Vital Earth unveils peat-free compost range for growers

Peat-free compost manufacturer Vital Earth has launched a range of products for the commercial grower market.

The new container nursery stock and bedding plant media made from recycled garden waste target what the company perceives as a growing demand for peat-free.

Vital Earth managing director Steve Harper said: "With more local authorities and commercial retailers specifying peat-free stock, this is the right time for us to enter the market. Extensive nursery trials have proven that top-quality container nursery stock can be grown peat-free. What is more, infestation with liverwort, moss and other weeds can be greatly reduced."

Both products are available with and without controlled-release fertiliser. Blue Ribbon Plants is one of the few growers that offer a range of plants grown in peat-free and sales manager Philip Sanders said demand had been growing.

He added: "The response to it is growing month-by-month because we have stuck to it where most people have dropped off doing it. We have one or two strong independents and a couple of smaller groups that are talking to us about growing in peat-free for next year.

"This is quite a major statement because the smaller groups don't usually commit themselves in advance so I think our percentage of peat-free sales could jump quite a lot next year."

Sanders confirmed that demand was mainly led by local authorities that specifically ask landscapers to use plants grown peat-free. He said there was still very little evidence of garden centres pushing plants that were grown peat-free.

Sanders added: "We have been developing our own labels anyway, which will say peat-free on. They will be for summer bedding."

Vital Earth has launched two varieties of green roof media - Sedum Roof and Meadow Roof. Both mixes are based on especially matured and graded green compost to provide optimal stability and minimal leaching of organic matter and nutrients.

They also feature carefully selected and graded clay aggregate recycled from virgin brick and tile. Sedum Medium uses 5-14mm grade and Meadow Medium uses 2-5mm grade.

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