The Peat Ban and What it Means for You
As of May 2021, the UK Government finally made the decision to listen to the outcries of gardening experts and conservationists alike and officially ban peat and its use in the gardening industry. While this ban will take effect in 2024, ministers have pledged to support the restoration process involved with turning peatland back into carbon-absorbing forests again. So, what exactly does this mean for the UK as a whole and for you as an individual plant parent?
Let me tell you!
Why Banning Peat is a Step in the Right Direction
Countless environmental associations, informed plant parents, and gardening groups have pushed for the banning of peat-based products for decades because of the harmful processes surrounding peat bogs. The land dedicated to this product are the largest source of carbon storage on land and they naturally emit tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere, a number which greatly increases when the peat itself is harvested.
The product of peat products is also incredibly problematic; peat moss, the resulting substrate in our soil mixtures, takes anywhere between 15 and 25 years to completely develop and be ready for harvest. In the past, the amount of time it has taken us to grow and harvest this substrate was largely wasteful because it could have been dedicated to other alternatives that grow at a quicker rate, work just as well, and are better for the environment overall.
Nurseries Are Already Implementing Changes
Growers across the UK have utilised alternative soil mediums for decades, so many are ahead of this legislation and have begun changing to peat-free mixes. Many of these massive commercial facilities go through unimaginable amounts of soil each year, so their commitment to shifting away from peat will not only help the environment, but it will also help the plants they grow and the people whose plants they bring home!
PEAT FREE RANGE OF PLANTS COMING SOON TO PRETTY CACTUS
Peat Alternatives You Can Use at Home
Although peat is still the most prevalent potting medium you can find on the market, peat-free alternatives are becoming more and more popular and available. While peat is often used as a soil amendment, Coco Coir (aka coconut coir) is a great substitute that can be used as an amendment or a standalone soil mix, as well. This option is beneficial to all plants because its devoid of many nutrients and can be seen as a blank slate that you can add anything to, depending upon your plants’ needs.
Compost is another wonderful alternative to peat, especially when you consider the fact that you can DIY your own mixture and save yourself some money! This nutrient-rich substrate is completely organic and full of microbes that help plants grow stronger and healthier. While bags of this decomposed product can be found in most places, utilising an at-home composting machine and some food scraps can help you break down materials to later become the home of your next newest plant.
Don’t forget to check out our other blogs for more plant tips and tricks! If you would like us to cover a certain topic, send us an email and let us know!