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October 2013

Growing Media – The Future: An Open Discussion

West Sussex Nursery Stock Discussion Group (WSNSDG) launched its 2013/14 autumn and winter programme last Thursday evening (17 October) when it co-ordinated a discussion on the use of growing media within the nursery stock industry. The group’s evening meetings take place at The Cricketers at Duncton.

The wide ranging discussion included contributions from Will George (Prenplants) and Charles Carr (Lowaters Nurseries) who described their experiences of moving from peat based growing media to now being peat–free. The benefits they described included using lower levels of controlled released fertilisers, moss and liverwort reduction and in the case of Prenplants improved turn-out.

John Summers, Fargro’s growing media advisor shared his wealth of experience and described how all European ‘potting soil’ is RHP accredited. This ensures that all additives are physically and chemically stable. Commenting afterwards Summers explained, "All Tref growing media supplied to the UK market through Fargro is RHP accredited".

Michael Clarricoats (Bulrush) answered questions on peat harvesting techniques and the systems in place to limit the inclusion of weed seed within the peat harvest. Susie Holmes an independent growing media and nutrition consultant recognised that it is possible to grow high quality plants peat free and suggested that the industry as a whole is committed to using peat reduced growing media which in itself was driving up standards.

WSNSDG Chair Paul Dyer of New Place Nurseries summed up mood of the meeting when he commented "We wanted to put the discussion back into our meetings and with tonight’s turn out from so many of our leading nursery stock producers here in West Sussex and beyond, I think we achieved our objective. It’s good to talk and all of our growers did just that.".