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the magic of mycorrhizal

Mycorrhizal? Let’s start with a more common word: symbiosis. We’ve all heard of that: where two different organisms live in a long-term relationship, usually (but not necessarily) benefitting each other. That’s pretty much what mycorrhizae are all about – a symbiotic association between a fungus (Greek: mykes) and a plant’s roots (Greek: rhiza). And in this case the partnership is mutually beneficial. The fungus supplies water and nutrients from the soil to the plant. In return, the plant supplies sugars by photosynthesis to the fungus.   We’re not done with Scrabble-busting words yet. A plant’s primary root system is called its rhizosphere. Mycorrhizal fungi augment this rhizosphere by providing a whole secondary root system for the plant, extending their filaments...

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re-using your coir compost

Who’d have thought you’d get so much from the humble coconut! Not only can you eat the white fleshy bits, drink its water, use its scent for cosmetics and lotions, turn its fibres into coir matting and, best of all, sustainably sourced compost (we would say that wouldn’t we), you can actually re-use the compost so that you get two bites of the cherry.   The secret is in its make-up. The premium coir we use in For Peat’s Sake consists of varied sizes of fibre, giving our compost a sturdy structure. This allows for good air circulation and water movement within the coir, preventing it compacting and starting to rot. This means that it’s much less likely to harbour...

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what is peat?

Peat is one of the world’s most valuable natural resources. Not in immediate monetary terms like oil but if you consider the future of our planet, peat is priceless. And peat’s value, unlike oil, relies on humans leaving it where it is – in the bogs where it was formed. Its role as a carbon store is what makes it so crucial to our future. The world’s peat bogs hold more carbon than the forests of Britain, Germany and France combined. Peat has several other benefits vital to nature. Many scarce species of flora and fauna live in peatlands without which they would not survive. This is a direct result of peat’s ability to retain water, holding up to 20...

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do houseplants absorb car fumes?

Boffins at the University of Birmingham have made the welcome discovery that common houseplants suck up nitrogen dioxide (NO2) produced by traffic outside, thereby reducing air pollution in homes and offices. According to the Daily Telegraph, the researchers set up a test chamber containing levels of nitrogen dioxide equivalent to those in a building next to a busy road and placed either a peace lily, corn plant or fern arum inside. In a one-hour test, the team established that the plants could remove about 50% of the pollutant in the chamber. From this they extrapolated that five plants could reduce the pollutant in a poorly ventilated office by 20%.   Nitrogen dioxide is produced when fuel is burned and is...

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