Monday, March 27, 2006

Peat-free compost

In the Guardian on saturday, I read a small piece about peat-free compost and where to buy it from. For the writer to start off by saying ' My conscience nags me at this time of year over the multipurpose compost I buy for raising vegetables from seed', just says it all really about the sorry state of affairs in the gardening world.

Can somebody tell me why we are still allowed to buy compost with peat in it? can somebody tell me why a gardening writer who admits to having a guilty conscience, still buys the stuff? We all might as well keep buying ivory because it looks pretty. I don't care if peat makes my carrots grow slightly thicker. I'll just plant a few more seeds and grow more thinner carrots to make up the difference. At least I haven't destroyed anything in the process.

I can see it's going to take the total destruction of peat bogs before people stop using peat, and I doubt the government will ever do anything about it. Come on gardeners, just don't buy it. I appreciate peat-free compost is a bit more expensive, but honestly, is it really that much worse? Any argument for the use of peat is similar (in a kind of theoretical 'Anything but Sprouts' way) to Chinese medicines claiming that they need rhino horn or a tiger's earwax as a major ingredient. There are alternatives, so use them.


lilymarlene said...

I'm with you on this....aalthough I am very fed up with the peat free versions I still won't go back to the other.
At the moment I am using the New Horizons one mentioned in the article. It is so lumpy that I have to seive it, and then I'm left with a sieve full of fluffy lumps of half composted wood chips....which I don't use in my seed trays or pots, but shove straight out onto the bean bed. I am fed up with paying so much for such rubbish. I am thinking of going over completely to John Innes.

Al said...

i use that one, and the number of twigs involved does get really irritating. I ought to try some others to get a good idea of what's out there. It does feel a bit like you're paying a lot just to make do, and i'm sure that's something than can be rectified pretty easily. Maybe they'll sort it out soon?

Natalie said...

I read the article and had the same thoughts as you. Incredible. I've not used peat ever. I use Homebase organic compost, yes its also made from bark (and farmyard manure I think) but I just throw it in the pots and the seeds all grow just fine. Peat? Sieving? Really not needed in my experience.

steve said...

Hi i have used a few different peat free composts now... and have had the same problems, however i have found one supplier whos compost is screened very fine indeed and i did not find the same problems, its a brand i have not seen in the shops, Orrell Hills Peat Free Compost and i bought it from, they make it... you can even buy it in 1 cubic meter bags delivered!(bulk bag organic compost) good growing results too!