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Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media
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Project Implementation: An Investigation into the effects on seed germination using Reduced Peat & Peat Free growing media in comparison to Full Peat Growing Media

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Findings, Results, Conclusions & Recommendations

Findings, Results, Conclusions & Recommendations

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  • 1. 1. Introduction In this Project Implementation report I will follow up on material studied in the previous literature review. This is an investigation into the effects on seed germination using peat alternative and peat reduced products (growing media). The purpose of this report is to investigate whether peat alternatives (coir) and peat reduced (loam) growing media are inferior or superior to peat (sphagnum). A germination trial will be conducted to answer this question. Other tests such as water holding capacity, pH and soil porosity will be conducted to verify these results and to explain/interpret the results. Water holding capacity will be looked at to explain why some growing medium perform poorly in environments designed for the optimum performance of another growing medium. pH levels will investigate whether the growing media have unsuitable pH levels for the absorption of nutrients. Soil porosity will explain the growth levels and root penetrative growth of each seed in each growing media. The potassium and phosphorus levels of each growing media will also be looked at to explain the growth rates and strength of each seedling after germination. Germination rates will be looked at recording the amount of time it takes each seed, in each growing media, in each environment to germinate and comparing the time to the same seed in the different media and environments. The growth progression and the strength of each seedling will be recorded and compared across the growing media and environments. This project incorporates germination trials previously carried out by horticultural organisations such as the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) and GardeningWhich? Magazine (January 11th 2008). These trials have been modified and improved to allow other questions to be investigated. This study will give a clearer view on a subject that is full of contradicting views, opinions and results. The germination trial which is central and paramount to this project includes a full peat growing medium to act as a control. Strict watering regimes and optimum environments for each growing medium will be operated and constructed. Three different seeds will used during the germination trial to give a greater 1
  • 2. understanding to how diverse the effects (if any) on germination using peat reduced and alternative growing media are. These effects may include longer germination times compared to other growing media and slower growth rates/development of true leaves. This thesis will also investigate why certain seeds perform better/worse in certain growing media in comparison to other media. The results of the germination trial will also be compared to results obtained in the germination trials conducted by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) and GardeningWhich? Magazine (January 11th 2008) and also attempt to identify problems/mistakes made during the trials conducted by those organisations. At the end of the germination trial, positive and negative aspects of each growing media will be stated, based on what has been learned from the literature review and what the results from this experiment have shown. Recommendations on how the growing media could be improved. Mistakes made during the literature review, the set up of the germination trial and missed opportunities will be identified and also their possible implications will be discussed. 2. Primary Research 2.1 Objectives 2.1.1 Objective: 1 • What are the rates of germination of different species of seed used in each growing medium? • Which is fastest? • Which has strongest rate? These are important questions to answer as their conclusions will show different growing media can affect seed germination performance. It may also show certain sacrifices made by using a certain growing medium, i.e. a peat alternative may have slower germination rates but may produce stronger growth (root penetration, shoot development) than another peat based growing medium that gives faster germination. This was derived from a previous germination trial experiment carried out by the RHS using peat alternatives as cited in the literature review. It also incorporates a peat 2
  • 3. reduced product which, as mentioned in the literature review, was given negative results from GardeningWhich? magazine (January 11th 2008), based on a trial it had carried out using reduced peat products in comparison to peat. 2.1.2 Objective: 2 • How does treating a peat alternative (i.e. coir) the same as peat affect performance of seed? This will also be reversed to see how treating peat as a peat alternative or peat reduced product affects seed germination. This aspect of the germination trial will prove very different results to those obtained in a growing medium in its optimum environment. This will also address the issue mentioned in the literature review of coir being easily over-watered and how it needs to be managed very differently to peat. This will test which of the growing media used has the greatest water holding capacity. 2.1.3 Objective: 3 • To find which growing medium requires least watering This question is very important especially as water charges have been introduced. It will prove which of the three growing media used has the greatest water holding capacity. 2.1.4 Objective: 4 • To find how soil porosity affects performance of seed germination in various growing media Soil porosity is important as it affects root penetrative development of the seedling, available oxygen and water availability. 2.1.5 Objective: 5 • To discover the effects of pH on germination. 3
  • 4. pH can affect seed germination and plant performance. It all depends on the seed and whether it prefers an alkaline soil or an acidic soil. pH can also affect nutrient absorption, making many nutrients unavailable in the extremes of pH. This will also answer which, if any, of the growing media require the addition of lime for successful germination. 2.2 Methodology 2.2.1 Methodology: Objective 1 • Set up germination trial using 3 different growing media: Peat (control), loam (reduced peat) and coir (peat free). • Seed 3 different types of plants: lettuce, perennial rye grass and wallflower. This will give a broad spectrum of the effects on germination on different species of seeds. • Set-up 3 different environments ideal for each medium used • The trial will consist of nine trays in total. Each tray consists of 308 cells. Each seed in each tray will occupy 40 cells with a space of 2 cells between each different species of seed. Each one of the media will occupy one entire tray and will be labelled correctly. • 3 trays will occupy each environment. Each environment will contain one tray of coir, one tray of loam and one tray of peat. The trays will be placed in different positions in each environment to rule out variables from frost, disease or over-watering. • Calculate how many seeds have germinated by counting how many cells in the tray have seeds germinated • Record how long it takes each seed to germinate and compare to other growing media used and to other environments The layout of this experiment is done to gain a reasonable average from the results and also to eliminate as many variable factors as possible, such as over-watering, under-watering and diseases. This experiment is a modified version of the experiment conducted by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000). It also 4
