-Free, Organic Compost).
  • Melcourt SylvaGrow® Organic (Peat-Free, Organic Compost) took second place out of the organic composts in this Compost Trial.
  • The top-performing vegan compost during this Compost Trial was Melcourt SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes (Peat-Free, Vegan Compost)

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.

Fruit Trials

To see all of my Fruit 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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