Environmental & sustainability


Peat-free growing?

There has been much in the press over the last few weeks focusing on peat use in gardening. Peat use in horticulture was due to be completely phased out by 2020 – but it is still widely used. This blog looks at the issues behind the ongoing debate.


New year, old boots…..

Celebrate the New Year with a resolution to carry out at least one greener or more sustainable gardening activity every month in 2020. Ever wondered what to do with your old wellington boots? A recent comment in the PlantNetwork newsletter resulted in this wonderful list from a PlantNetwork member to kick-start the ‘Greener Gardening 2020’ challenge.


What is Environmental Sustainability?

We use the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘sustainability’, along with ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and many others, to indicate that a product or service is better for the environment, compared to an unsustainable equivalent. Sustainability is, however, much more complicated than this and very few ‘sustainable solutions’ are truly sustainable. Read more.


SoilBioLab Compost Tea Trial Report

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.


Safeguarding our soils: A strategy for England

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