The discussion around the use of peat in our gardens has been going on for a while. In this post we aim to create a short summary to explain the peat problem and also offer some solutions and alternative products to try and combat it.
The peat issue
When you are faced with the many different compost options at the garden centre you will notice lots of them contain peat as a component in the mixes. Peat is a natural material that can be found in peat bogs. Peat bogs are intentionally rare habitats that support a wide range of wildlife. When it rains the peat bogs can soak up all the rainfall and release it slowly helping to mitigate flooding. Peat bogs also help to store a lot of carbon, for example the peat bogs in the UK store tree billion toons of carbon. This is more carbon that the carbon that is stored in the forests in Germany, France and the UK put together. In order to extract peat from the peat bogs to use in compost it needs to be dug up. the process of digging up peat flows oxygen to get in it and therefore allows the carbon that was stored in the bog to enter the atmosphere. This then will go onto harm the environment.
What to do
The solution is simple, when you are in the garden centre buy compost that says peat free. Most big garden centres will have a peat free option somewhere. A good brand to look for is Dalefoot Compost a British company based in the Lake District that just sells peat free!
However, some people may feel that they want to be even more environmentally conscious and make their own. This is incredibly easy to do just put all your grass cuttings, plant cuttings, hedge cuttings, food waste on a heap leave it to root down and then you get fantastic compost for free!
By stopping buying peat composts you are helping the environment and biodiverse wildlife habitats. What could be a better thing to do for our planet!