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2015-07-17

Organic and Peat are no Contradiction in Terms

Alternative substrates must be precisely aligned to plants

  When it comes to the topic of organic production, opinions differ. “How sensible is it to have organic products if the individual ingredients require very long transportation routes to get to the consumers,” asks Hans-Jürgen Luck, authorised signatory of the HAWITA Group. The consumer expects a sustainable and environmentally-conscious production method as well as short transportation routes. Thus HAWITA in Germany has both own peat and clay deposits and a bark humus production. The substrates are produced and packaged at the location where the raw materials are found, superfluous intermediate transportation is avoided. The manufacturer delivers to the customers directly from the production location. Other aggregates such as green-waste compost, wood fibres and coconut have also been selected and used in accordance with sustainability principles.

According to Luck, the use of a significantly reduced share of peat in an organic product is sensible when the purpose is to limit the high pH-values or salinity content of other aggregates and to produce a substrate mixture for particular application purposes. “With heath-land plants, the use of peat is virtually irreplaceable. And it also is an important aggregate for plant propagations,” Luck reminds. 

Peat is only harvested on marsh areas that have already been drained, such as those that are used, for instance, for agriculture. The peat industry then subsequently renaturates the surfaces. Thus, in Germany, a number of formerly dry marsh areas were subsequently again turned into nature conservation areas. The result was more valuable landscapes for nature protection than prior to the peat extraction. Therefore, organic and peat is not a contradiction in terms, provided this involves responsible dealings with the resource.

Also of importance for organic horticulture is that the substrate has been adjusted for the respective intended application. Therefore, operating under the trade name of Lignostrat, the organic line of HAWITA, for instance,  offers an organic herbal soil, an organic tomato and vegetable soil, an organic substrate for pressed pots, an organic soil for perennials and bark growing media. A supplement to the Hawita organic product line is found in the plant boosters such as Trichoderma or compounds that promote the root penetration and vitality, which can be mixed in upon request.

Photo Copyright Willi Rolfes

 

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