How Agaris is helping build more sustainable growing media

Horti-BlueC is an inter-regional research project studying how commercial strawberry and tomato cultivation can be made more sustainable by, for example, using local, circular and renewable raw materials in the substrates. Agaris is, as the only substrate producer, one of the 9 International partners involved in the project.


Based on the knowledge that horticulture generates residual materials that are difficult to recycle, various researchers, universities and companies from Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom joined forces to launch the Horti-BlueC project on 2 February 2018. 

Agaris as a partner

As a substrate producer, Agaris has many years of experience in the development and production of professional substrates for, among other things, the cultivation of strawberries. This knowledge and expertise is of course handy during the course of this project. “Our starting point is a typical commercial substrate commonly used for strawberries,” explains Jeroen De Zaeytijd, Innovation Manager at Agaris. “We investigated alternative raw materials, such as compost and wood fibre, to see how they could be integrated into the composition of the substrate without sacrificing quality or performance. We carried out lab analyses to map the chemical and physical characteristics of the alternative substrates.” To obtain reliable results, the newly-developed substrates were tested in various cultivation trials at project partner locations, such as Proefcentrum Hoogstraten and ADAS. For the demanding, long-term cultivation of perennial strawberries, the new compositions had similar performance to the classic strawberry substrate. In addition, changes to the watering and fertilisation process were not required when compared to the reference substrate. And so, the research shows that there are high-quality alternatives to traditional professional substrates. 

The future

Would you like to learn more about this research? Be sure to follow the Horti-BlueC webinar on 9 November 2021. Our Innovation Manager, Jeroen De Zaeytijd, who has been very closely involved in the project, will speak from 2:10pm. He will discuss, among other things, the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative raw materials and substrate compositions in more detail. 
You can register via this link. 

Would you like to know more about this project? You can read more about it at the Horti-BlueC website.