With around 180,000 crops in container production, North Branch Nursery needs a growing media that is reliable and adaptable. While most of their 300-some acres in production is field-grown material, container production increases every year, says Dave Wichman, container production manager. Wichman mixes all the growing media himself, and he uses Lambert’s ECOPEAT in every mix.
“One of the biggest advantages [of mixing my own media is], if I want to tweak the mix a little bit on my own, I can do it. If I want a different mix for trees versus shrubs or if I have plants that might need more acidic soil, I can change the fertility,” he says. Wichman incorporates Lambert’s ECOPEAT mix, EPM 20, into all these various needs.
“About two years ago, we switched over from regular peat mix to the ECOPEAT. It has great properties: good porosity, because there’s larger particles, sticks and things in it. You still have the finer particles for holding water, helping conserve moisture. [We use it] right across the board. Anything that is grown in containers has ECOPEAT in it,” Wichman explains.
North Branch Nursery grows some 700 varieties of perennials, many of which have different production needs.
“This EPM 20 is doing what we want it to do,” he adds.
ECOPEAT has many uses. As a standalone product, apply it as a topcoat on large pots to repel birds or as a weed barrier, and use it as a topcoat to retain moisture. ECOPEAT Mixes (EPM) are designed to balance air space and water-holding capacity, with superior longevity and minimal shrinkage. ECOPEAT blended with Lambert’s sphagnum peat moss quickly drains excess water from containers, has good water-holding capacity, adds stability for large container production and is available in 3.8 cu ft, 55 cu ft, 120 cu ft compressed bales and 3.0, cu ft loose fill bags.
When it came to finding ECOPEAT, Wichman thanks Lambert’s exceptional sales team. “We trialed two or three different [mixes] at least, through recommendations from a Lambert’s salesman who I’ve known since the ‘80s. He made suggestions, ‘why don’t we try this one, this one, this one.’ So, we did and watched them for a year or so. That was how I determined which one of the mixes I ended up using for perennial production,” he says. He continued describing Lambert’s exceptional service, saying, “We get really prompt delivery of their material. It seems to fit our program very well as far as how we water. Compared to other nurseries, some are 10 times the size of us, but Lambert still takes care of us very well.”
Lambert’s ECOPEAT growing media is designed to work for a wide variety of crops, and North Branch Nursery’s use of it is testimony to its versatility and quality. EPM 20 is an all-purpose mix that may lead to success at your nursery, as well.