Vitacress partners in new £1million RHS research project


Vitacress is delighted to be partnering in a new research project, led by The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to help the horticultural trade transition to sustainable growing media.

A £1million, co-funded, five-year project will convene government, growers and growing media manufacturers through the Growing Media Association and horticultural product supplier Fargro to research sustainable alternatives to peat in large-scale commercial settings.

David Walmsley, MD of Vitacress Herbs: “Vitacress Herbs is excited to be partnering with the RHS and other partners from across our industry to accelerate progress towards growing peat-free.

“We grow and sell over 16 million pots of culinary and horticulture herbs each year and have made great progress in this area to date. In 2023, all of our horticulture range available in selected garden centres and RHS stores, will be grown peat-free. Through this collaboration, we aim to identify a sustainable growing media which delivers quality plant growth, is safe for food, cost-effective and has a viable long-term supply chain.”

Areas of focus for the group will include peat free plant and plug plant production, new growing media technologies to replace the estimated 1.7m m3 of peat used by the UK horticultural industry in 2021, growing protocols, best practice use of the latest products, and developing peat-free solutions for challenging plant groups such as carnivorous and ericaceous species.

Five growers initially will work alongside Dr Raghavendra Prasad who has joined the RHS’ 120-strong Science team at RHS Hilltop: Home of Gardening Science this month. They are: Allensmore, Hills Plants, Johnsons of Whixley, The Farplants Group and Vitacress who collectively produce more than 46 million plants every year.

Findings will also be shared ongoing with the wider industry to aid the transition to peat-free.

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