Meeting public demand

Exhibitors unveil wide range of peat alternatives at Glee

Growers and compost suppliers are stepping up usage of peat replacement products to meet both the demand of garden centre customers and the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan. BAP proposes a 40 per cent reduction in peat use by 2005 and a 90 per cent reduction by 2010. A range of peat replacements, particularly for non-commercial users, proliferated at the show. Independent nursery collective Nomad claimed at Glee to be leading the UK’s growers in using green waste compost to reduce peat within growing media, with Gloucester nursery RA Meredith & Son (Nurseries) producing a million plants using a 50:50 waste/peat formula this year. Meredith managing director Martin Greaves commented: “It is cost-effective and produces more-than-adequate plants.” Meanwhile, County Tyrone-based growing media and fertiliser producer Westland Horticulture launched the first of a range of peat-free products in partnership with the Eden Project. Peat-free multi-purpose compost with added John Innes was promoted as having the same performance characteristics as peat-based composts. Westland head of marketing Gillian McLean said Westland’s collaboration with Eden “aims to educate the public about the benefits of peat-free products”. McLean added: “Our research has shown many more gardeners are demanding peat-free compost, compared with peat-based.” Agricultural supplier Anglo-Eastern, of Downham Market, launched hemp-based Orgabiose. It is produced in the Champagne region of France and has been awarded a European eco-label for its environmental soundness.

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