Peat Extraction Pollutes, Gardening with Peat Free Compost

Spring is in the air, well almost, two weeks to go, gardeners are a bit antsy. Ready to get to work on their new projects or giving another try to last year's failed attempt.

Now that the word is out that Peat based compost pollutes will they return recent Peat purchases to their Garden Centers?

In the UK, there is a public campaign going on.

Martin Hickman reports in Gardeners urged to stop using peat-based compost (Independent, March 9) that "Diarmuid Gavin, star of the BBC's Gardeners' World has been drafted in by the Government as they try to persuade the public to stop using peat compost".

He also notes that "peat's extraction in the UK not only disturbs rare wildlife but also releases an estimated million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year."

Who needs convincing? The author writes that in the UK "around 70 per cent of peat is used in horticulture, much by amateur gardeners who have long considered it the best way of encouraging plant growth. It is rich in nutrients, being made up of partially decomposed plant material that has not decayed fully because of local conditions."

I am not sure what the use and negative effects are in other countries around the globe.

What alternatives do gardeners have?

Would it help if we all started composting?

Since it would not generate enough compost to replace peat based products, what options do we have?

In the UK, The Compost Shop offers Organic Peat Free Compost which they describe as follows:

"Made from recycled garden cuttings and tree surgeons waste, this waste would previously have been sent to landfill sites, it is now being recycled by us into a quality and versatile peat substitute. In switching to peat free compost you are not only helping to reduce landfill but you are also reducing the destruction of peat beds which have taken many hundreds and thousands of years to form."

I found a few titles from Timber Press like Let it Rot 'The gardener's guide to composting'  (called a classic) that might help you do the switch.

Andrea Bellamy of Heavy Petal gave us the Low Down on Green Manure (October 2008) and On February 15, 2010 thanked the mild weather in Vancouver (while Perpignan gets snowed in) for allowing her to grow veggies throughout the winter months (picture below, from her piece).


Seems like this Peat Free public debate is happening mostly if not exclusively in the UK.

Feel free to prove me wrong.

In the garden for Green Day # 118

Previously: Foodprint, Where's that Food in my Plate Coming From

Previous Post

Enoteca Winebar, Geneva with a Front Rhone View, A Bistro A Day, March 8

Mar 8
I thought of Sweden first for this stop The language barrier threw me a wrench. Following the alphabet not far down the list is Switzerland so here we are in Geneva for A Bistro A Day, March 8. Geneva is rich in options with a good wine list but I decided when I started A Bistro A Day to make my life difficult by trying to stick to the homey casual types. Graced with a...
Next Post

Stone Ground and Granular, Taza Chocolate, A Sensory Experience

Mar 9
A visit to Oaxaca in 2005 gave Alex Whitmore a chance to discover "the pre-Columbian ritual of “xocolātl” in Latin America, and the customs that surrounded the transformation of cacao into a drink." The experience led him a year later to start Taza Chocolate with Larry Slotnick. What attracted me to Taza in the first place was their Coin like Chocolate Mexicano which stands out from the crowd of tablets. I was curious enough to...