Oct 8, 2021
Learn to go low-peat or peat-free successfully with two sessions at GLEXPO

For many in the industry, this year’s Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO and Greenhouse Growers EXPO is the first chance to gather as a whole once again. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based show is chock-full of meetings, education sessions and chances to connect with other growers, vendors and Extension agents from around the country.

This year, Brian Jackson, professor of horticultural science and the director of the Horticultural Substrates Lab at North Carolina State University will be leading two substrate sessions growers won’t want to miss. These sessions cover several topics related to substrates, including how the current challenges in the supply chain are impacting growers across the globe.

In “Next Generation Substrates: Peat Reduced and Peat Free Options,” Jackson will discuss trends and projections in peat-free horticulture. He’ll explain how the products are advertised and discuss how they perform with research-based evidence. Growers may be considering low-peat or peat-free substrates after last year’s industry-wide shortage. The session will be interesting to growers interested in sustainable practices to reduce their own environmental impact. Jackson will share information regarding peat or peat-free substrate uses and what’s being developed in new low-peat or peat-free options that will work well for greenhouse growers.

For growers interested in sustainable practices, this session will help them better understand how the choice of peat or peat-free can change their own impact on the environment through this simple choice. He will share statistics regarding peat or peat-free substrate uses and what’s being developed in new low-peat or peat-free options that will work well for greenhouse growers.

For those who want advanced market information, or for those who are already transitioning to peat-reduced or peat-free substrates, the second session Jackson is presenting is a not-to-miss session. In “Guidance on Selecting Substrates and Substrate Suppliers,” learn about how the global pandemic has impacted trade, how to navigate a market full of shortages as well as new players in the world of substrates. 

“The demand for growing media globally has never been this high. The reason is not just due to current or temporary shortages due to COVID-19 or transportation and gridlock issues, but it also has to do with the extraordinary shift of many crops grown outdoors now moving into soilless culture, in protected and non-protected environments,” Jackson said.

After attending both sessions, growers will better understand how to transition to using peat-free substrates and how to select the right suppliers to ensure they have the product when they need it. He will share the factors growers should consider when beginning the process of shifting to the more environmentally friendly substrates.

“The precision and the reproducibility and dependability of crop production starts in the substrate. It’s also light, fertility and genetics, but the substrate is at the crux of any successful soilless culture program, and selecting the right one and managing it properly makes the efficient use of all other inputs better,” Jackson said.

To learn more about the Greenhouse Growers EXPO at the 2021 Great Lakes EXPO, visit glexpo.com.

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