With our peat bogs in fast decline because of drainage for agriculture, forestry and the commercial extraction of peat, mainly for the horticultural industry. If we continue in this manner it will have a devastating effect in more ways than one. Peat bogs in many ways are good for the environment, as long as they are left alone. They provide areas of great natural beauty, they are rich in wild plants, insects and animals, but still gardeners are using this product.
Environmentalists have been preaching about the need for gardeners to use alternative materials, but despite this sales are still strong. Around 90% of Britain’s peat lands have been destroyed, but peat mining is still on going.
Peat bogs are rich in the diversity of plants and wildlife. They are home to thousands of insects including butterflies, dragonflies and spiders. Birdlife is abundant, as well as mosses, fungi and lichens. Peat bogs are also rich in social and biological history. They contain irreplaceable materials dating back to the ice age. Many historical objects are preserved in ancient peat bogs.
Peat was originally used for centuries as a fuel, but now gardeners get through huge amounts. By the end of 2015 the use of peat in public parks should have been phased out in the UK. By 2020 in your own gardens and by 2030 from commercial plant growing. But listen flower growers.
There are extremely good alternatives.
Home made compost – a great soil improver, and reduces your garden and household waste.
Coir (coco peat) – this is the most popular alternative to peat when used as a growing media. A by-product of the coconut industry.
Leaf Mould – a very environmentally friendly material. After two years leaf mould can be sieved and used as a great substitute.
Manure – well rotted horse, chicken and cow manure are particularly good.
Bark chippings – these can make an effective mulch.
Flower growers. Are you listening?
The clock is ticking….