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  1. Vitax Irish peat

    I did manage to find the article in full for you all to read. Will peat use be taxed or banned? 11 January 2018, by Matthew Appleby, Be the first to comment The Government has made strong statements on peat reduction in its new 25-year environment plan, published in January. After years of Government silence on peat use, Defra secretary of state Michael Gove has decided to make a stance by threatening "further measures" should moves to peat alternatives not accelerate. A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment states: "In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. If by 2020 we have not seen sufficient movement to peat alternatives, we will look at introducing further measures." Growing Media Association (GMA) chair Steve Harper says those further measures could be financial penalties or legislation, adding: "There is potential for taxation or an actual ban." He says the industry must now step up and show that with its Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media it can help users differentiate between more and less responsibly sourced material. "It will enable users of the scheme to source materials more responsibly, which we hope will help to improve the sustainability of this part of their businesses. We're still working with making the Responsible Sourcing Scheme auditable over the next few months." Defra says it will also continue to jointly fund research with the industry to overcome the barriers to peat replacement in commercial horticulture to report in 2020, and will continue to support the industry as it puts the Responsible Sourcing Scheme into practice. Harper says: We've raised [£30,000] funds from businesses and organisations [including the HTA, GMA, Defra, Bord na Móna, Erin, Scotts] for it and I still believe once it is up and running ... it is the best way to go forward rather than a ban." The industry achieved the Government target to reduce the use of growing media and soil improvers by 40% by 2005. But it missed an "unrealistic" target of 90% reduction by 2010 and peat reduction has moved forward slowly in recent years as the topic has become less heated, costs issues have come more into play and green-waste alternatives have come under fire for being unreliable. In 2010, the GMA said it "welcomes the new proposed Government target for amateur growing-media products to be peat-free by 2020. While a very challenging target, the industry believes, with the right support from Government, it can be achieved." The GMA added that the Government was right to give commercial growers more leeway because of quality and price issues for commercial users "in a highly competitive international market". The figures show progress slowed after 2010, however. Retail peat use in 2014 was 1,391,865cu m, up from 1,267,522cu m in 2013. Professional peat used was 717,992cu m in 2014, up from 695,239cu m in 2013. Overall retail use rose from 3,592,202cu m to 3,823,439cu m. Overall professional use increased from 1,037,336cu m to 1,101,807cu m. Alternatives use rose too as the market grew. Slow progress Friends of the Earth senior nature campaigner Paul de Zylva is critical of the slow progress. "The long-awaited environment plan is full of ambition but short on detail and action," he says. "Ministers say they recognise the importance of our peatland for wildlife, climate action and holding back flood waters, but they have wasted the past decade hoping the horticultural sector would take voluntary action to end peat use and to give customers proper choice of quality alternatives. Ministers now say they’ll wait another two years before deciding what else to do. That’s more like a plan for inaction." The 25-year plan has certainly pushed peat back up the agenda. Under the subtitle "Restoring our vulnerable peatlands and ending peat use in horticultural products by 2030", the strategy links peat use with halting degradation of soils, which is another of Gove’s big policy issues. "Most peat soils support ecosystems that are sensitive to human activities including drainage, grazing, liming and afforestation. This makes them susceptible to degradation if poorly managed." The report says conventional agriculture is wrecking drained peatland soil and "we will develop new sustainable management measures to make sure that the topsoil is retained". The strategy points out that over the past 200 years 84% of fertile peat topsoil in East Anglia has gone and the rest could erode in 30-60 years, resulting in the loss of "our largest terrestrial carbon store". Organic or peat soils make up 11% of England’s total land area, more than 70% of which are drained or in poor condition. Funding for peatland projects over three years will become available in April 2018, the result of a £10m peatland grant scheme launched in July 2017. HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis Machin says Defra’s peat announcement in the 25-year strategy does not come as a surprise to him, and he too believes the long-awaited Responsible Sourcing Scheme will do enough to prevent Defra’s threatened "further measures". "Defra said to us late last year that Responsible Sourcing Scheme progress has been good but Michael Gove wants to see progress and changes in use of different materials," he adds. "Once the scheme is up and running, and people make decisions, we will see progress. We hope to introduce it in April/May but we won't see results until the tail end of the year. "The next step is how we market the idea to consumers. The idea is it will be driven by consumers but there's some work to do there. It took years to raise awareness of biosecurity with ash dieback and there is a similar job with peat and peat production. We don't have many reports of consumers asking about peat. We're talking about labelling. There's going to be some type, whether that is colour codes, a list of ingredients or an A-E — we've not got that far yet." Bulrush's Neil Bragg says AHDB's growing media review is to be published in February, including a response to ADAS project CP138 led by Barry Mulholland. A 2015 growing media review by Defra did not happen because the 25 year environment plan was being prepared. Bragg said: "We want to show as an industry how proactive we've been going forward." He said the industry needed to be able to show its proactiveness and seriousness about the issue. Defra says it will publish an England peat strategy in late 2018.
  2. Vitax Irish peat