  • 5. incorporates the performance of peat in the germination trial as a control to compare the performance results of the reduced peat and peat alternative growing media. 2.2.2 Methodology: Objective 2 • Set up three environments with differing conditions, each which is ideal for a specific growing medium being used in the germination trial. • Each environment’s watering regime is governed by the needs of the chosen growing mediums requirements which, that environment is built specifically for. i.e. coir optimum environment containing three trays of different growing media (peat, loam and coir). When the coir tray requires watering all trays are watered at the same time, in the same amount. This layout aspect of the experiment will demonstrate that different growing media require different management techniques such as watering schedules. 2.2.3 Methodology: Objective 3 • The number times the growing medium is watered will be recorded, to give the watering frequency of each growing medium. • The water holding capacity (WHC) of each growing media will be tested using a WHC determination experiment. Water holding capacity is calculated as follows: • Each growing media will be air dried • Suspend a funnel over a graduated cylinder. The funnel will be closed by means of a stopper (i.e. parafilm). • Place filter paper in the cylinder • Add 100ml of soil into the funnel • With a graduated cylinder measure 100ml of water. • Slowly poor the water into the funnel until it covers the soil sample. Record the amount of water added. • Stir with a glass rod and let sit until saturated. • Then open the funnel and allow excess water to flow into the graduated cylinder. 5
  • 6. • Record the amount of water that has flowed into the graduated cylinder. • The experiment is then repeated with each growing media used. Determination of water holding capacity: • Calculate how much water was retained in the 100ml sample of growing media. (__ml) water retained/100ml sample = Water added (ml) – water drained (ml) • Water holding capacity is expressed as the amount of the water retained per litre of growing medium. • Multiply by 10 to convert from the 100ml sample to litres: Water holding capacity (ml/L) = 10 x (__ml water retained/100ml sample) • The results are then recorded and interpreted. 2.2.4 Methodology: Objective 4 • Soil porosity tests will be conducted and used to explain the level and rate of germination and root development as soil porosity affects the amount of available oxygen and water to the seed. Porosity test will be conducted as follows: • Graduated cylinder is filled to 50ml mark with one of the chosen growing media. • Add 50ml of water to another graduated cylinder. • Then, slowly add the growing media. Stir with a glass rod and leave stand for 5 minutes or when all the bubbles escape. • Record the final volume of the growing medium water mixture. • Repeat with other growing media and interpret and explain results. Volume of solids in growing media: 6
  • 7. Vol. of solids (ml) = vol. of soil/water mix (ml) – 50ml water Total Pore Space Volume: Vol. of pore space (ml) = vol. of packed soil (ml) – vol. of solids (ml) Determination of porosity: Porosity = % pore space = vol. of pore space x 100 vol. of packed soil 2.2.5 Methodology: Objective 5 • pH levels of each growing media will be measured, by means of a pH meter. The pH experiment is conducted as follows: • Each sample of the growing media is measured one part medium to two parts distilled water. • Each solution is stirred using a glass rod. • Each solution was left settle for 20 minutes. • Each solution is filtered using filter paper and funnel. • The pH meter is calibrated by first testing it with sachets of standardised levels of pH 4, pH 7 and pH 10. The probe is then rinsed with distilled water. • The pH level is read from the decanted solution using a probe and pH meter. • The probe is rinsed with distilled water after testing each solution to stop contamination of the results. • The results are recorded and the pH meter probe is rinsed with distilled water. • The results are then interpreted as to whether or not they are suitable for seed germination. 7
  • 8. 3. Primary Research Findings 3.1 First Germination Trial The germination trial commenced on October 28th 2008. It was carried out in the glass houses at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. The trays were seeded and watered to the specifics of their environments. The following diary entries and tables record germination rate and depicts notes on the strength of growth of the seedlings in each environment. 8
  • 9. Coir Optimum Fig. 3.1.1 Peat – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Coir Optimum Seeds Germinated 50 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 10 Wallflower 0 10th 14th 17th 21st November November November November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.2 Loam – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Coir Optimum 35 Seeds Germinated 30 25 Lettuce 20 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 10th 14th 17th 21st November November November November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.3 Coir – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Coir - Coir Optimum Seeds Geerminated 50 40 Lettuce 30 20 Grass 10 Wallflower 0 10th 14th 17th 21st November November November November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Note: Equal numbers germinated for lettuce and wallflower in Fig. 3.1.1 and Fig. 3.1.3. 9
  • 10. Peat Optimum Fig. 3.1.4 Peat – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Peat Optimum 50 Seeds Germinated 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 Wallflower 10 0 10th November 14th November 17th November 21st November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.5 Loam – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Peat Optimum 35 Seeds Germinated 30 25 Lettuce 20 15 Grrass 10 Wallflower 5 0 10th November 14th November 17th November 21st November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.6 Coir – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Coir - Peat Optimum Seeds Germinated 35 30 25 Lettuce 20 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 10th 14th 17th 21st November november November November 2008 2008 2008 2008 10
  • 11. Loam Optimum Fig. 3.1.7 Peat – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Loam Optimum Seeds Germinated 50 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 10 Wallflower 0 10th 14th 17th 21st November November November November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.8 Loam – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Loam Optimum 40 Seeds Germinated 30 Lettuce 20 Grass 10 Wallflower 0 10th November 14th November 17th November 21st November 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.9 Coir – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Coir - Loam Optimum 50 Seeds Germinated 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 Wallflower 10 0 10th November 14th November 17th November 21st November 2008 2008 2008 2008 Note: Equal numbers germinated for lettuce and wallflower in Fig. 3.1.7 and Fig. 3.1.9. 3.2 Second Germination Trial Experiment 11
