Quality control for consistency of supply
A truly scientifically-defined product is crucial to achieving optimal and reliable growing conditions
Pacific Organics is the only supplier of a truly defined product. The key elements requiring definition for the nursery market include both physical and chemical properties (pH and soluble salts). The key physical properties include particle size gradation, bulk density, total porosity, (% of air), air space (% of air after water saturation and drainage), container capacity (% of water after water saturation and drainage), and moisture content (% water after saturation). We test every load to ensure specifications are met every time.
Our 5-step quality control
Step 1: Homogenization
Turning of pine bark windrows ensures sufficient oxygen and water is available throughout the material.
Anaerobic bark impairs wetability and creates low pH, excessive soluble salts, and potential phytotoxic effects. It is therefore vital to turn windrows to eliminate ‘bad batches’ and ensure consistent quality.
Step 2: Measure pH and EC
Plant roots can only absorb nutrients that are in solution (dissolved). pH effects the solubility of nutrients: too high and roots can’t take up sufficient nutrients, too low and nutrients are absorbed to toxic concentrations.
EC indicates soluble salt level and is also referred to as TDS (Total Dissolved Salts) or salinity. All nutrients are salts, so EC is a measure of nutrient levels.
Step 3: Test wetability
Wetability is a measure of how efficiently a potting mix takes up water. This has important repercussions on your irrigation program.
Low wetability means longer irrigation times are needed to make sufficient water available to plant roots and more nutrients are washed away. Water efficiency isn’t just a big cost saver, it’s becoming a regulatory and environmental imperative.
Step 4: Greenhouse testing
Greenhouse testing is used to screen for the presence of weed and grass seed contamination.
Step 5: Porometer Testing
All finished product rows are monitored to ensure they meet target physical properties (Total Porosity, Container Capacity, Air Space, and Bulk Density). As a result, our customers know they are getting the same high performance mix on every load.
Step 6: Volume accuracy
With Pacific Organics you get exactly what you order. All the previous steps in our quality control process ensure you consistently get material with optimal physical and chemical properties.
The final step is just as important. Accurate cross referencing of unit weights to declared shipping volumes ensure you’re getting what you paid for.
Why strict quality control matters
The number 1 frustration most nurserymen we talk to have with potting mix is unpredictability
Unpredictability comes in 2 flavors – unstable products with rapidly-changing characteristics, and variations from batch to batch. This makes it hard to maintain optimal growing conditions, manage irrigation and fertilizing programs, or predict yields and growth times.
Combating unpredictability is why the focus at Pacific Organics is on producing a stable, well-defined product you know will always deliver high performance. To achieve this we have assembled the right facilities, processes, and knowledgeable team.
Knowledge base articles
Read the latest advice, information and tips from the Pacific Organics knowledge base: