June 14, 2011

peat bog in yorkshire via

This morning, I read with great interest a Telegraph article about Peat in horticultural use.

Peat is widely added to growing mediums in the horticultural industry and surprisingly, it is domestic gardeners who consume two thirds of what the peat industry produces.  (in the form of multi-purpose compost) Peat is a ‘young’ fossil fuel and it stores large amounts of carbon (around double all that is stored in the world’s forests) and it has a big role in regulating our environment.

“Because of our consumption, important landscapes, habitats and archaeological sites are being destroyed and more than 630,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere each year, the equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions of more than 300,000 cars (RSPB, 2011). ”

It certainly begs the question — why are we doing this?  There are alternatives….loam, homemade compost, rotted leaves, coir, and even wet newspapers are all good alternatives.

Image of a Yorkshire peat bog from Telegraph article.

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  1. Jenn says:

    I’ve heard that the new world use of peat doesn’t cause the same issues, but I’m on the fence for the moment.

  2. p bargar says:

    yep. why?
    No matter how you use peat, it doesn’t address all the uprooted biological diversity and bog/fen-specific amphibian/reptile/plants that are dredged out and ground up and cooked. Then if peat isn’t wetted it blows away or can be lit by a match for a garden fire.

    …why why do we do listen to advertising when there are alternatives?

    Another example: Australian “redwoods”, that exist on 12% or less of the island, are harvested annually and ground up for something as ridiculous as wood chips. Not for something useful like furniture, mind you, but wood chips.

  3. Heidi says:

    It’s in the UK only that this is an issue. US peat comes from Canada, which is generated at higher levels than it is consumed. North American peat is considered a wise renewable resource.

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