13 DEC 2021

WHy peat-free compost is the greenest option.

Traditionally the main component of compost has been peat. No surprise really. Peat forms in the ground when dead plants don’t completely decay. As it builds up over centuries, peat retains water and creates wetlands. When we dig up peat and leave it to dry, we create a nutrient-dense substrate that enriches any garden. Problem is, the very bogs that contain peat also contain vast quantities of carbon dioxide that is released when peat is extracted, contributing to global warming. Peatlands cover just 3% of land surface globally but they store 42% of our planet’s soil carbon - higher than any other vegetation type including forests.

Additionally, peatlands are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna that depend on an undisturbed eco-system for their survival. Much as we love our gardens and plants, we simply cannot continue to extract peat to make compost. The cost to our planet and its inhabitants is too great. It’s therefore no surprise that peat will be banned from all compost from 2024.

Thankfully there is an alternative. Coir, or coconut fibre, is arguably the greenest peat-free compost option. Mainly imported from Sri Lanka (as is the case with For Peat’s Sake), coir is made from the discarded husks of coconuts and is therefore renewable, unlike peat. Because coir is made from both fine and coarse fibres, it traps air well and is excellent at holding water and nutrients. That’s why it’s the choice of professional growers worldwide.

Coir is much lighter than traditional compost so once it arrives in the UK, its transport costs are much lower. In fact, it’s so light that it’s perfect for ordering online. (Gone are the days of having to lug heavy bags of compost from the garden centre into the boot of your car and from there into your garden, often via the house.) Once you have taken delivery of your For Peat’s Sake peat-free compost, pretty much all that is required is to pop one of the bricks into a container and hydrate. You can then add plant-specific nutrients as necessary. Unlike peat, For Peat’s Sake leaves behind no mess either, so you have no cleaning up to do.

Peat-free compost, like For Peat’s Sake, isn’t just great for the planet and your plants, it’s great for you too. Now that we’ve made planting and re-planting is a doddle, you can fill your house with plants, which research has shown lowers stress levels and improves air quality among many other benefits.