Boycott peat!

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Nikolaos, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Nikolaos

    Nikolaos Super Gardener

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    Hi All,

    This video turned up in my YouTube subscription feed a few days ago. Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, thinks we should boycott compost containing peat. He goes further and urges people to sign a petition to ban its use in gardening and horticulture. I signed the petition after seeing the video but now slightly regret it, I think. I really like the idea of a boycott because that's an individual choice, but I think a ban is a bit too authoritarian. But perhaps when it comes to our environment, extreme habitat destruction requires an extreme response?

    So, what do you think about this important issue? :)



    Petition: Ban the use of peat in gardening and horticulture

    Nick
     
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    • Alisa

      Alisa Gardener

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      There is no decent alternative of peat to my mind. Peat is sterile and light substrate.
      I can't tell for horticulture in general. But what they offer to retail public advertised as peat free is either used compost or compost from recycling centres - you get mushrooms starting growing there, you have pieces of different rubbish etc. No even quotations of salt levels on the package.
       
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      • Nikolaos

        Nikolaos Super Gardener

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        @Alisa I think one of the main problems with peat-free compost is the lack of affordability compared to ones containing it, also the lack of availability of peat-free ericaceous compost. Gardeners' World published an article suggesting alternatives to peat, would be interesting to know what experiences people here have had when trying to use these as substitutes. There are also issues with that list, such as bark chippings that also cost money, and where gardens are simply too small to have an area dedicated to producing your own leaf mould, letting manure rot, turves to break down etc.

        Alternatives to peat

        Nick
         
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        • HarryS

          HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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          Oh you mean Peat, and not to boycott @pete ? :biggrin:
           
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          • roders

            roders Total Gardener

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            I have just checked my Jacks Magic and I see it’s 90% Peat.:mad:
            It is lovely stuff though.
            I see the National Trust and Monty Don are peat free..........I don’t know how they do it .
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              This has been going on for years and I do see the problem with using peat but I,ve never come up with an alternative that works for me.
              Ive tried that claggy stringy stuff called coir and it was a total disaster. It might work commercially but it didn't work for me.
               
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              • Nikolaos

                Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                Haha, I bloody knew one of you would say that, you lot are incorrigible! :heehee: Nah, let's not boycott "our" Pete, his great sense of humour is one of the reasons I frequent this forum. :biggrin:

                Nick
                 
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                • ARMANDII

                  ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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                  To be honest, Nick, I haven't found a Peat Free compost that is actually able to produce a comparable growing medium to a Peat added Compost. I use around 2,500 to 3,000 litres of B&Q Peat added General Purpose Compost and, at the moment there are 22 125 litre Bales of it lined up against my Garage wall with another 4 Bales in the Garage itself. If I could find a truly good, affordable, Peat Free Compost then I would buy it in a shot but, despite all the marketing blurb and claims, I haven't found one yet.:dunno::cat-kittyandsmiley::coffee:
                   
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                  • pete

                    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                    Well at least we now know where it is all going. :biggrin:
                     
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                    • Nikolaos

                      Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                      I know how many new plants you buy, so is that a weekly estimate or a daily one? :biggrin:

                      Nick
                       
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                      • ARMANDII

                        ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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                        I've no idea what you mean, Nick:dunno::whistle::heehee: I'm not the only heavy user of Peat added Compost as @shiney , Mr and Mrs Shiney use more than I do!!!:hate-shocked::heehee:
                         
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                        • CanadianLori

                          CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                          Confession time. I never read what's on the bag. :sofa: When I purchased the medium for starting carnivorous seeds, I ended up buying what WA recommended by the staff at the garden place. Never read the label. Potting soil must be brown, or mostly brown to meet my standards. I always figure it is lacking anyway so I mix in my own amendments. :dunno:
                           
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                          • shiney

                            shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                            A year ago I had a lot of trouble with my usual compost and reported the problems on here. I complained to Wickes, the supplier, and to the manufacturer and gave a report to them. Their quality control manager flew over from Ireland to look at it and their national sales manager came down from Birmingham as well.

                            After checking it they said they agreed that it wasn't good enough (it was rubbish!) and gave the excuse that the government had been putting pressure on to reduce peat in compost. Their supposed just as good mixture was atrocious.

                            They took all my bags away, replaced them with one of their peat products and Wickes also gave me my money back. They gave me an email address to post on here for anyone to write to if they were unhappy with their product.

                            Since then I experimented with other products but decided that the only practical thing to do was continue with peat. I couldn't afford to waste time experimenting and couldn't justify the added expense for the, so called, good substitutes.

                            All our bought compost is used for the plants that we sell for charity and we calculated that the added cost would be about £500 :rolleyespink:. This would have to come out of the money going to the charity. Some of that would have been used for our veggie seeds that are then planted into the garden. Excess produce is also sold.

                            We don't use bought compost on the garden itself as we produce sufficient in our compost heaps.

                            So I definitely won't support a ban on peat based composts until they are able to produce a viable alternative. :noidea:
                             
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                            • CanadianLori

                              CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                              Just looked at one of the bags I have and it states it has peat in it but it is one that has a Canadian accent... It doesn't state what else is in there.
                               
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                              • NigelJ

                                NigelJ Total Gardener

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                                Melcourt produce a range of peat free growing media, some labelled as suitable for vegans. It's a mixture of bark fibre, coir fibre from sustainable sources. I know some nurseries use it either straight or mixed with sterilised soil 50:50. It is endorsed by the RHS, it is also not that cheap, but I've decided to give it a go this year as I don't use as much some people and I've had some pretty grotty peat free from other sources.
                                Apart from solid lumps of wood, squidqy bits of what I hope was clay, glass, plastic and the odd nail, I have also had a couple of bags contaminated with broadleaf weedkiller last year.
                                Having said that the Miracle Grow peat free is pretty good.
                                 
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