There is a strong trend to abandon peat based composts, but these still give the most consistent results. Independent trials have consistently shown that peat based composts give better germination, stronger growth and higher yields than 'reduced peat' or 'peat free' composts. The use of a high quality seed compost is particulaly important with the more difficult cultivars and under less that optimal growing conditions. The choice of potting compost is perhaps somewhat less critical, but if growing contions are less than ideal, the plants will certainly benefit from being given the best quality compost.
If environmental concerns restrict your options, select composts made using peat from the Baltic States; the vast reserves in this area ensures minimal environmental impact, and the peat is of very high quality. UK peat extracted from severely depleted resources is less consistent and poses more environmental concerns.
Businesses supplying commercial growers are a lot thinner on the ground than they used to be, but if you can find one selling PH (Premium Horticulture or Klasmann Deilmann composts, these are among the best available.
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