Questions with Frédéric Gagnon

Frédéric Gagnon, Lambert Peat Moss agronomist, explains the benefits of using an aggregate free media as well as custom mixes.

NM: What are the benefits of using an aggregate free media?

FG: In fact, there are two major points: First, aggregate free media can be used as is when made from a high-quality peat moss with few fine particles in it. You will end up with a great combination of porosity and water retention, two key elements for healthy plants. Second, you can use aggregate free media as a peat base that will be completed at your facility with the additives you wish to incorporate and at the percentage you want. The core of your final mix is then reliable because the pH is already adjusted, and the wetting agent is included. If you also wish to get a mix with a fertilizer starter charge, it will already be incorporated. Your final mix is submitted through a strict quality control process by Lambert. The main benefit is the quality of the peat base mix. Plus, you have an economic alternative on top of it.

NM: What are the advantages of replacing “straight peat” in growing media?

FG: Most of the time, buying a straight peat moss is a choice made for economic reasons, and it’s totally understandable, especially these days. But if you look closely at the situation, the gap is maybe not so wide between a complete mix or a completely ready-to-use no aggregate one. If you consider the cost of all the additives you will need to add on site, and the labor necessary to transform that straight peat in a complete mix, the cost becomes almost the same. Also, a bad batch made on site is always possible. If it happens, it could ruin the crop production quickly if it’s not noticed in time. Regarding that last point, buying peat mixes gives you insurance that the product conforms to your specification. A vigorous quality control process takes place at Lambert’s facilities, so you can concentrate your work and effort on what you do best: growing plants.

NM: Why should nurseries consider making the switch?

FG: Most of the nurseries buy bulk product because it’s widely available, and it’s also very affordable. However, another option that is worth consideration is compressed packaging. Freight is now an important percentage of the final cost of your order. By offering compressed mixes, we can, as a soil manufacturer, put twice the volume on the load. So just buying a compressed product gives you a 50% saving on the freight part of the purchase. Also, the packaging provides protection from any external contamination. Weed seeds, fungus disease spores are present in the surrounding environment, so conserving your mix in the packaging until needed gives it protection against all those possible sources of contamination. Finally, you will receive exactly the volume of mix you are paying for. A compressed bale contains a determined amount of mix. That’s the way the machine is built. So, you always end up with the same volume, and you know it in advance compared to bulk with a volume that is hard to determine due to the compaction that occurs during loading, transport and unloading.

NM: How can a Lambert custom mix improve a traditional growing media blend?

FG: We are now offering an exclusive nursery mix made with our EcoPeat Plus. It’s a natural wood fiber that is collected from our peat bogs and specially processed at our facilities. That product will help the mix keep the structural integrity for a long period of time once in the container, with almost no shrinkage. That’s very helpful in nurseries with quite long-term crops. I consider that important because it’s very stable compared to a regular bark mix. A very minimal composting process will occur. After a while, the composting process in a regular bark mix creates fine particles that end up in the bottom layer of the container, and that will reduce the drainage and create an unfavorable environment for the roots. You can avoid that problem by using a nursery mix blended with EcoPeat Plus because the product will keep a stronger structure for a long term. Custom mixes can help you resolve some issues by simply tweaking the recipe specifications a little bit. We offer fine tuning at your convenience. Most of the time that will help you resolve the small issues you have, and that can make a huge difference in the end.

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November 2022
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