Peat compost has been sold in garden centres and used in glasshouses since the 1960s. It’s favoured due to its ability to improve soil structure, retain water and allow air circulation. The extraction of peat for horticulture has lead to the extensive degradation of peatlands, vital carbon stores created over thousands of years. If we are to reach net zero in the horticulture sector, we must move away from using peat products.
Sustainable alternatives to peat exist but supplies are either expensive or not available in sufficient quantities. For some applications, peat can be replaced with a single sustainable growing medium. For many applications however, a blend of raw materials is necessary to meet production cost and product quality criteria.
Our goal is to rapidly accelerate the development of new, reliable, and high performing peat alternative growing media. ADAS Horticulture are the only laboratory currently offering a growing media analysis and design service.
Extensive research has identified three key physical properties as indicators of growing media performance:
ADAS developed a Standard Operating Procedure for measuring these indicators in growing media samples.
We can provide standard analysis of growing media raw material for AW, Db and AFP. This includes a client report.
In addition to standard analysis, we can also assess samples for Cation Exchange Capacity (bases that a medium can absorb per unit weight). Please not the minimum batch size is eight.
At ADAS, we host multi-option irrigation and nutrient delivery system trials. These can be modified to accommodate any plant type, from bedding through to young trees. Fine-tuning growing media mixes to meet with target growing system type (e.g. drip, overhead sprinkler, subsurface irrigation, CRF / liquid feeding nutrition and so on) will require live crop testing.
We can provide expert statistical design and analysis which will help you get the most from such tests.
We are experts at on-site large scale implementation of commercial trials and we will work closely with clients to best meet their needs.
We are open to new project work, industry workshop delivery or training to deploy our specialist growing media and crop system skills and knowledge. Please contact Jill England firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about any of our services.