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The Sustainable Flowers Podcast:

A conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing between two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.

Heather and Clara grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies.  In this podcast they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Looking to the past and to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

Feb 16, 2019

Thanks for joining us this week as we discuss one of the key components of most potting mixes: peat.

This is the time of year that we start seeding or start planning to do our seeding, and seeding usually involves using some sort of potting media or mix. Most potting mixes contain peat moss.  But have you ever wondered what peat is and where it comes from?

Well, in this episode we chat about this miraculous organic material, and why we should be thinking about it every time we pot something up, and perhaps why we need to look at alternatives. 

We cover:

  • what is peat,
  • why peatlands are important,
  • how it is extracted,
  • why we use it and,
  • current trends with respect to its use 

References used to inform our discussion included but were not limited to:

Appleby, M. 2018. Is peat still a hot issue in horticulture?

Barrett et. al. 2016.  Achieving environmentally sustainable growing media for soilless plant cultivation systems – A review. Scientia Horticulturae Volume 212, 22 November 2016, Pages 220-234

Devito, K. C. Mendoza, C. Qualizza. 2012. Conceptualizing water movement in the Boreal Plain. Implications for watershed reconstruction.

Foss, Krista (2004). Our Lady of the Bog.  Canadian Geographic ; Ottawa Vol. 124, Iss. 4, (Jul/Aug 2004): 88,90-92,94-96

Hinterland Who's Who on Peatlands

Moore, Peter.D. 2002. The Future of Cool Temperate Bogs. Environmental Conservation 29 (1): 3–20.  2002

Zhu Z.C. 2012. Northern Peatland Carbon Stocks and Dynamics. A Review. Biogeosciences, 9, 4071–4085, 2012.

If you live in the Edmonton, Alberta area, or are planning on a visit in the near future- here is the link telling you about the Wagner Bog that Clara referred to in the recording- its actually a fen, but its still a peatland-- and SO SO worth a a visit.


 Week 3 - January 23, 2019: This week on our farms 

Heather is hosting a dried flower wreath workshop this week.  She has started cold stratifying her perennial seeds that need it. 

Clara, with the help of her friend Laura sorted all of her seeds, but still hasn't got her perennial seeds that need cold stratification outside yet!  Needs to happen this week.  Clara's lisis have germinated.  Time to sprinkle water on her dahlia tubers that are in cold storage, to prevent dessication. 

Our theme music was composed and performed by Heather's son Callum, and the challenging job of audio editing was completed by the brilliant Laura Eccleston.