Wyevale sustainability director Dr Alan Knight said: Next year there will be a lot more interest in peat. Someone will find the peat-free magic ingredient sooner or later. Peat-free is getting better. It’s not about quality - it’s about quantity. The industry is structured to supply peat from near the bogs. The industry nears to establish itself near where the new materials are.
On commercial use, Knight added: We need to encourage all our growers to experiment with peat-free. I blame the Greens in the early 1990s for peat-free’s failure so far. They suggested too big a change too quickly. We need more managed change.
Wyevale is proposing reducing the proportion of peat-based growing media to only 10 per cent of the entire volume sold by 2009. But Knight added that this was not a promise.
On pesticides, Knight said: We still sell them and growers still use them. But proportions are falling. It’s an issue but it’s not in Plan Apple because the trend is happening already.
My role is to prompt debate that’s not happening.
Knight said this was why he had targeted patio heaters and plant pots. GIMA director Neil Gow attacked Wyevale’s banning of patio heater sales this Easter in Garden Retail July/August as being anti-industry. But Knight said the national mood was behind Wyevale’s move and could be behind peat in 2009.