The alternatives to peat compost

Meeting both growers’ and ‘net zero’/sustainability criteria.

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For some years now, there has been a lot of interest in peat moors – and their importance:

Futures Forum: Peat – between the moor and the garden – and the climate

A year ago we looked at ‘peat-free compost’:

Using peat-free compost – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And there was big news back in May:

The UK government plans to ban peat use among amateur gardeners by 2024. It had originally hoped garden centres in England would voluntarily stop selling peat-based products by 2020. But peat is a cheap resource and swapping it for compost made from alternatives makes little financial sense for these companies without binding regulation. As a result, peat still accounts for around 35% of all compost sales – an increase of 9% in 2020 alone.

With the proposed ban and a pledge to restore 35,000 hectares of peatland across the country by the year after, retailers can no longer delay the transition to peat-free compost. Happily for green-fingered consumers, evidence suggests more ecologically benign compost can still keep gardens blooming beautifully.

Peat compost to be banned – luckily, green alternatives are just as good for your garden

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A ban on peat compost for gardeners has been in discussion for years. Image Bernd Thaller.

There has been quite a spat, however, as reported by the Sun:

GARDENERS’ World host Monty Don has hit back at viewers after he was slammed for “celebrating” a ban on a a gardening essential… But the TV host was adamant the right change was being made: “There are already a number of different, widely available peat-free composts. There will be more. Climate change knows no national boundaries – we all have to do as much as we can, here and now.”

Gardeners’ World’s Monty Don hits back after being slammed by viewers for ‘celebrating’ ban on garden essential

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And indeed, we have to do what we can.

Here’s a recent piece from Dr Aurélie Bovi, writing for the UK Agri-Tech Centre CHAP:

With the UK about to host the UN global climate change summit COP26 in Glasgow later this year, and ambitious net-zero emissions targets, the pressure on accelerating the ban on the sale of all peat-containing substrates to gardeners is mounting.

Can alternatives to peat meet industry needs and net zero targets? – CHAP

And here she is this week giving us part two of her series:

Here in part two, she examines the currently available alternatives and their suitability to meet both growers and ‘net zero’/sustainability criteria.

Five horticultural peat-alternatives: how sustainable are they? – CHAP

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photo: Government hails ‘net zero for nature’ | Wicked Leeks

   
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