For Peat’s Sake - campaign update
Our campaign to stop the use of peat in gardens and horticulture has got off to a great start. We’ve received over £10k in donations already – and we welcome more. Can you help us to fight the battle against digging up peat for gardeners?
The good news...
We have already heard of nurseries that are promising to go peat free. Three cheers for Edible Culture in Kent; Sunrise Plants in Retford; Nicholsons of Oxfordshire; Radway Bridge in Herefordshire; and Dobies in Devon! We know, that with customer pressure, other retailers will switch to stocking peat free plants and bagged composts.
There are excellent peat alternatives on the market. Yes, some bags are cheap and produce poor results. But if you to choose to spend more, the peat free options can outperform their peat-filled counterparts. At Garden Organic we use Melcourt and Fertile Fibre.
The not so good news...
The gardening industry is dragging its heels over phasing out peat. For too long they have brazenly ignored the government’s voluntary code1, and their potting mixes are still based on high volumes of peat, over 60% of which is imported from Eastern Europe.
They are waiting for a report from the Responsible Sourcing Scheme, which is assessing the credentials of peat and all other growing mediums. However, this report won’t be published until Spring 2021. That’s another 15 months of peat extraction and carbon release.
Why are we fighting for peat?
- Peat bogs are very special ecosystems, home to rare birdlife, plants and insects.
- Peat is also the largest and most efficient land-based store of carbon, one of the planet’s damaging greenhouse gases. Peat bogs store on average 10 times more carbon per hectare than any other eco-system, including forests.
- We have already destroyed or degraded 95% of the UK’s peat bogs.
- Garden plants don't actually need peat, but the gardening industry keeps selling it.
We can help you go peat free in your own growing. Here’s how:
- Make your own potting composts. It’s easy, saves money – and it’s peat free!
- Buy only peat free bagged compost. Not peat reduced or so-called responsibly sourced peat.
- If your retailer doesn’t sell peat free, ask why. We have a template letter/email you might like to send them.
Garden Organic will...
- Put pressure on retailers to stop using peat for their potted plants, and to stop selling peat filled bagged compost. We can only do this with your help! See For Peat’s Sake and Donate now!
- Help growers make their own, peat free, potting compost.
- Create a soil information pack to be sent to schools and gardening clubs
- Link with other peat free campaigns – supported by RHS, National Trust, RSPB and others.
Together, we can save the precious peat bogs and stop gardening’s dirty secret!
1 The 2011 Natural Choice White Paper included an ambition for garden retailers to stop selling bagged peat by 2020. Defra said in 2018's 25 year Environment Plan that it is considering taking action if the industry fails to make ‘sufficient movement’.