PBH Growing Medium Material is a parboiled rice hull amendment and a sustainable replacement for perlite in the growing media. This processed rice hull product from Riceland Foods Inc. is a renewable resource and is very lightweight. PBH is highly compressed when packaged, requiring less storage, handling and freight, and is available in standard or bulk bale. This product is sized, cleaned and subjected to a series of heat treatments that sterilize the rice hulls and render any residual rice kernels, weed seeds or disease pathogens non-viable. The parboiling process includes steeping in water at a temperature higher than 140ËšF, steaming under pressure to temperatures above 212ËšF and hot-air drying at 500ËšF.
Recommended PBH usage is 10 to 30 percent of the total growing media, and it should be added last during the blending process. PBH decomposes naturally, but will not do so during the normal production cycle of greenhouse or container-grown nursery stock.
Melinda Rudd, of Ernst Conservation Seeds in Meadville, Pa., has been using PBH Growing Medium Material for more than two years and she has been happy with the results her plants have shown with the product.
“Our carex species exhibited better root development in the PBH-amended mix, while other species we grow showed equal to better root development,” Rudd says.
Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, N.J., trialed PBH because it’s a renewable resource and natural by-product. “During the trials, we produced crops that were every bit as good as what we had been growing or even slightly better,” says head grower Joe Moore. The greenhouse now uses PBH in all spring bedding plants, fall crops and 6-inch poinsettias. “An added bonus was the fact that it is relatively dust free in the soil mixing process, especially when compared to perlite,” Moore says.