    There needs to be some limitations in peat use. There are needs to be a difference between using peat because you have to (ie to grow CPs and other plants that won't grow in other medium) and using it just because you can. I was in Poundland the other week and in their gardening section, they had some plant plugs, root cutting etc. in small plastic bags full of peat. None of the plants they had there actually needed peat. Strawberries, astilbes etc will grow in normal compost yet they had them in bags of pure peat! The plug plants looked dead, the root cutting were looking a bit better... Obviously, there is only a limited supply of peat (and the extraction of it is another issue). The use of it needs to be curbed. Peat should be only used to grow plants that need it. It mustn't be wasted on strawberries and the like. If the government forced nurseries/garden centres to only use peat when needed, the amount of peat used would drop dramatically. The same goes for compost manufacturers, adding peat into multi-purpose composts is a waste. It's the big companies that need to limit their peat use, the hobby gardeners like us only use a fraction of the total amount used every year.
  3. Westland peat moss

    I will not be using any Westland products ever again. A few years back I got some of their multi-purpose compost to re-pot some of my non-CP plants and all of the plants went downhill within a couple of weeks. Used wilko's own brand, miracle grow, arthur j. bowers in the past without problems, but westland almost killed my plants. The plants I did not re-pot were doing fine in the same conditions, only difference was the compost. So I'm staying well away from Westlands products. Unfortunately, they appear to be the only brand my local Tesco sells so no more of the convenience of picking it up with my weekly shop... The remaining bag I have sitting in the shed will be emptied onto my flower border and mixed with the existing soil.
  4. Aphids in a terrainum

    Hi, not tried Provado on carnivorous plants but last summer I had an aphid problem on some of my houseplants and it didn't work. It seems the buggers have developed resistance to it. In the end I completely submerged the affected plants (pots and all) in a bucket of water for 2 days. That did the trick! The plants looked a bit miserable for a while after but recovered fine and been aphid-free since.
  5. Improvised DIY cold frame

    Hi, yes, I got it set up in early November. So far this winter we had a week of constant frost in mid-December (around -4 C at night and barely above zero during the day, the top inch of soil in plant pots left on the patio was frozen solid) but the CPs in this cold frame were still frost free. Every now and then there is the odd frosty night but nothing too serious. Overheating is not an issue either. Even with the sun shining the temperature inside doesn't go above 15 C and humidity is around 70-85% (it only gets around 4 hours of direct sunlight at this time of the year). Generally, the temperature inside the cold frame is 5 C higher than outside. S. Purpurea and Darlingtonia look good with a bit of die back of the oldest pitchers, VFTs are definitely dormant as no new leaves produced since October and old ones are turning black. Both D. Binatas have died back (but the stray Utric is still green). I did water the plants twice since the set up day, but there is no standing water. There is no sign of mould/fungus. I did remove all dead leaves/pitchers prior to putting the plants in to improve air movement.
  6. Problems with czplants

    @dreamfalcon Any news regarding this matter? @Karsty Do you speak Czech then? It's my first language if you fancy a chat... I was in Vyskov once in the 90's visiting the aircraft museum with my parents (is it still there?).
  7. Spruce Christmas tree in a pot

    Hi, I need a bit of advice with my pot grown Christmas tree. Earlier this month I got a small tree in a pot from Tesco. The label says 'medium picea tree', but after a bit of googling I'm sure it's a blue spruce. Now, my questions is: Does anyone have any experience in keeping a tree like this alive & well in a pot long term? At the moment it looks healthy (no needle drop so far), the only issue it the pot size (some of the roots are coming out through the drainage hole) so will definitely need a bigger pot. I know people do plant them out in the garden after Christmas but that is not an option for me (I live in a rented house, my tenancy contract ends in February and I don't know if my landlord will renew it or not yet). Anyway, I'd like to be able to use it as a Christmas tree again for the next several years (until it gets too big/heavy for me to move basically) and to take it with me to a new house if I have to move. Apart from a few weeks at Christmas it will be kept outdoors the whole time. So, is it possible to keep a spruce in a pot permanently like this? Thanks!
  8. Problems with czplants

