35 people representing 28 different gardens and organisations attended the 2018 PlantNetwork Annual Conference which was hosted at Royal Botanic Garden Kew and discussed Back to basics – soil and water management, plant nutrition and plant health. With discussion and consideration of issues, solutions and new research on:
- sustainable water management, water hygiene and management of water in the designed landscape.
- soil health, manmade soils, growing media.
- plant health relating to soil and water, including water-borne diseases and alleviating plant stress.
The conference included tours of Kew and opportunities for some behind the scenes visits.
PlantNetwork’s 22nd AGM was held at 14.00 on Thursday 19th April.
Soil is a fundamental and essentially non-renewable natural resource, providing the essential link between the components that make up our environment. Soils vary hugely from region to region and even from field to field. They all perform a number of valuable functions or ecosystem services for society including:
- nutrient cycling
- water regulation
- carbon storage
- support for biodiversity and wildlife
- providing a platform for food and fibre production and infrastructure
SoilBioLab Compost Tea Trial Report: Assessing the effect of brewing time and added microbial foods on the quality of aerated compost tea. Andrea Araujo, Jennifer Ings and Simon Parfey.
Compost tea (CT) is a water based microbiological inoculant containing high levels of bacteria and fungi produced from compost. This is applied to crops improve soil and plant health and increase plant growth. This investigation aimed to identify the optimum conditions to produce a CT containing the highest levels of active microbial biomass. By varying the components of the CT mix and length of time that it was brewed, an ideal mix of compost, molasses and humic acid with a brew time of 24 hours was identified as providing the highest overall active and total microbial biomass.