Not so long ago Veolia would occasionally give away loads of compost made from the contents of food waste and garden waste bins. The stuff was quite smelly and it was usually still warm from the fast composting system they used. I used it mainly for mulching trees and shrubs.
The Veolia source of giveaways eventually dried up and the company has now launched a range of products that they sell online under the name Pro-Grow (see: https://www.pro-grow.com/).
I recently purchased a load of one product sold as "soil conditioner" . It comes in 30 litre bags and I can tell you that it is an improvement on the free stuff. It doesn't smell, it has been much better sieved to get big chunks of wood out and I have yet to find any of the bottle tops and small plastic toys that used to turn up in the free stuff. I am counting on this new stuff to make it easier to work my heavy clay soil and to improve yields.
Useful to know, thank you. I can’t believe that given what we know about the detrimental impacts of using peat-based compost, garden centres are still selling it. The wildlife trusts have again raised concerns about it today www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56598452
Thanks, Dick. Keep the good tips coming!
I see from the stockist-finder on the link you provided that the nearest to us seems to be Jewsons in Highgate. Is that where you got yours? Do you remember what they charged?
No. I bought a load on line for delivery. It shouldn't be more than £4 or £5 per bag.
Brilliant- thanks for this post! Peat-based compost is an absolute disgrace, and it is good to know that Veolia is putting the food bin collections to good use.
Once before (in 2009) I ordered a big load of spent mushroom compost as a means of improving the soil and that seemed to work OK. However, when, last week, I searched for a repeat delivery I ran into loads of complaints about the mushroom industry practice of still using peat as a basic ingredient (along with farmyard manure etc) on which to spread mushroom spores. It seems that the industry has not yet succeeded in finding satisfactory alternatives so buying their spent compost is now being discouraged. Of course, we gardeners are not the big consumers of this stuff. It mostly ends up on farmers' fields.
Remember before Covid they was growing Mushrooms from Coffee Grouts in old Underground buildings
According to TV report at time
Collecting Grouts and delivering mushrooms by push bikes
Horrified at the £17.40 delivery charge, I just went to Jewson's Highgate to buy some soil conditioner. It worked out at 5.50 per bag. Delivered, it's 3.30 + the delivery charge. So, from a cost point of view, only worth it if you want nine or more bags.
I'm afraid that the garden centre at Ally Pally still sells peat compost, pretty appalling. However the Sunshine Garden Centre up at Bounds green [N11 2EL, 184 bus] does various peat free composts, and is a a very friendly and helpful place. And they deliver.