Using peat based compost destroys vital wetlands

It is time that gardeners ceased using peat based compost. The wholesale destruction of wetlands around the world has to stop now.

Peat is laid down at a rate of about 1mm a year, mining machines take off a metre in one pass. That’s environmental destruction on a huge scale with 1000 years worth of peat gone in an instant. There is no need for it, it is simply another of those gardening habits that must change.

The current debate about using peat was reignited by Monty Don. In an article in Gardeners World magazine he accused garden centres of  ‘actively choosing to do harm’ by selling peat-based compost. There is no doubt about that. Wetlands are a crucial part of the fight against climate change as they sink CO2 from the atmosphere.

The irony is that at the time there is increased lobbying for more wetlands we are systematically destroying them for potting compost! How can that be anywhere near rational or sensible? It shows a complete lack of understanding of the problems we face and reinforces the idea that we are so locked into established ways of behaving that daily decisions are never questioned. It is the ‘we have always done it that way’ syndrome, also known as sleep walking to extinction.

There are commercial alternatives in most garden centres, you just have to look for them. If you can’t find a peat free alternative, tell the manager that you are going somewhere else.

You can make your own seed/posting compost using 1 part garden compost, 1 part leaf mould and 1 part soil.