  • 12. A second germination trial experiment commenced Monday 23rd February 2009. It was conducted in the glasshouse at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co.Kilkenny. The experiment was repeated to compare results between the two trials and also to limit any errors or variations due to seasonal factors or over watering, and to gain a reasonable average on germination. In this trial only seeds that have achieved true germination will be recorded as germinated. Germination can be defined as when the first true leaves have fully developed (Wheeler and Wheeler, 2001). The following diary entries will record the watering requirements of each environment and any other observations. 23rd February 2009 The trays were filled with one of the three growing media. Three environments were set up and three different seeds were sown in each tray. All the trays were watered after being seeded. 25th February 2009 No germination had occurred. None of the environments required watering. 2nd March 2009 No germination had occurred. The peat environment required watering. 6th March 2009 No germination had occurred. All environments required watering. 9th March 2009 No germination had occurred. The peat environment required watering. 11th March 2009 Germination occurred. All environments required watering. 16th March 2009 Peat and loam environment required watering. 18th March 2009 All environments required watering. Evidence of moss was observed in the loam medium in the loam environment. 23rd March 2009 Peat and loam environments required watering. Incidence of under watering recorded. 25th March 2009 All environments required watering. The germination trial was ended. 12
  • 13. Coir Optimum Fig. 3.2.1 Peat – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Coir Optimum 25 Seeds Germinated 20 Lettuce 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.2 Loam – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Coir Optimum 35 Seeds Germinated 30 25 Lettuce 20 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.3 Coir – Coir Optimum Seed Germination Coir - Coir Optimum 30 Seeds Germinated 25 20 Lettuce 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Peat Optimum 13
  • 14. Fig. 3.2.4 Peat – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Peat Optimum 15 Seeds Germinated 10 Lettuce Grass 5 Wallflower 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.5 Loam – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Peat Optimum 20 Seeds Germinated 15 Lettuce 10 Grass 5 Wallflower 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.6 Coir – Peat Optimum Seed Germination Coir - Peat Optimum 25 Seeds Germinated 20 Lettuce 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 11th March 16th Mrach 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 Loam Optimum 14
  • 15. Fig. 3.2.7 Peat – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Peat - Loam Optimum 7 Seeds Germinated 6 5 Lettuce 4 3 Grass 2 Wallflower 1 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 209 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.8 Loam – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Loam - Loam Optimum 25 Seeds Germinated 20 Lettuce 15 Grass 10 Wallflower 5 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.2.9 Coir – Loam Optimum Seed Germination Coir- Loam Optimum 20 Seeds Germinated 15 Lettuce 10 Grass 5 Wallflower 0 11th March 16th March 18th March 23rd March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 3.3 Growth Progression 15
  • 16. After germination the height of each seedling will be recorded each week. The spread of the true leaves will be recorded each week (with the exception of the grass). Then the heights and spread of the true leaves of each seedling germinated in each environment, in each tray will be added together and divided by the number of each species of seed germinated. This will give an average of the progression and growth rates of each seed in each growing media and in each environment. The area of the true leaf (mm2) is then calculated and plotted on the following graphs. These results will then be compared between each growing medium and how the results differed in each environment. Coir Optimum 16
  • 17. Fig. 3.3.1 Peat – Coir Optimum Growth Progression Area of Seedlings (mm2) Peat - Coir Optimum 300 250 200 Lettuce 150 Grass 100 Wallflower 50 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.2 Loam – Coir Optimum Growth Progression Loam - Coir Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 400 300 Lettuce 200 Grass 100 Wallflower 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.3 Coir – Coir Optimum Growth Progression Coir - Coir Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 200 150 Lettuce 100 Grass 50 Wallflower 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Peat Optimum 17
  • 18. Fig. 3.3.4 Peat – Peat Optimum Growth Progression Area of Seedlings (mm2) Peat - Peat Optimum 100 80 Lettuce 60 Grass 40 20 Wallflower 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.5 Loam – Peat Optimum Growth Progression Loam - Peat Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 60 50 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 Wallflower 10 0 11th March 18th March 25th 2009 2009 March2009 Fig. 3.3.6 Coir – Peat Optimum Growth Progression Coir - Peat Optimum Area of Seedling (mm2) 300 250 200 Lettuce 150 Grass 100 Wallflower 50 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Loam Optimum Fig. 3.3.7 Peat – Loam Optimum Growth Progression 18
  • 19. Peat - Loam Optimum Area of Seddling (mm2) 120 100 80 Lettuce 60 Grass 40 Wallflow er 20 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.8 Loam – Loam Optimum Growth Progression Loam - Loam Optimum Area of Seedlings 150 Lettuce 100 (mm2) Grass 50 Wallflow er 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.9 Coir – Loam Optimum Growth Progression Coir - Loam Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 200 150 Lettuce 100 Grass 50 Wallflow er 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 3.4 pH and Specific Conductivity Tests Table 3.4.1 pH and Specific Conductivity Test Results 19
  • 20. Growing Medium Coir Peat Loam pH 5.53 5.15 6.23 Specific 5.56 8.49 9.75 Conductivity 3.5 Water Holding Capacity Tests Table 3.5.1 Water Holding Capacity Test Results Growing Medium Coir Peat Loam Water Holding 510 ml/L 460 ml/L 300 ml/L Capacity (ml/L) % Water Holding 51% 46% 30% Capacity 3.6 Soil Porosity Tests Table 3.6.1 Soil Porosity Test Results Growing Medium Coir Peat Loam % Porosity 80% 71% 57% 4. Discussion In this chapter I will discuss the findings presented in the previous chapter. I will link these results to the literature review and interpret the correlation between what was presented in the literature review and the findings obtained from the germination trial. This Discussion will be divided up into the following sections: • First Germination Trial 20
  • 21. • Second Germination Trial • Growth Progression • pH and Specific Conductivity Tests • Water Holding Capacity Tests • Soil Porosity Tests • Germination Trial Environments 4.1 First Germination Trial In this trial I aimed to compare the results obtained to previous findings from germination trials mentioned in the literature review. In this trial I recorded that peat performed the best out of the 3 growing media used, yet it was closely matched by coir across all 3 environments. Fig. 3.1.1 Peat - Coir Optimum 50 Seeds Germinated 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 10 Wallflow er 0 10th Novem ber 14th Novem ber 17th Novem ber 21st Novem ber 2008 2008 2008 2008 Fig. 3.1.3 Coir - Coir Optimum Seeds Geerminated 50 40 Lettuce 30 Grass 20 10 Wallflow er 0 10th Novem ber 14th Novem ber 17th Novem ber 21st Novem ber 2008 2008 2008 2008 Note: Equal numbers germinated for lettuce and wallflower in both charts. Peat had the strongest growth out of the 3 growing media. These results, concerning peat and coir, were very close to those presented by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, 21
  • 22. September, 2000). However, incidents of scorching on the leaves and capping, as reported by the RHS, occurring with the use of coir were not recorded during this trial. Loam was the only growing medium whose results were not consistent over all 3 environments. It was also observed that it had weaker growth compared to the coir and peat media. The fact that loam performed so badly may be due to the fact that it has a much lower soil porosity compared to coir and peat, coupled with the low seasonal temperatures. The higher soil porosity of peat and coir would act as an air insulator, encouraging seed germination. The observation of weak growth observed in loam growing medium correlated with observations obtained from a germination trial conducted by GardeningWhich? magazine (January 11, 2008). With this first trial however, I lacked experience in the management of coir and loam growing medium. Incidents of over watering occurred with coir, as it has a higher water holding capacity than peat. I also had no definite way of recording growth strength and progression. This motivated me to carry out a second germination trial. 4.2 Second Germination Trial With the second germination trial I aimed to gain a better understanding of each growing medium’s performance. It took 15-16 days for the first germination to occur, while in the previous trial it took 13 days for germination to occur. The fact that the weather was warmer than at the time the previous trial may be ruled out by heating in the glasshouse during the first trial. Yet in the first trial I recorded any signs of germination and did not wait until the first true leaves were developed. This may dispute the results of the second trial in which, no germination was recorded until the first true leaves appeared. The intensity and duration of light available to the growing media/seeds would also differ from the previous trial due to different seasonal weather. In this trial peat performed poorly, in terms of numbers of seeds germinated, compared to loam, which performed the best out of the three. These results completely disagreed with the results presented by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) and GardeningWhich? magazine (January 11, 2008). Yet in the 22
  • 23. second week of the trial there was evidence of moss growing on the surface of the loam growing media, in the loam environment. This, coupled with coir’s poor performance in this environment can be explained by over watering. During the last week of the trial, a small number of the seedlings germinated began to die from lack of watering in all of the growing media, except to a certain extent in coir. This was caused by the trays being only watered on Mondays and Wednesdays and the gap of 4 days before the next scheduled watering. This could not be avoided due to personal and family commitments. Coir, across all environments (except loam environment due to over watering) recorded the least amount of loses, with a significant difference in comparison to losses recorded in peat and loam. This confirms information studied and stated in the literature review of coir’s water retention properties. 4.3 Growth Progression This aspect of the germination trial was to test, in correlation with germination rates, that peat alternatives perform poorly at first, but eventually perform better than full peat growing media, as stated in the RHS trial (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000). Results were only recorded from the second germination trial, as accurate measurements were not recorded in the first germination trial. Up to the third week of the trial peat had a much lower germination rate than coir and especially loam with each seed, across all 3 environments. Yet, seeds germinated in peat produced stronger growth than the other two growing media. Loam had the fastest germination out of the three growing media. But it appeared to sacrifice strength in growth for faster germination. In the second week loam showed growth becoming comparable to peat as the gap between the results narrowed. This observation agrees with what the RHS presented with their trial results from Wisley (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000). As stated in the literature review, the RHS showed that peat alternatives produce weaker growth than peat initially, before producing comparable, if not equal strength in growth. This result would have been more accurate had the incident of under watering not occurred during the third week. This affected the average height recorded in the third week due to the collapse and 23
  • 24. death of the seedlings, hence, an accurate comparison to seed growth progression between peat and loam is difficult. Fig. 3.3.1 Peat – Coir Optimum Growth Progression Peat - Coir Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 300 250 200 Lettuce 150 Grass 100 Wallflower 50 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 Fig. 3.3.2 Loam – Coir Optimum Growth Progression Loam - Coir Optimum Area of Seedlings (mm2) 400 300 Lettuce 200 Grass 100 Wallflower 0 11th March 18th March 25th March 2009 2009 2009 4.4 pH and Specific Conductivity Tests The pH test did not indicate any extremes of pH. Each growing medium has a suitable pH level for seed germination for each of the seeds used in this trial. This also rules out leaf discolouration being caused by unavailable nutrients (P, K) due to extremes of pH. Loam’s pH level is higher than coir and peat due to its sand content (Wheeler and Wheeler, 2001). The specific conductivity levels, according to the literature review, are also normal. Coir’s Specific conductivity level is low compared to peat and loam due to coir being lower in nutrients (Cresswell, 1992). This explains why, although comparable, growth produced by seeds sown in coir was weaker than growth produced in peat over the two trials. The pH level stated for peat in the 24
  • 25. literature review (pH: 3.3) was lower then what was found in the pH experiment (pH: 5.15) due to the addition of lime to the packaged peat used in the experiment. The levels of pH recorded from this experiment closely replicate those shown in the literature review. The germination trial conducted by the RHS showed occurrences of discolouration in plants with the use of coir. This may be due to the source of coir and that specific brand used in the RHS trial. This would not justify the results obtained in the RHS trial (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000). With the results obtained from these experiments a photometer test looking for occurrences of discolouration was not necessary. 4.5 Water Holding Capacity Tests The water holding capacity tests were conducted to show each of the growing media water retention abilities and also to explain results obtained from the second germination trial. The results obtained from the water holding capacity tests were normal and were only marginally different to those stated in the literature review (Cresswell, 1992). Coir had the highest water retention capabilities, which was displayed in the second germination trial during the incident of under watering in the third week. The recording of the times the trays were watered in the second germination trial showed that coir required noticeably less water than the other two growing media. 4.6 Soil Porosity Tests The results from the soil porosity test show that coir has the highest soil porosity. This correlates with its high water retention properties. Loams low soil porosity in comparison to peat and coir confirms its free draining abilities. These results can be interpreted as being the reason why coir was so easily over watered in the first germination trial and why it performed the best out of the three during the under watering incident in the second germination trail. Also, because of loams low soil porosity, in comparison to coir, it helps explain why it was the most severely affected by the under watering during the second germination trial. The test results, showing loam’s low soil porosity, explain why loam performed so badly in 25
  • 26. the first germination trial. The higher soil porosity of coir and peat acted as an air insulator promoting germination. 4.7 Germination Trial Environments The two germination trials which were conducted had three different environments established to demonstrate how each growing medium faired under another’s optimum watering needs. This aspect of the germination trial showed how each growing medium required different water management techniques to maximise performance. All the trays in a specific environment were watered when the control tray required watering. In the peat environment, the control tray required watering, usually, every two days. The effect of this led to the coir tray being over watered in the first germination trial. It did not affect the loam, in terms of over watering, due to the media free draining capabilities (Fedor, 2001). The conditions of the coir environment severely affected the peat and loam growing media in the second germination trial. This is due to the low frequency of watering required by coir, in comparison to peat and partly due to the under watering incident. The loam environment required more water than the peat environment due to its free draining capabilities and low water holding capacity in comparison to peat and coir. This explains why seedlings grown in loam were the worst affected during the under watering incident in the second germination trial. 5. Conclusions and Recommendations 5.1 Project Objectives The objectives of this project were to gain a better understanding of peat and its alternatives. Their performance, properties, optimum environments, perceived image, use and of course their effects on seed germination. I set out to find if there was an alternative growing medium that could perform, if not better, equally as well as peat. I wanted to do this because of the fact that peat is a finite resource (Allaby, 2005) and I wanted to investigate if there was a renewable growing medium that did not sacrifice performance and stability for sustainability. 26
  • 27. I wished to discover if the perceived image of peat alternatives as inferior growing media was true. Also, I wanted to see how each growing medium performed in the other’s environment and how this in turn affected seed germination. With the conclusions of this project I hoped to bring some clarity to the subject as when writing the literature review I encountered several contradicting opinions, results and properties on peat alternatives and the effectiveness of their performance. 5.2 Literature Review Conclusions In the literature review I arrived at the conclusion that peat is the growing medium favoured by gardeners. Not only does peat have an impressive track record as a stable growing medium, but its peat free alternatives have produced poor results, in comparison to peat, in the past. This has further increased horticulturalists wariness to use peat alternatives. Yet with the undeniable fact that peat is a finite resource (Bragg, 2003) and with mounting pressure in the U.K., in the form of new legislation banning peat extraction in 2012 (RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Catalogue, 2006), new interest in resolving issues surrounding peat alternatives performance has come to light. The looming prospect of higher costs for peat due to the need for importation also gives a further boost for the need to rectify problems surrounding the performance of peat alternatives. Such prospects made the idea of reduced peat growing medium (loam) come to fruition as a stepping stone for growers to becoming completely peat free. The trials which were carried out by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) and GardeningWhich? magazine (January 11, 2008) gave loam and coir poor reviews when pitted against peat. The results to which they gained disagreed with the results recorded from the trials I conducted. There is a lack of standardised evidence that truly compares the performance of each growing media. Indeed, during the course of researching material for the literature review I found it difficult to find sources of information on coir that did not contradict each other. This is due to the fact that coir's chemical and physical properties vary on its source and the way it is treated before being used as a growing medium (Raviv and Heinrich Lieth, 2007). This in turn suggests how past results from germination trials using coir differ from one to the next. 27
  • 28. It was concluded that although each one of the growing media met the requirements for successful germination, each had advantages and disadvantages when compared to each other. For instance, peat produces stronger growth than coir, yet coir is more moisture retentive (yet easily over watered) and peat is hard to re-wet when dry. 5.3 Summary of Primary Research Findings In the primary research findings it was found that although contradictions with the literature review existed there were similarities between the results and what was stated in the literature review. In the first germination trial, the results showed that peat performed the best out of the 3 growing media, with coir performing comparably well in terms of germination rates, however it produced weaker growth than peat. Loam on the other hand performed poorly in comparison, with lower germination rates and weaker growth. In this trial incidents of over watering occurred with coir which may have affected the final results. In the second germination trial a seed was only recorded as being germinated once the true leaf of the seed was fully developed. This may dispute the results of the first germination trial where this control was not in place. Growth progression was also recorded to find which medium produced the strongest growth. In this germination trial, loam performed the best out of the three growing media in terms of fastest germination. While peat had a slower rate of germination, it produced stronger growth in comparison to loam and coir over the three environments. However, while loam and coir produced weaker growth initially, they began to close the difference in growth between them and growth in peat, as recorded 18th March 2009. Overall, Coir produced the weakest growth in comparison to peat and loam. This is due to the lack of nutrients present in coir (Bragg, 2003). The addition of feed/fertiliser to peat alternatives would rectify the issue of weaker growth. During the second trial family commitments arose that limited my time and availability. This in turn led to an incident of under watering occurring. This was due 28
  • 29. to only being able to water the trays on Monday and Wednesday, leaving a gap of 4 days between watering schedules. This led to the collapse and death of seedlings which affected the results of the trial. The water retention properties of coir as stated in the literature review (Flowerdew, 2001), were proven as during the under watering incidence, coir was the least affected, with no reduction in growth and the least amount of seedling death recorded, out of the three growing media. With the water holding capacity tests, pH and specific conductivity tests, all results were normal, in regard to the levels shown in the literature review (Cresswell, 1992). They also agreed with the description of each of the growing media physical and chemical properties. In the RHS trials (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) incidences of discolouration, scorching and capping were reported, yet these did not occur in the trials I carried out. This may be due to the fact that the sources of the peat alternatives used in the RHS trial differed from mine. Indeed the pH and specific conductivity levels recorded indicated no extreme levels or the need for a photometer to measure for discolouration. The soil porosity test results suggest an explanation for why loam performed so badly in the first trial and performed so well in the second. Because of loams low soil porosity it cannot insulate as much air as peat and coir. Coupled with the low temperatures of winter, it could not provide optimum temperature for the seeds sown, leading to poor germination compared to the other two media used. 5.4 Limitations of Project The limitations of this project, although problematic, did not stop me from reaching my conclusions from the results and literature review, however if these limitations were removed they would alter the results significantly and give a clearer picture. The fact that few trials that have compared peat alternatives and reduced peat to full peat has left few comparisons for the germination experiment I conducted. Also the trials conducted by the RHS (Pickering, The Garden, September, 2000) and GardeningWhich? magazine (January 11, 2008) used a narrow range of plants and GardeningWhich? magazine used a narrow range of alternative growing media products. Finding specific information on coir was also difficult as its chemical and physical properties differed from source to source. This may explain why results 29
  • 30. between the germination trials I conducted and conducted trials mentioned in the literature review differ. Also with time restrictions and the absence of facilities needed it was impossible to look at recording the amount of water used to meet each environments needs, which would give a greater indication of each growing medias optimum needs and water management requirements. This tied in with the literature review where it stated how easy it is to mismanage coir in relation to its watering needs. Light’s effects on seed germination using peat alternatives would have also been interesting to look at. If I had used an accurate measurement system for growth progression during the first trial I could have seen how light effects growth progression in different growing media over seasonal variations in light intensity and duration. I would have had to employ the use of an instrument (Crookes radiometer) that would measure the sun’s intensity and frequency during the two germination trials. I could have then used this to then explain the results for numbers germinated, rate of germination growth levels etc, and why they differ. One imposing limitation on the project was due to personal issues which limited my availability during the last week of the germination trial. This led to an occurrence of under watering and the death of some of the seedlings. This affected the average height and spread for recording growth progression and numbers germinated. This also prohibited me from carrying out fresh and dry weight analysis tests which would have given a better indication of root developmental growth and anchorage. Another limitation on the results presented is the narrow range of different species of seed used. To gain a wider spectrum of the effects on seed germination, using peat alternatives, a broader range of seeds being tested would produce more detailed results. Hence, this would provide growers with greater knowledge for which growing media to use to optimise a species of seed’s performance. Also the testing of other characteristics affecting seed germination, such as hard seed coats and dormancy, are affected by peat alternatives would prove interesting. 30
  • 31. If I was to repeat the trial I would increase the number of cells sown per tray, for each seed, from 40 to a 100 to increase the accuracy of the results. This would give larger testing numbers and should an incident occur, like the under watering incident in the second germination trial, that would affect germination numbers etc, it would not affect the results to a damaging extent. Another positive advantage is that it would give better averages of the results in terms of growth progression and germination rates. The inclusion of Baltic peat growing media into a germination trial in comparison to our domestic peat and the peat alternatives tested in this project would prove interesting. The results from this trial would give an indication, that if Baltic peats are imported into the U.K. after the 2012 ban on peat extraction (RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Catalogue, 2006), would they perform as well as domestic peat? The performance of Baltic peat could then be compared to the peat alternatives tested and reveal whether or not Baltic peats are a better choice then peat alternatives. Baltic peat’s physical and chemical composition is different to that of Irish and British peats (Bragg, 2003). It would be interesting to see how these properties would affect the results of the trial. 5.5 Recommendations for Further Research Interesting aspects of this subject that could be looked at in future include: • Soil pest’s performance in peat alternative growing media and their effects on seed germination. • Fresh and dry weight analysis. • Conducting surveys on nursery stock growers attitudes to peat alternatives. • New germination trials using peat alternatives with added fertiliser in comparison to peat. • Germination trials conducted at different temperatures. • Effects of light intensity and duration on seed germination using alternative growing media in comparison to peat. Soil pest performance in peat alternative growing media in comparison to peat would give an indication of which growing medium would work best where pests are a 31
  • 32. problem. This would directly link to Gneem Coir. A coir growing medium product that has neem tree seed and as mentioned in the literature review acts as a biological control that makes pests infertile and can cause pest death. Neem tree seed is safe to humans and animals and acts as a cheap, safe biological control (Reiley and Shry, 2000). Fresh and dry weight analysis would give a definite answer on which growing medium, overall, produces the strongest growth. These results could then be tied in to why they produce the strongest growth with other results (WHC, pH, Soil porosity etc,). Surveying on attitudes of nursery stock growers would show what is needed to be done to initiate change to peat alternatives. It would also give a wider view of personal testaments of past problems nursery stock growers have encountered while using peat alternative growing media. The addition of fertiliser feed to peat alternatives could rectify the issue of peat free growing producing weaker growth, when compared to peat. A germination trial would prove this conclusively, using peat, without additional feed, as a control and comparing the results. The soil porosity tests and germination trials revealed a very interesting conclusion. Loam performing poorly in the first trial, performed as the best in the second germination trial, in terms of germination and to an extent, producing growth. This is because of the colder seasonal temperatures of the first trial and loam’s low soil porosity. This is a disadvantage to loam, especially in Ireland’s climate that could cause poor plant performance/seed germination in the winter months when compared to other growing media. Optimum temperature is an important aspect of a seed’s germination needs (Capon, 2004). Research into its optimum temperature and temperature limits would educate growers more on the management of loam as peat alternative, further improving its chance of being accepted as a replacement for peat. The two germination trials were conducted in different seasons to rule out seasonal variations. As mentioned previously, loam performed poorly in the first trial, in 32
  • 33. comparison to peat and coir, yet in the second trial it had the faster germination than peat. This may be due to the intensity and duration of light differing between the two trials due to seasonal variations. Because of loam’s low soil porosity it can’t insulate as much air as peat or coir, giving it a lower temperature. Yet with increased light intensity and duration it would raise the temperature of the growing medium encouraging seed germination (Capon, 2004). This directly ties in with the optimum temperature experiment previously stated. Light would also affect growth progression and would give an interesting comparison between seasons and the growing media. 5.5 Recommendations to Encourage Change to Peat Alternatives It is clear that not enough is being done to encourage growers and horticultural hobbyists to make the switch to peat free alternatives. The need to rectify problems associated with alternative growing media is paramount to a smooth changeover. As numbers in the literature show, if current trends continue, a 2010 target to be 90% peat free (Holmes, 2007) will not be met. This will then lead to further pressure as peat extraction in the U.K. will be halted in 2012 (RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Catalogue, 2006) leading to the possible importation of foreign peat. This will lead to an increase in carbon miles from transport. In essence, the entire point of peat alternatives is to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Also, the importation of foreign peat will only lead to the destruction of rare flora, fauna and their habitats abroad. This will undoubtedly lead to a backlash from horticulturalists who feel they will be forced or “guilt tripped” into using unproven, sub-standard (in comparison to peat) alternatives. New data and results from trials are required as well as solutions to past problems need to be found to increase the performance of peat alternatives. Perhaps more importantly, education on how to use and manage peat alternatives is necessary for alternatives to perform effectively and to be accepted by consumers. This includes how to water coir properly as it is very easily over watered. Also additions of extra nutrients and feed to peat alternatives would vastly improve their performance in comparison to peat. 33
  • 34. Possible solutions to encourage change include government and peat alternative producer incentives to nursery stock growers and horticultural retailers encouraging consumers to make the switch to peat free media. This scheme would follow closely to that of past Irish and U.K. government schemes on wood pellet burners and solar panelled homes. 6. Summary Peat, coir and loam all possess the requirements for seeds to successfully germinate (Reiley and Shry, 2000). However, the numbers germinated, rate of germination, growth produced, seasonal performance and watering needs vary between them. Peat alternatives have been blacklisted because of poor performances from publications of past trials (GardeningWhich?, January 11, 2008). Yet, peat itself is becoming blacklisted because of new legislation in the U.K. banning it’s extraction and also changing “green” attitudes because of the damage caused to flora, fauna and their bog land habitats (Hall and Pilcher, 2001). Peat, a number choice for most horticulturalists (Bragg, 2003), posses impressive properties and is easily manageable. Peat (sphagnum peat) naturally has a low pH, which can be built by the addition of lime to suit the grower. It has a slower germination rate than peat alternatives, yet produces stronger growth, although this is eventually equalled by peat alternatives (loam). Peat is also hard to re-wet once dry causing problems during droughts. Peat-reduced growing media (loam) consists of 50% sphagnum peat and 50% loam. It has higher organic matter content than peat. It also has a higher water holding capacity than peat and free draining ability. It has a faster germination rate than peat or coir. Initially it produces weak growth but soon equals growth produced by peat. However, because of its low soil porosity it cannot insulate air leading to a lower temperature in the medium. This in turn results in poor germination in cold seasonal temperatures (winter). Coir, a by-product of coconut husks is usually imported from Sri Lanka. It is slightly cheaper compared to peat. A 75 litre bag of peat (Shamrock) costs €7.50, while a 5 34
