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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 150: International Symposium on Substrates in Horticulture other than Soils In Situ

EVALUATION OF GROWING MEDIA FOR CONSUMER USE

Authors:   P.L. Waller, F.N. Wilson
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.1984.150.5
Abstract:
This paper is based on over 20 years experience in the development and evaluation of proprietary growing media at Fisons Levington Research Station in England. It is concerned primarily with media which are sold on the retail market for use by home or hobby gardeners, most of whom are unskilled or casual users of such products.

The physical and chemical criteria frequently used to describe and compare growing media are reviewed. It is concluded that such statements and declarations can be misleading and are often irrelevant to a product's performance.

It is only by properly conducted growing tests that growing media can be reliably assessed and meaningfully compared. Test species and methods employed by Fisons are discussed and illustrated with reference to an evaluation of media sold in North America.

The position, influence and rôle of consumer protection and regulatory authorities in various countries are discussed. The need for legal registration of growing media is questioned. However, where authorities believe that registration is desirable the only criterion should be proof of efficacy in relation to the claims made for that product.

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