Peat has been a major component of compost sold in UK garden centers since the 1960s, although it’s actually not that nutritious to plants. The reason this spongy lawn is sought after by gardeners is because it can hold both water and air, and is generally pest and disease free. This makes peat the perfect environment for seeds to germinate and form strong roots.
But few know that the peat compost people bought for their gardens each spring took thousands of years to form. Peat is extracted from bogs, moors and swamps and is the partially decomposed residue of ancient plants and animals. Contain peatlands in Europe five times more carbon As forests and peat that is a nuisance for agriculture or harvesting for compost, it releases CO₂ into the atmosphere and accelerates climate change.
The UK government plans to ban the use of peat among amateur gardeners by 2024. It was originally hoped that garden centers in England would voluntarily stop selling peat products by 2020. However, peat is a cheap resource and exchanging it for compost made from alternatives makes little financial sense for these companies without binding regulation. As a result, peat still makes up round 35% of all compost sales – an increase of 9% in 2020 alone.
With the proposed ban and a commitment to restore 35,000 hectares of moorland nationwide by the following year, retailers can no longer delay the transition to peat-free compost. Fortunately for green-fingered consumers, the evidence suggests that more environmentally friendly compost will still keep gardens blooming.
Peat-free compost mixes
Research into the search for peat substitutes began in the 1970s when the environmental impact of peatland destruction in Britain was a matter of concern. The first generation of compost alternatives were often made from composted waste such as grass and tree waste from parks and gardens (known as green waste), food processing by-products such as spent brewing grain and animal manure.
These composts were inconsistent for several reasons. The mixes were often changed from one year to the next, making it difficult for gardeners to adapt. Many contained more nutrients than some plants needed, and the physical structure of some alternatives was very different from peat, necessitating changing the irrigation regime of plants, which was confusing for amateur gardeners. At the time, these composts were mainly retailed to the general public, which disappointed many who were used to working with peat. This promoted long-term resistance to peat alternatives.
We are calling for permanent changes that ensure that trash and those responsible are treated far more seriously.
Together with our community platform InYourArea and the campaign group Clean Up Britain, we are calling for the fixed fine for anyone caught in the garbage to be increased to GBP 1,000 and for local authorities to be obliged to comply with the law on what is already Garbage is enforcing offense.
Recent research A new generation of compost has been discovered under the guidance of producers, professional growers and consultants. Various materials – especially bark, wood, and coconut fiber – can be mixed into composts that Performance as well as peat. This new phase of research looked closely at how different materials work together in mixtures and pushed manufacturers to reduce the amount of green waste they use and the quality of which tends to vary.
A project tested these various blends of bark, coconut, and wood fiber and found that these blends can effectively replace peat in everything from sowing seeds to growing young plants to larger ornamental and berry crops. A detailed analysis of each material’s ability to hold water and air in the required proportions, as well as their ability to drain, resulted in a formula that can predict how different materials will perform in a given mix and help manufacturers produce composts of reliable quality to develop.
Although most of the recent research has been to test the performance of peat-free mixes under Conditions for commercial nurseriesThere’s no reason why amateur gardeners shouldn’t have the same level of success.
New mixtures of peat-free composts are already available in garden centers. New Horizon, a mixture of clay and plant fibers, has many peat based brands oversold. Unfortunately only one of 20 retailers announced plans to eliminate peat from their stores within the year.
Renewed government pressure and increased consumer awareness could lead to broader action. A new responsible sourcing scheme within the horticultural industry will help ensure that new compost mixtures also meet the agreed sustainability standards in terms of their procurement and production. The prerequisites have been created for bags of peat-based compost to disappear from garden centers. However, the transition to peat-free gardening depends on gardeners sharing their experiences on how to get the best possible results from new peat-free products.