  • 35. litre (with the addition of 35 litres of water makes 80 litres compost) compressed block of coir (GneemCoir) costs €5 (Gardener, 2004). However, with the carbon footprint from import transportation attached, its use is often questioned and judged by environmentalists (Fedor, 2001). Coir has a fast germination rate equal to, even greater than peat. It has little nutrients present, which results in the production of weak growth, initially, when compared to peat. It also has a low cation exchange capacity level (C.E.C), resulting in nutrients being washed out of the medium (Bragg, 2002). Its soil porosity is higher than peat or loam, allowing it to insulate air and encourage seed germination. Its most impressive attribute however, is it water holding capacity abilities. This reduces its frequency of watering needed. However, due to poor education on how to water coir compared to peat, coupled with Ireland’s wet climate, growers may find coir difficult as a peat alternative growing medium. While coir and loam both posses excellent properties, I have arrived at the conclusion, through my research of the literature review and findings from the project implementation, that a lot more is needed to be done for these growing media to be accepted as alternatives to peat. Simply put, loam (reduced peat) performs poorly in cold temperatures while coir is over watered easily, which in turn causes wash out of nutrients present due to its low C.E.C. Neither of these aspects can be acceptable for a growing medium in a weather climate like Ireland’s. For now peat is the most effective growing medium for seed germination. 35
  • 36. References Books • Allaby, M (2005) Oxford Dictionary of Ecology. 3rd Edition. Oxford. Oxford University Press. • Bragg, N. (2003) Growing Media. Nexus • Capon, B. (2004) Botany for Gardeners. Timber Press • Fedor, J. (2001) Organic Gardening for the 21st Century. Hong Kong, First Frances Lincoln Edition. • Flowerdew, B. (2002) Go Organic. Hamlyn. • Hall, V. Pilcher, J. (2001) Flora Hibernica. West Link Park, Doughcloyne, Wilton, Cork, Co. Cork, The Collins Press. • Raviv, M. Heinrich Leith, J. (2007) Soilless Culture: Theory and Practice. Elsevier. • Reiley, HE. Shry, CL. (2000) Introductory Horticulture. 6th Edition, Cengage Learning. • Wheeler, C. Wheeler, V. (2001) Success with Seeds. Guild of Craftsman Publications Ltd. Other Published Material • Pickering, J. (2000) Low Peat Performers. The Garden, September 2000. • Thomas, C. (2008) GardeningWhich? Magazine, January 11 2008. • Holmes, S. (2007) UK Peat Use In The Spotlight. Horticulture Week, 6th September 2007, p. 6. Internet Sources • Cresswell, GC. (1992). Coir Dust a Proven Alternative to Peat [online]. Available from: http://www.cocopeat.com.au/technical/productAnalysis/pdf/Cresswelldoc.pdf [Accessed 16th November 2008]. 36
  • 37. • Gardener, P. (2004) Benefits [online]. Available from: http://www.rossenarragardener.com/benefits.html [Accessed 22nd October 2008]. • Royal Horticultural Society. (2006) RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Catalogue, 2006. Cited in The Peat Issue [online]. Available from: http://www.gardenclever.com/the-peat-issue-247-c.asp [Accessed 22nd October 2008]. 37
  • 38. Appendix 7.1 First Germination Trial 10th November 2008 Coir Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 33/40 40/40 Grass 12/40 4/40 6/40 Lettuce 40/40 26/40 40/40 Peat Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 31/40 31/40 29/40 Grass 27/40 15/40 12/40 Lettuce 36/40 10/40 27/40 Loam Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 28/40 33/40 Grass 18/40 - - Lettuce 38/40 31/40 39/40 14th November 2008 Coir Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 32/40 40/40 Grass 15/40 6/40 12/40 Lettuce 40/40 16/40 40/40 Peat Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 31/40 33/40 Grass 18/40 16/40 14/40 Lettuce 39/40 10/40 31/40 Loam Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 29/40 40/40 Grass 18/40 6/40 8/40 Lettuce 40/40 38/40 40/40 17th November 2008 Coir Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 32/40 40/40 Grass 15/40 6/40 12/40 Lettuce 40/40 16/40 40/40 Peat Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 31/40 33/40 Grass 18/40 16/40 14/40 Lettuce 39/40 10/40 31/40 38
  • 39. Loam Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 29/40 40/40 Grass 18/40 6/40 8/40 Lettuce 40/40 38/40 40/40 21st November 2008 Coir Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 32/40 40/40 Grass 28/40 8/40 24/40 Lettuce 40/40 16/40 40/40 Peat Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 31/40 33/40 Grass 32/40 20/40 24/40 Lettuce 39/40 10/40 31/40 Loam Optimum Peat Loam Coir Wallflower 40/40 29/40 40/40 Grass 28/40 12/40 16/40 Lettuce 40/40 38/40 40/40 7.2 Second Germination Trial 11th March 2009 Coir Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 5/40 20/40 17/40 Grass 0/40 0/40 0/40 Wallflower 12/40 13/40 22/40 Peat Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 2/40 8/40 17/40 Grass 0/40 0/40 0/40 Wallflower 0/40 5/40 5/40 Loam Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 1/40 4/40 17/40 Grass 0/40 0/40 0/40 Wallflower 2/40 5/40 12/40 16th March 2009 39
  • 40. Coir Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 13/40 25/40 25/40 Grass 1/40 0/40 7/40 Wallflower 18/40 19/40 29/40 Peat Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4/40 18/40 18/40 Grass 0/40 1/40 0/40 Wallflower 0/40 16/40 13/40 Loam Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 3/40 5/40 21/40 Grass 0/40 1/40 1/40 Wallflower 5/40 15/40 14/40 18th March 2009 Coir Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 13/40 26/40 27/40 Grass 2/40 5/40 13/40 Wallflower 20/40 20/40 30/40 Peat Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4/40 20/40 18/40 Grass 0/40 3/40 1/40 Wallflower 0/40 17/40 14/40 Loam Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 3/40 6/40 22/40 Grass 0/40 3/40 1/40 Wallflower 6/40 16/40 16/40 23rd March 2009 Coir Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 10/40 26/40 27/40 Grass 4/40 5/40 14/40 Wallflower 20/40 20/40 30/40 Peat Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 6/40 20/40 14/40 Grass 1/40 2/40 0/40 Wallflower 0/40 15/40 5/40 Loam Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4/40 2/40 23/40 40
  • 41. Grass 0/40 9/40 5/40 Wallflower 2/40 13/40 13/40 25th March 2009 Coir Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 11/40 21/40 22/40 Grass 5/40 5/40 13/40 Wallflower 17/40 17/40 20/40 Peat Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 14/40 21/40 16/40 Grass 5/40 2/40 3/40 Wallflower 0/40 15/40 4/40 Loam Optimum Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4/40 0/40 23/40 Grass 0/40 8/40 2/40 Wallflower 3/40 12/40 5/40 7.3 Growth Progression Key: (H x S) = Height and Spread (of true leaf) - = No germination has occurred as of yet 11th March 2009 Coir Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 2mmx8mm 2mmx5mm 2mmx6mm Grass - - - Wallflower 2mmx9mm 2mmx4mm 2mmx7mm Peat Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 3mmx10mm 2mmx10mm 2mmx9mm Grass - - - Wallflower - 1mmx3mm 1mmx4mm Loam Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 3mmx7mm 1mmx4mm 2mmx4mm 41
  • 42. Grass - - - Wallflower 2mmx4mm 2mmx6mm 2mmx4mm 18th March 2009 Coir Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 9mmx25mm 6mmx15mm 10mmx20mm Grass 18mm 10mm 22mm Wallflower 5mmx25mm 5mmx18mm 5mmx20mm Peat Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4mmx20mm 5mmx18mm 3mmx16mm Grass - 12mm 10mm Wallflower - 4mmx10mm 5mmx9mm Loam Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 5mmx22mm 4mmx20mm 6mmx23mm Grass - 18mm 16mm Wallflower 6mmx10mm 5mmx12mm 6mmx10mm 25th March 2009 Coir Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 8mmx30mm 8mmx22mm 10mmx28mm Grass 20mm 30mm 35mm Wallflower 10mmx20mm 10mmx15mm 15mmx25mm Peat Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 2mmx5mm 8mmx30mm 4mmx15mm Grass 10mm 22mm 15mm Wallflower - 15mmx15mm 2mmx3mm Loam Optimum (H x S) Peat Coir Loam Lettuce 4mmx20mm - 5mmx20mm Grass - 30mm 30mm Wallflower 3mmx12mm 10mmx15mm 3mmx6mm 42
  • 43. 43

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