Page 35 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 35

 Do you buy peat-free compost?
Earlier this year the Department
for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that the horticultural industry will be expected to phase out peat use by 2030. There had been a voluntary scheme in place that aimed to banish peat by 2020, but that deadline has passed and there is still widespread use of peat in growing medium.
You may be wondering exactly why we need to stop harvesting peat, so here are a few facts and figures gleaned from Dalefoot Composts, who, as well as making peat-free compost, help to restore our precious peatlands.
• Peatlandscover3%oftheearth’s surface and store 30% of the soil- carbon.
• 94%ofUKpeatlandsaredamaged and emitting 10 million tonnes of CO2 annually that contributes to climate change. The damage also affects drinking water quality and destroys wildlife habitats.
• Peatbogsareacarbon-sinkandflood defence soak away.
Sales of peat-free compost are growing but still lag behind other options. Gardeners state cost and quality as the barriers to buying peat-free but over the
last few years manufacturers have been investing in research and technology to greatly improve their products. Peat- free products will behave differently and so pay close attention to the watering and feeding instructions on the bag.
Not all of us will have the time, space or capacity to mix up our own medium so here are some of the products available: Dalefoot composts are blended from bracken and wool. The range includes
a seed compost, bulb compost and an ericaceous version.
The SylvaGrow Range is endorsed by the RHS and used by many commercial growers.
Bulrush Peat-free composted, bark, clay, woodchip and added nutrients. New Horizon from Westland with Bio3 peat-free technology.
Coir based products Carbon Gold, Fertile Fibre, Coco-grow, Verve Peat- free (also includes composted bark and green waste).
Green waste-based products Growise Peat-free (contains composted forest industry products), Earth Cycle, Pro- grow, New Leaf (only available in N Ireland).
Champions Blend from Bathgate Horticulture, who argue that it is possible to crop peat sustainably, is a peat-free organic product that contains REMIN rock dust, Seaweed extract and envii – a probiotic for your plot!
Arguably the most sustainable route to becoming a peat-free gardener is to make your own growing mediums using garden soil, leaf mould and garden compost with sand or perlite for drainage. Garden soil can be sterilised to kill off harmful pathogens and seeds; the easiest way is in a microwave. Use moist not wet soil, cover with cling film (pierced) and blast for 90 seconds per 2lbs of soil.
• Tosowseeds,mixequalpartsofcommercial
loam or garden soil, leaf mould and sand; sieve
in to a fine medium.
• Forpottingonseedlings,youneedequalparts
loam/soil, leaf mould and garden compost –
growing plants need more nutrients.
• Topotupmatureplants,usehalfandhalfloam/
soil and home-made compost.
We have put together a small survey for our members with a few questions about your use and views of peat-free compost. Visit:
   Get together with your allotment group & save on your premium peat-free spring compost
ORGANIC • PREMIUM • PEAT-FREE ...for your ‘Climate Change’ gardening
Growing organic veg? Top-dressing your allotment? We have a compost for every occasion...
   Call us today for more details on 01931 713281 or visit
Allotment and Leisure Gardener 35
for Allotment & Gardening Societies Quote code ALG20

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