This test is to compare the progress of seeds/seedlings sown in:

  • Value seed compost – cheap stuff!
  • John Innes seed compost
  • Jiffy peat pellets – soaked in “First Feed”
  • Root-it sponges – soaked in “First Feed”

No extra vermiculite or perlite has been added.

Sown Sunday 17th February 2013 – Day 1.

Test Two

One seed of each variety was sown in the four different media. Spaces were left between the cells for air circulation and better light for the seedlings.

The seed composts already contain nutrients but pellets and sponges were pre-soaked in “First Feed” – a nutrient for seedlings

The aim of the test is to compare the results over the next few weeks and show that the more we spend, the better results we get – or do we…?

One Week Later… Sunday 24th February


The left column is the value (less expensive) seed compost and it has produced the worse results so far – only one seedling has fully emerged.

The second column is the John Innes seed compost and as you can tell by the slightly bigger size of the seedlings, these were the first to germinate.

The third column has the Jiffy peat pellets and they are doing well.

The fourth column contains the Root-it sponges and are making the same progress as the pellets.

The top row contains the variety Moneymaker, which is the slowest variety to germinate – but they are all coming through except for the value compost.


Don’t use the cheapest seed compost available, otherwise you will get the poorest results and a low germination rate.

Very impressed with the John Innes but I think that the Root-it sponges will come in to their own, and show what they are made of, in two or three weeks time!

Two weeks after sowing … Sunday 3rd March

Test Two Week 3

All doing well …

The sponges need watering more often because of the amount of air space. I think it would be a good idea to stand a tray of sponges in a very shallow tray of water/nutrient feed – one centimetre or slightly less would do it.

Three Weeks After Sowing … Sunday 10th March

Test Two W4

The John Innes (second column) and jiffy pellets (third column) have shown the best progress. The top right seed in the sponge was a poor seed and very slow to germinate.

However, it seems that to get the best from the sponges, they need to be watered more often from below and kept in a tray of water/nutrient mixture of just under a centimetre.

Four Weeks After Sowing … Sunday 17th March


As mentioned above, the sponges suffered from not being watered from below.

The Jiffy peat pellets have performed very well closely followed by the John Innes.

I should do another test between the pellets and the sponges – both watered from below. This will give the sponges the opportunity to show what they can do!

This test is now over and seedlings will be transplanted into their own pots.