GEESTE, Germany: What will the growing media of the future be made of? In view of the ongoing debate on the use of raw peat materials in commercial horticulture, Klasmann-Deilmann is paying increasing attention to the question of future-proof substrates. “If we want growers worldwide to be able to produce without restriction, it comes down to a simple message,” says Dr Norbert Siebels, managing director at Klasmann-Deilmann: “We don’t want to do without peat, because we can’t do without peat.”
Modern commercial horticulture demands well-developed, tried-and-tested and highly reliable substrates for trouble-free cultivation. “We are convinced that, both now and in the future, only a peat-based growing medium can meet these requirements,” Siebels comments. Peat is a substrate constituent which has the full range of physical, chemical and biological properties needed by plant producers, and which is available long term in the necessary quantities. “There is still no other substrate constituent that meets these demands,” adds Siebels. “At the same time, however, the proportion of alternative organic ingredients for growing media is set to increase.” In many substrate blends, wood fibre, green-waste compost and coco pith are horticulturally valuable and their use is well-established. Being renewable resources, they also help to conserve peatlands and contribute to an improved carbon footprint for these growing media.
In the light of this, Klasmann-Deilmann is both securing its long-term peat supplies while also applying its expertise as substrate producers to manufacture wood fibre and green-waste compost using its own facilities. This will mean that these sought-after substrate constituents are always available in the required quality.
“This continuously opens doors for new ways of further enhancing our substrates,” Siebels explains. “Our Innovation Management team is systematically and consistently working to redraw the boundaries of what is possible and horticulturally beneficial.” As well as raw materials certified to R.H.P., PEFC or RAL standards, Klasmann-Deilmann is also focusing on in-house solutions for fertiliser formulations, wetting agents and additives.
“In this way, step by step, the substrates of the future are taking shape: effective, reliable and sustainable. What makes the difference is the selection, extraction and processing of the raw material, and having just the right recipes. Future growing media must not only satisfy all the requirements of modern nurseries, but also sustainability criteria. At Klasmann-Deilmann, their development is well under way.”