Q&A: Charles Bethke Answers Your Questions

Charles Bethke weighs in on questions that went unanswered during the hour-long “Managing Through The Peat Shortage” webinar Oct. 18.

Q: What does the p in pH stand for?

A: That’s the negative log of the hydrogen ion activity. It’s a chemical designation for the concentration of hydrogen ions floating around loosely in a solution.

Q:  Please clarify what "incubate the mix" means for folks. Often times they do not wet the mix in this process.

A: When I used incubate I mean moisture the soil to normal use levels and store at use temperatures for two or more weeks. That will give us the impact of the various components in the blend.

Q: Do you expect companies that offer pre made mixes in filled flats, pots or bulk bags to still offer these as in the past or will these higher priced peat based products be short as well?

A: I expect there to develop some shortages of various grades of peat as the season progresses. That will, in turn, result in limits of supplies of high quality blends.

Q: Have you heard of, or worked with, a product called Mojogro. It is a compost product available at retail.  The manufacturer said they can also supply a commercial product. They say we can replace at least 25 percent of the peat in our mix with this product.

A: Some materials have more "mojo" than others. Usually, composted materials can be blended at a rate up to 20 percent with minimal impact, but we need to understand that impact and how it influences the chemical, physical and biological properties of blend.

Q: Regarding time of blending, can you restate the time after which the components/peat fiber can be damaged?

A: Usually, after two minutes but that time depends on the type of blender.

Q: I have been told we will not be able to get any more bark until June 2012. What happened to all the peat? I know the season was short but to run out now before the canning season starts does not make sense.

A: I would suggest you check with other suppliers for bark. The peat shortage arises from a series of perfect storms spaced properly to prevent harvesting and processing.

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