Growers' supply fears hinder peat-free move

Lack of confidence in peat free alternatives slow chances of change over

Growers are hesitant about moving to peat-free compost because of a lack of confidence in suppliers’ products. Gloucester-based Hoo House Nurseries had to move supplier twice in 2005 because it was dissatisfied with the quality of peat-free compost. Owner Julie Richie said: “Everyone is saying we must look towards using peat-free but it is a new concept and suppliers are still finding their way with it.” Owner Bridget Evans of Malvern-based Caves Folly Nursery believes that most peat-free suppliers provide only standard mixes, which do not suit many growers. She said: “Some growers require specialist mixes but most don’t cater for this.” Richie added: “I know many growers won’t convert until the product is more established.” Malvern-based nurseryman Chris Pattison has decided not to use peat-free compost because he believes that suppliers are still experimenting with different mixes. He added: “Some growers may require a mix that has more bark in it but at present only a standard mix is being offered.” Evans and Richie now use Petersfield Growing Mediums, which does offer specialist mixes. Area sales manager Christopher Husband said: “As far as I’m aware we’re the only supplier to offer specific mixes of peat-free compost.”

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