Let’s talk about peat
Beautiful gardens don’t have to cost the earth
Peat is used in compost and soil improvers because it’s light, retains moisture and stores nutrients. It’s also very cheap. However, it may surprise you to know that peat is much more valuable when left in its natural home, holding four times as much carbon as our forests.
Reasons not to dig peat
- It provides a precious home. Peatlands are a vital habitat for rare birds, dragonflies, butterflies and plants.
- It stores greenhouse gases. Peatlands are the biggest stores of greenhouse gases. In just one year, the UK’s peat extraction for the gardening industry is responsible for 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
- When it’s gone, it’s gone. Peatlands take around 10,000 years to form, at a rate of approximately 2mm per year. Once they’re gone, they are extremely difficult to restore, and the delicate environmental balance, animal food chains and breeding grounds are lost forever. What’s more, our massive usage of peat as a nation means that all but a tiny proportion of our natural peatlands have already been destroyed.
- Our gardens grow without it. By using alternatives, like bark or green compost, we can still grow lovely plants, sow tasty veg and admire a lush lawn without pillaging our peatlands!
- It’s a natural protector. Peatlands are proven deterrents to flooding and also help to regulate water quality.
- Its unique beauty. Peatlands are a beautiful part of the British landscape, attracting tourists and boosting our economy in the process.
The good news is it’s not too late to make a change!
Our ‘I Don’t Dig Peat’ campaign
At Garden Organic, we believe there is no place for peat in our gardens. We know we can’t make Britain peat-free in a day, but our goal is to get gardeners choosing peat-free alternatives so our peatlands are protected, along with the valuable wildlife habitat they provide and the vital job they do of storing carbon.
Here’s how we will reach our important end goal:
- Raise awareness among gardeners about the damage caused by sourcing peat and encouraging people to sign up to our Peat-Free Promise.
- Help people make informed choices next time they buy products for the garden.
- Call on garden centres and supermarkets to stop selling products containing peat and provide more peat-free options.
- Encourage honest product labelling by manufacturers so gardeners know what they are buying. As it stands, packaging can be very misleading - a bag of compost currently on the market proudly claims to be 30% peat-free. In actual fact, it’s still 70% peat and contributing to the terrible destruction of our fragile peatlands.
- Promote the use of peat alternatives.
However, we can’t do it alone. We need your help and support to make it happen, so please make the Peat-Free Promise today and be proud to say ‘I Don’t Dig Peat’.