PEAT AS A PROPAGATING MEDIUM IN NEW ZEALAND
Smith Soil Industries of Auckland, New Zealand, began trading as E.R. Smith Ltd. in 1960. It was then an owner-operated business involved mostly with the supply of various grades of metal to the building industry, and screened topsoil to the horticultural trade. The Company operated from a quarry at Mangere.
The move into the topsoil business was the first step towards forging links with the horticultural trade and with the forming of N.Z. Peat Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary company, whose purpose it was to mine peat at Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains. Following this the step to blending mixes of a U.C. type became apparent.
Using the Hauraki peat and mixing with a suitable grade pumice sand, dredged from the Waikato river at Tuakau the company, which had now changed its name to Smith Soil Industries, began supplying mixes blended to each customer's requirements.
The use of slow-release nutrients became apparent and, with the addition of slow-release trace elements, container plant
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