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Go Peat Free with Home Compost

Peat bogs develop incredibly slowly, growing at a rate of only 1mm per year and taking thousands of years to form. They are the home of some amazing wildlife which relies on the peat for survival. Today, lowland peat bogs and their wildlife are being threatened through peat extraction for garden composts and other uses. As well as threatening these fragile peatland ecosystems, commercial mining is also responsible for releasing large quantities of stored carbon into the atmosphere contributing to climate change.


From an environmental point of view it is therefore extremely important to avoid contributing to this destruction by avoiding peat containing products. Unfortunately, the labelling on commercial compost mixes can be confusing and legislation requiring is details on its provenance is not robust. Many of us don’t realise that multi-purpose compost, unless its labelled ‘peat free’ can contain between 70% and 100% peat. Even compost labelled ‘reduced-peat’ can contain as much as 95% peat.


Homemade compost, and its big brother, commercially produced 100% recycled content compost, is completely peat free and will always be labelled so. Using peat-free compost isn’t just a better option environmentally; it also provides some real benefits for the garden. Substituting recycled compost over peat shouldn’t be thought of as a compromise either. It tends to be bulkier than peat, making a better soil conditioner. It is often higher in nutrients due it its high proportion of recycled garden material. Lastly it retains its moisture well which is ideal for planters and containers. Extensive trials carried out by independent third parties have all shown that peat-free compost gives consistently good results. Plants may take a little longer to get going but go on to produce better root formation. In order to get the most out of your peat-free compost always check the instructions on the bag.

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