Just this week we are starting to see stacks of potting compost bags in the supermarkets – mostly on some kind of offer. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that they include peat, taken from the UK’s valuable peat bogs. By grabbing those cheap bags of compost, we are unwittingly contributing to the destruction of the UK’s valuable peatlands – essential for our fight against climate change.
So why is peat used in our potting compost? It has a great ability to retain water and nutrients so is a very good growing medium. Home gardeners use 66% of peat use in the UK, which is used for growing seeds, potting on plants and any container growing.
So why is peat use in compost being banned? This is mainly because peatlands are a unique landscape and wildlife habitat, and are essential for storing carbon and water. So far, 94 per cent of the UK’s lowland raised peatbogs, one of our rarest and most vulnerable habitats, have been lost. There are just 6,000 hectares in pristine or near-natural condition left.
Although the Government plans to ban peat use for gardening by 2024, the Wildlife Trust is calling for an immediate ban to protect our remaining peatlands.
It is possible to buy peat-free compost but it is definitely more expensive and often sourced from independent garden centres, so not as easily available. I would recommend trying to make your own growing compost where ever possible – which you can do by mixing your garden compost from the compost bin, along with sharp sand and horticultural grit. If you’re planting an established plant (as opposed to seeds) then you should add a slow release fertiliser.
This is a very good article from The Ecologist for further reading:
And this is a really guide to making your own compost:
Best of Houzz
We are pleased to announce that for the fifth consecutive year, WM Design has been awarded a Best of Houzz award. Houzz brings together the best garden and home consultants and brands in one network.
You can see our Houzz profile here:
I love reading Alys Fowler’s writing about gardening and this recent article is an excellent reminder to get some tomato seeds started. Tomatoes are one of the favourite home planting produce as you only need a small space for a few plants. You can’t beat both the smell of tomato plants and the sweet explosion of popping them straight into your mouth from the plant.
Read the article here: