Gardeners Growing Media Conference

Some 65 gardeners, many representing plant societies ,parks and allotment associations met at STC on Thursday 16 th Feb (Click Here to view the agenda)
Judging from emails and personal conversations, the speakers and subject matter were given the thumbs up with requests for further events .
Comments in the final open forum were that the information that they were receiving in gardening press  did not match that they had received from the experts on the day . In other words there was spin in the peat debate from all fractions, and it was difficult to assess why they could not buy reliable products and why they were being painted as the leading environment damagers.
Pleas were made for much more information on the packs of compost although Christine Walkden did extract, during her talk , admissions that many gardeners did not read the instructions . Basically they assumed because of the PR that the new composts would behave like peat  and they were not prewarned of the new skills required . Julian Davies reported from his many years trialling that nutrition was a greater problem than watering, and in particular composts based on green compost and to some extend wood residues needed to be freshly made , as the continuing composting process during distribution chain wrapped up the nitrogen . He warned about buying  wet and heavy bags and he preferred garden centres where composts were stored under cover . There were questions on how gardeners could contact Defra to express their views on Government Policy .
Comments and Thanks from conference delegates.
”Dear Sirs,
On behalf of my wife and myself I would like to thank you for hosting such an interesting day last week on growing composts.
The choices for amateur gardeners are now quite bewildering, and there is always the possibility that the growing medium will either kill or restrict the growth of one’s cherished plants. So it was really useful to have good information from experts on current developments, and how to get the best from what is on offer. It was what we had been needing for a long time.
I cannot speak too highly of the quality of the presenters, the arrangements and the hospitality, and you and the sponsors deserve our grateful thanks.”
”Dear Ann,
I wish to express my appreciation to you, your team and the sponsors for a great event yesterday; first class Yorkshire hospitality again (I suspect, managed on a ‘shoestring budget’) to back-up a well arranged series of talks and discussions.
It is good to know that STC, like the earlier Stockbridge House E.H.S., is such a well oiled machine looking after the interests of the professional and amateur horticulturists of this country.
Thank you again.”
”Dear Ann,
Thank you for an excellent conference yesterday – I found all the speakers very interesting.
Thank you for the constant supply of tea and coffee and for lunch too – it was much appreciated.”
”Dear Ann

We would just like to say how very much we enjoyed todays conference and to thank STC very much for staging it.  There were so many very learned people involved but everything was presented so clearly that although we are no wiser as to what to use, we feel at least we are well informed as to the various issues involved with current happenings in the compost debate.
 We hope you will have  more of these days ,aimed at the ordinary gardener and hope we get chance to attend.
 Thank you and all in the team very much”