As the 2013 growing season begins, with hopes for more sunshine and less rain then 2012, gardeners, allotment holders and professional growers alike will be planning and getting excited about buying and swapping seeds and trying out new varieties.
The key to giving your seeds the best start is to use a quality seed compost that provides the right environment for them to flourish – a fine texture that holds lots of moisture and allows good drainage is very important. A number of professional growers recommend using GroChar seed compost from Carbon Gold as a result of experiencing excellent germination rates.
This biochar-based compost is Soil Association-approved and peat free so perfect for those who want to reduce their environmental impact too.
Jez Taylor, Market Gardener at Daylesford Organic, comments, “I got fantastic germination rates using this biochar-based seed compost despite the difficult growing season last year, between 95-100% for a range of crops including lettuce, onions, beetroot, chard, spinach, tomatoes and peppers. I’ll definitely be using it again this year. To have such great results with lettuce was particularly pleasing as this can be a tricky crop for us. The buffer from drying out that the biochar provides also means that seedlings are less likely to endure drought stress and succumb to damping off or mildew, a particular advantage when using very small module or container sizes.”
Alys Fowler, gardening expert, writer and TV presenter, said, “I’m in love with the seed compost. It’s a very fine mix, light and with lots of air, so ideal for germination of trickier stuff. I found I got very strong, steady growth in the seedlings and they transplanted exceptionally well.”
Martin Kyte, Field Trials Manager at Rijk Zwaan, one of the largest fine vegetable seed companies globally, said, “As a world leading seed company we know how vital it is to use a compost that gives our organic seed what it needs for the best start in life. Buying seeds represents a significant investment for growers so they need to know that they are not just throwing money away by using a second-rate growing medium. The GroChar seed compost is top quality, easy to use, and has proven to deliver excellent germination rates. I have had particularly good results with our early leek varieties Matejko RZ and Goliath RZ. Brassicas were superb including the cauliflower varieties Dexter RZ and Chambord RZ. Lettuce also proved very successful sown in modules.”
Independent trials commissioned by Carbon Gold last year, with 19 professional horticulturalists across the UK, found that biochar not only improves germination rates, it also helps to boost root growth, reduces the need to water and results in stronger, healthier plants which are more resilient to disease and changing weather conditions.
Read the Carbon Gold 2012 trial highlights here