    Hi, I'm going to play the devil's advocate here... I'd be very careful when ordering plants at this time of the year. Postal services are busier than normally due to the extra workload caused by Christmas so delivery times can be longer than normally. Any extra time spent in transit will have some negative impact on the plants. Also, the company you ordered from is located in a country known to have cold winters with quite a bit of snow and freezing temperatures. This will have negative impact on postal services (along with the Christmas rush) that might lead to longer processing times and parcels taking longer to be sorted, loaded and shipped abroad. As far as I know, cargo areas of postal trucks are not heated. If you are ordering plants that are not hardy in both the country of origin/destination, wait until the outside temperature is within the plant's tolerance, otherwise don't be surprised if some frost damage occurs. On the other hand, the seller should not be selling/posting non-hardy plants at this time of the year to avoid frost damage (and even hardy plants should be carefully packed/insulated to avoid damage). You didn't state what plants exactly you ordered. Some species tolerate freezing temperature, some don't. How were the plants packed? Were they insulated and protected from cold? If the packaging wasn't good, you should be able to get a refund as it's the sellers responsibility to pack everything correctly. How did you pay? If the seller doesn't respond, you might be able to make a claim via Paypal or your bank (if you paid by card). If it was a bank transfer/postal order/cheque, your options are limited.
  9. Can anyone ID this hitch-hiker?

    Thanks for the replies. The binata is staying outside because I don't have room for it indoors. I have other plants (some carnivorous, most not) that need to be kept indoors so have to prioritise. Basically, if it can stay outside, it's staying there...
  10. Hi, few months ago I got some plants from another forum member. The plants were bare rooted but there was a bit of moss attached to some of them. I've noticed that there is something else growing. If you look at the moss in my Drosera binata pot, you'll see several small leaves. I'm guessing it's Utricularia of sorts but that's the best I can do. I did get Utricularia livida at the same time but that one's in the house on a windowsill well away from my outdoor CPs... Can anyone ID the plant? How hardy is it? I'm planning on leaving the pot outside over winter. Thank you!
  11. Hi everyone! With winter fast approaching, I was thinking about the best way to protect my outdoor CPs from the worst of the weather. I have an unused single pane of glass . It was originally part of the window in the shed but the frame was damaged and later replaced and this piece of glass got left behind with no purpose (it's just a normal glass, approx. 5 mm thick, I'm guessing it's not hardened or anything as the other pane broke into several large jagged pieces). Could that be used to make a improvised cold frame? I have a large plastic box (the kind local council gives people to put their recyclables into for collection). It's cracked but still in strong. The glass pane would fit inside the box. I was thinking putting compost at the bottom (partly for insulation, party for extra weight so the box doesn't blow away in strong wind), then placing my CPs in their pots in the water tray on top of the compost. A few bricks along the front on the inside of the box to sit the glass on, the back end of the glass leaning against the wall behind the box (I'll probably have to tie it down with a string or something so it doesn't move when it's windy). There will be gaps on both sided of the glass for air circulation. I just want to protect the plants from the worst of the winter rain/wind/snow. There are 7 pots (1x darlingtonia, 1x sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea, 3x VFTs, 2x drosera binata) and none of the plants are taller than 20 cm. Will this do? Thanks!
  12. Bluedog0628's plants

  13. Which peat brand for bog garden.

    I use Evergreen Irish moss peat for most of my plants (the rest are in a peat-free mix) and the're all growing fine.
  14. Hi, I was wondering if this is normal. My VFT 'Red Dragon' produced a flower stalk in April (I cut it off) and today I noticed it produced another one. Is this a common thing or has it gone mad? It's outside and lots of the leaves are starting to die off, just like you 'd expect before winter. Anybody else got VFTs going into flower at this time of the year?
  15. Hi, sorry if this is a bit of a silly question. Winter is coming and it's time to start planning for the cold months ahead... About 2 months ago I got my first Cephalotus (and so far I haven't manage to kill it). What's the best way to over-winter it? I like in South Yorkshire so the winters are fairly mild but wet (with the occasional frost and sometimes snow). How much cold can it take? I know some people leave them outside all year (I'm guessing that's ok if you live in the south of England) but what about growers further north? Will it survive outside (I don't have a greenhouse) or should I bring it in for the winter? The plant in question is still quite small, I got it as a bare rooted division and it's still adjusting to it's new home... Thanks for all replies!