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UK: Growing 100 percent peat free

Being peat free has been one of the highest priorities for Allwoods, but it has taken them much longer than they thought it would.

The company first started moving to peat free composts over 10 years ago when they changed growing their young plug plants, they trialed various plug products and found the coir plug to be the best choice. "The coir plugs are ideal for us as they are very easy to handle which being a mail order company is essential, the plants root and grow really well in them and unlike some glue plugs that if left to dry out too much get almost impossible to re-soak - the coir ones don't."

However, they needed to find a product that would also suit their mother stock.

"So we started trialing various different compost and with various degrees of success and failures - we had to be careful though, because with many of our varieties we are the only nursery that stock and grow them, so if we lost the mother stock we would be in big trouble!"

But they couldn't find a completely peat free compost that their plants liked to be in... until recently. Over the years compost manufacturers have had huge demands put on them to be peat free and finally Allwoods have found one that their plants like to grow and perform well in.

"Then came the arduous task of re-potting ALL our mother stock plants - over 9,000 pots, truthfully I lost count! Not only does that take time but also a lot of compost, several pallet loads!"

But finally this job has been done and Allwoods can now, finally and very proudly announce they are peat free - all their plants are grown peat free.

"However a word of caution before you go changing things to grow in peat free, changes have to be made, watering habits have to be altered, feeding has to be increased to supply the plants the nutrients they need that they would have normally gotten from peat. Also what compost works for one variety doesn't work for all necessarily - you have to trial it to the crop your growing, as different plants require different things. So just because we found this product to be perfect for us, other people may not be so happy with it - like all things gardening, what works for one doesn't always work for all."

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