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How to get the best out of our substrates

March 20, 2020

Compressed peat based growing media require some loosening and preparation before taking them into use.

In this article you learn about the best ways to store Kekkilä Professional substrates, how to check the product quality upon arrival and how to best prepare the substrate for use. If you don’t feel like reading today, you can also watch this video in which we summarised all our tips!

Handeling the packages

Most of our substrates are packed in plastic packages and pallets. These packages are sensitive to tearing when handled incorrectly. During loading and unloading most damages might occur, so make sure to handle them with care.

Pay extra attention when moving high stacked pallets. They can become unstable during shipment, which can cause bales, or entire pallets to fall down when opening the container doors. Make sure to keep an eye on the top of the pallets when moving them, as hitting the roof might cause the pallet to tip over, or the wrapping to tear.

Also, please take care of yourself and your co-workers when handeling the, often quite heavy, products. Our compressed XL bales for example, are heavy (50-55Kg / bale) and must be handled by 2 persons.

Storing the products

Kekkilä Professional substrates are peat-based products. Peat is a natural, organic material and contains naturally occurring microorganisms. These natural microorganisms will continue to be active in the substrate after production, which is beneficial to your plants. Some natural microorganisms are help prevent fungal diseases and assist in producing healthy and strong plants. Do you want to learn more about these beneficial little helpers in peat? Have a look at this article.

It’s important to keep in mind that peat contains these living organisms when storing the packages. If the products are stored in direct sunlight the temperatures in the substrate rise. This causes the action of the microbes to accelerate. Because the substrate is still in it’s package this will induce the loss of nitrogen.

Humidity, on the other hand, can cause problems with mould growth. So, follow these rules to make sure the products will maintain optimal quality:

  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • Store away from potential contaminations
  • Protect from direct sunlight (preferably store in dark storage area)
  • Make sure to take the product into use withing three moths after receiving the products.

Taking the growing media into use

Make sure to check the following points of attention when you want to start using your Kekkilä Professional products.

Check upon arrival

Before using the product, we recommend to always conduct an arrival check ensuring that:

  • The product received (product code and name printed at the side of the bale) matches with the delivery note / ordered product
  • EC (Electrical Conductivity) and pH are in line with the declaration when you take the substrate into use
  • The product is as expected for the specific growing requirements
  • The product physically appears as expected and has a natural and normal smell
    Do you discover a bad odour? Have a look at this article to see what to do.

Loosening the bales

Substrates in compressed bales (XL or Maxi-bale)  require some loosening and preparation before taking the product into use.

Loosen the bales with care before use, and make sure to add water to the substrate. Add approximately 15–25 litres of water per XL Bale, or 350–500 litres per Maxi Bale. The addition of water aids the formation of peat granules and is necessary for obtaining the optimal out-turn volume of peat. This secures the optimal filling and structure of peat substrates.

You can either loosen compressed peat substrates manually or mechanically.

Watch this shorter video to see it done:

Handle peat products with care, and avoid long periods of mixing or milling. This is particularly important for products that contain coarser fractions of peat where excessive loosening and mixing will break up the peat fractions into finer particles and the desired texture is lost.

Adding nutrients

Nutrient levels in substrates may decrease during storage time. In order to avoid any problems with a low nutrient content within the mixture we always recommend to add a water-soluble NPK fertilizer before use, or at the latest at the beginning of growing.

Frozen products

We produce your Kekkilä Professional products in places with very low temperatures during winter time (from November to April approximately). Packed substrates coming out of the factory may freeze soon after production (before loading for shipment). They might be frozen when they arrive at your premises. The freezing and thawing processes will not affect the quality at all. You only need to make sure the products is entirely defrosted when you take it into use and the temperature levels are okay for your crops.

Contact your distributor