6 minute read

A Boost for peat free growing

There’s no doubt that users of peat-free growing media have had to adapt their watering and feeding regimes to achieve results comparable with the tried and tested peat-based products they have used for decades. Faced with the phasing out of peat by 2024, Westland have addressed the challenges with the launch of Boost, a totally new plant feed. We invited category manager Helen Amos to tell us more…

GTN: Boost is marketed as an allpurpose liquid plant feed – but presumably it’s designed to be more than ‘just another fertiliser’.

HA: Without doubt, Boost is far more than ‘just another fertiliser.’ I truly believe it to be game changing. The ‘All-Purpose’ statement is to aid our consumers so that they know it can be used across the garden in all their beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets. The reality is that Boost has been designed to take plant food to a whole new level. It is the first feed optimised for both peat and peat-free composts and is a major step forward in the world of plant feeds.

From a consumer perspective it meets their needs; guaranteeing four times more blooms and more fruits and vegetables compared to watering alone. This is thanks to the perfect blend of high-quality nutrients and an extra boost of potassium. It is also engineered through our unique water management system to almost eliminate leaching, making it better for the environment, which has the added benefit of making it faster and easier to water. We have named this ‘Plantsense technology™.’

Boost also has an easy-squeeze dosing system, so application is faster and more efficient which is particularly important for drier peat free mixes. We are advising consumers to add a squeeze every time you water, making it more habitual. By simply adding Boost to the watering can, consumers can easily achieve their aspirations.

GTN: Is it fair to assume that many consumers expected peat-free growing media to behave in the same way as their

Plantsense technology™ works to guarantee four times more blooms

peat-based counterparts but have been disappointed with the results?

HA: My view is that our consumers’ knowledge of peat and peat-free growing media varies greatly. However, whatever their understanding, one thing remains a constant: the three moments of truth. Consumers want clarity of messaging as they look at the front and back of the bag. When they open it, they want it to look right, and most importantly they want great results. Whether

a consumer is disappointed depends greatly on the quality of the peat-free media and it is certainly more variable than peat alone. For over 15 years, Westland has been at the forefront of peat replacement with continued investment in our highly effective peat alternative technology. This focus, along with our ongoing commitment not to use green waste, ensures Westland’s growing media are of the highest consistency and deliver sector-leading performance for gardeners. By offering a range of composts and soil solutions that provide gardeners with high-quality peat alternatives, we can highlight the fact that those sustainable choices can achieve first class results and will not leave our consumers disappointed. Boost makes water GTN: What feedback has Westland had wetter almost from users so far on their experience with eliminating leaching to save water and promote better products like New Horizon? HA: New Horizon is setting new standards growth. in peat-free compost. Its unique blend, made from BIO3, is delivering market leading results in terms of sales growth, product performance and consumer feedback. GTN: Do you think Boost will speed up the acceptance of peat-free media so that the government’s target for phasing out peat altogether by 2024 can be met?

HA: The challenge still, is that we need a sensible roadmap that delivers the transition over a reasonable timescale. What I can say, is that Boost has been designed to get the best feeding results from both peat and peat-free growing media, which in turn ensures that all consumers continue to get the best success they can.

GTN: What exactly is Plantsense technology and how does it work?

HA: Plantsense technology™ is Boost’s unique formulation, engineered to meet the needs of the plant. It has an optimised ratio of high-quality nutrients with a boost of potassium to help with disease and stress tolerance, aid the nitrogen uptake and deliver an abundance of flowers, fruits and veg. The nitrogen source has a combination of fast acting and sustained release N, and no nitrates, making it less susceptible to leaching, more available for the plant and better for the

Production of Boost for 2022 deliveries starts in the new year with a TV campaign launched in May. environment. There is a full trace element package and an advanced seaweed source acting as a natural bio stimulant. Finally, there is our unique water management system, which effectively ‘makes water wetter’! This almost eliminates leaching, making it better for the environment and is much faster and easier to water.

GTN: Is it optimised to work with New Horizon?

HA: Boost is designed to work on all peat and peat-free composts, and all soil types. This is even more pertinent as the peat content in many composts is reduced or removed altogether. It is now more important than ever to choose a plant feed that works in all growing media types. Ensuring your plants receive the correct levels of nutrients and water is particularly important in peat-free composts. Boost has been formulated with the perfect blend of nutrients and a unique water management technology to work in peat-free composts to ensure nutrients and water are continuously available to maintain healthy plants. Producing four times more blooms compared to watering alone, this revolutionary product makes application faster and more effective. GTN: What about ericaceous mixes?

HA: Boost contains a combination of available nutrients and naturally complexed trace elements to ensure availability in all soils types and pH levels – ensuring optimum nutrient uptake for ericaceous plants too. In addition, the Plantsense technology utilises specific nitrogen sources in order to maintain pH levels around the rootzone and avoid increases in pH that can occur with nitrate based fertilisers. This means that Boost is, I believe, the only all-purpose feed that is actually ‘all -purpose’, making it simpler for consumers.

GTN: You claim it will produce 4 x more flowers? What’s the secret?

HA: Plantsense technology™ works in such a way to guarantee four times more blooms, which is a claim we developed through 4 years of trials work with NIAB.

GTN: Will you be issuing specific advice to users explaining that peat-free composts generally need a different approach to watering and feeding? In other words, re-educate the consumer?

HA: We will be working hard to reeducate the consumer. That’s why this conversation today is so important because it is our job to help consumers understand the changing environment and how important feeding their plants is going to be. As well as messaging on POS, it will be an important part of our online training platform for centre staff, available from January next year.

GTN: Will you be offering retailers POS material to emphasise the issue?

HA: Yes, we are in the process of creating informative POS material to support our growing media and feeds portfolio to explain what is changing, and the implications to the consumer. A £1.5 million advertising campaign including TV will be launched in May.