Green garden centre products - nature's little helpers

Manufacturers are responding to consumer demands for 'greener' products with alternatives for everything from pest control to fertilisers, says Matthew Appleby.

Environmentally friendly considerations given to new products are now a given and the wealth of products launched this year include many innovations.

The latest green products to hit the market include Bayer Garden's Natria, which is a range of fatty acid and ferric phosphate-based "natural" weedand pest-control products.

The range includes: Super Fast Weedkiller, made from palm oil fatty acids; Slug and Snail Control, made from ferric (iron) phosphate; Bug Control, made from oleic acid from palm oil; Ant & Insect Control, made from ground-up fossilised remains of tiny sea creatures called diatoms, whose cell walls contain silica; Compost Activator, from bacteria culture; and All Purpose Plant Food extract, from plant and natural composted materials.

Marketing head Steve Mead says Natria was aimed at kitchen gardeners, of whom 97 per cent surveyed said they were interested in active ingredients derived from nature.

"According to HTA research, 42 per cent of UK gardeners use no chemicals on their garden or allotment, and half would use products from natural sources," he adds.

He added that 97 per cent of respondents to a Bayer survey said they would be interested in pestand disease-control products wholly made from naturally occurring ingredients.

Westland has rebranded its Nutri range of reformulated plant foods, which contain natural plant extracts. Nutri Fruit & Vegetable Feed contains natural plant growth hormones that enhance the growth and development of flowers, fruits, roots and shoots. It also contains natural organic bio stimulants that actively stimulate root growth to develop a bigger and better root system to support strong and healthy plants.

Plant food Vitalize (£6.99 for 7kg), the new multi-purpose plant food from Vital Earth, the manufacturer of peat-free composts, is claimed to be the first fertiliser to be made from recycled green waste. It provides a slow-release nutrient base to feed plants, as well as soil. Vital Earth says it contains numerous trace elements that come from its green compost source, breaking down in use to create slow-release benefits.

At Glee, the green product award winner was H2UGO from The Outside Room, "a contemporary, versatile" pop-up rain barrel/water butt available in 100litre, 200litre and 300litre sizes that costs from £79.99. Shortlisted was Agrafeed 100 per cent vegetable organic fertiliser from Agralan and Eco Pot biodegradable processed bamboo pots from Erin Horticulture.

Judge Lloyd Taylor, gardening buyer at Wilkinsons, said of the winner: "The H2UGO rain barrel from The Outside Room really captured the judges' imagination. We all liked the eye-catching design, and its convenience for both retailing and taking home. We also felt that, with more than one rain-collection option, it would appeal to gardeners with a variety of watering needs."

Dalefoot Composts is a Lake District-based company which uses bracken and wool as alternatives to peat. Ericaceous compost was launched this year and is a double-strength wool compost. Dalefoot's compost costs £10.99 each or £294 for 50 bags including delivery and VAT.

Maingate announced its appointment as distributor for Nova-Flore, the French flower seed manufacturers, at Glee. The company leads the floral-meadow market in France and launched its garden centre range in the UK at the show, as well as its County Compact wheelbarrows. The boxed barrows are designed for self-assembly and are displayed inside garden centres rather than outside.

Carbon Gold GroChar Soil Improver (£9.99 for 1.1kg) was inspired by Amazonian Indians, who use charred plant matter to enrich infertile soils. It is made from British timber and combines biochar technology with mycorrhizal fungi, seaweed and worm casts to improve fertility and offset your carbon footprint. The launch of Carbon Gold's three Biochar-based garden products at Glee 2010 marks the culmination of a product development process that delivers new formulations and better prices, says the company's founder, Craig Sams. The Soil Association-approved GroChar Biochar soil improver is now available in 1kg cartons.

WHAT GARDENERS WANT
97% want products derived from nature
34% said they used no garden chemicals
26% interested in buying naturally based products to tackle slugs
22% interested in naturally based solutions to kill bugs
20% interested in using an organic fertiliser


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