The growing media in the nursery: agronomic requirements and environmental and economic sustainability – by Renato Ferretti

DAYS TECHNICAL SOI in 2015 were held at the CRA-VIV Pescia on 27-28 May 2015 in fact organized by CRA-VIV (Research Unit for the nursery and the management of green environment and ornamental) and SOI (Italian Society of Horticulture ) with the punctual and pleasant direction of Dr. Daniel Massa and Dr. Gianluca Burchi.

The primary objective of the Technical Seminars SOI has been to provide a broad view of the possibilities and potential of the subjects covered, proposing solutions and providing factual information and transferred to the working world.

The first day was devoted to technical visits to Pistoia Nurserey Park Vannucci Plants and all’Agraria Checchi leader of the District for the production of substrates customized for different nurseries.
The nursery is in Italy (in value) 5% of the national agricultural production and contributes 14% to the formation of European flower production. The province of Pistoia is the heart of the Italian nursery and affects over 5,200 hectares, with 1,500 hectares of pot plants, 1,500 companies and over 5,500 direct employees (2,500 employees) in addition to industries, the PLV is over 300 million euros which exported 160.

Substrates
The substrates are defined as “material other than soils in situ where plants are grown.” A Pistoia is estimated consumption of growing media of approximately 600,000 cubic meters / year, while in Italy the consumption of more than five million cubic meters / year.
The culture substrate influence: the absorption of the mineral elements and the availability of water and air and determines the development of a more or less balanced root system.
The raw materials are usually mixed according to specific doses.
The global sustainability is directly linked to the limitation of the impoverishment of stocks of raw materials and the reduction of CO2 emissions related to their use.
The substrate is now a key component of the nursery production process and it affects both the quality and the economic result.
Research must consider all plant-substrate-container in respect of each production process and the target market of the finished product.