Martin Kyte is the organic field trials manager for the world’s sixth largest seed company, Rijk Zwaan. For the last three years he has been growing on a demonstration plot at Huntstile Organic Farm in Somerset to showcase the company’s organic products to the UK.
As any organic grower would, he endeavoured to find a peat free growing medium that wouldn’t compromise on results. Martin initially grew in an organic peat-based medium and began to experiment with a range of coir products. He started trialling with Soil Association approved GroChar Seed Compost from leading biochar company, Carbon Gold in 2011.
Halfway through his trials, Martin was so impressed with his young plants that he stopped using peat altogether. He now propagates all of his vegetables, which include tomatoes, peppers, ‘Goliath’ leeks, ‘Mangler’ cucumber and ‘Angela’ aubergine, in pots and modules filled with Carbon Gold’s biochar-based Seed Compost.
Over the last three years, Rijk Zwaan and Tuckers Seeds have held a series of open days at Huntstile Farm, inviting organic growers from across the UK to learn about their organic seeds and growing methods. And judging by visitor reactions to Martin’s impressive vegetable garden, he’s doing more than something right! The vivid red, Somerset soil is criss-crossed with astounding brassicas and succulent lettuce. Colossal cauliflowers greet you at every turn, whilst cabbages, carrots and kale jostle for position. The impressive poly-tunnel is bursting with weighty tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines.
An enviable outcome that Martin puts down to the perfect combination of well-bred seeds and a fantastic growing medium. Carbon Gold’s unique mix of biochar plus seaweed, wormcasts and mycorrhizal fungi is the ideal blend for raising Rijk Zwaan’s organic seeds. The addition of biochar helps improves soil structure, encourages beneficial fungi and bacteria and enhances nutrient retention. Its water retaining properties mean that irrigation can be also reduced. Mycorrhizal fungi and wormcasts help to activate the biochar and the seaweed provides valuable trace elements and promotes vigour and disease resistance. Mycorrhizal fungi also maximises the uptake of nutrients by plant root systems and wormcasts provide viable Actinomycetes soil bacteria which further boost nutrient availability. Carbon Gold’s range of GroChar organic products are used by professional growers, allotmenteers and home gardeners alike, because they deliver superb results with no chemical additives.