Peat: What's all the the fuss about?
Supporting information from our campaign stall on Castlegate on September 18th 2021Peatlands in good condition:
- provide a habitat for special wildlife
- improve water quality in reservoirs by preventing erosion
- reduce the risk of flooding by slowing the flow of water from the hills
- reduce the risk of moorland fires because the bogs in good condition are very wet
- actively fight climate change by absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere
- Why peat is good for the climate and nature (Friends of the Earth)
- Three things the government must do to end the peat scandal (Friends of the Earth)
- Moors for the Future (Moors for the Future)
- England Peat Action Plan (UK Government)
Call on local horticultural suppliers to protect the environment and stop selling peat compost: sign here
HouseplantsLove houseplants AND the planet? People love having a little piece of nature in the home but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet. As a minimum look for:
- Peat free compost (a definite!)
- Plastic free pot (eg terracotta or coir)
- Fewer plant-miles (are they grown in the UK?)
Picture Source: Pixabay.com
Picture Credit: Shaun Rumbelow
Plant SwapsHow about swapping your plants? (for both house and garden). You'll have to check with the people swapping if they are peat free.
Plantswap (Sheffield!) also have a Facebook page
Make Your own Compost
Peat bogs are vital if we are to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. Peat bogs can store up to three times as much carbon as forests, but disturbing them releases stored greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Peat bogs are also home to many wildlife species and can reduce the impact of flooding by acting as a giant sponge to slow down the amount of water reaching cities and farmland. Garden centres, DIY stores, supermarkets and other retailers have started selling peat free compost and plants but the majority are still using peat.
Making your own compost is a great way to avoid peat, save money and help the environment.
If you don’t fancy building a compost heap then you can buy a compost bin from a garden centre or look at getcomposting.com to see if your local council are offering any discounts.
The compost heap or bin should be placed in light shade and on soil to attract worms and other vital organisms which will help to break down the material into compost. If you have problems with rats then place a metal gauze sheet under the bin.
To make good compost, you ideally need a 50:50 mix of materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon.
Nitrogen comes from lush, green material such as vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags (buy plastic free), plant prunings and grass cuttings.
Carbon comes from brown material, such as woody stems, cardboard, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves. Crushed egg shells can be added too.
Don’t put meat, diary, diseased plants, perennial weeds like dandelions or plants with seed heads. You shouldn’t add pet poo or cat litter.
The material on a compost heap will need regular (monthly) turning with a garden fork to allow air to circulate. The compost should be moist but not wet or dry.
The compost will be ready when it is dark brown, with a crumbly soil-like texture and a smell resembling damp woodland. If you are planting seeds then you can sieve the compost and it can also be mixed with sieved garden soil, sand and peat free compost from garden centres. The correct mix will depend on the plants you are growing.
Picture Source: Pixabay.com
If you don’t have a garden then it is possible to purchase indoor compost systems.