We have a brand new 100% professional quality peat-free compost in store called SylvaGrow, it’s only just become available to the public and is only sold at selected garden centres. It’s a unique blend and contains balanced nutrients to encourage healthy growth.
These types of products are becoming more popular as gardeners are looking for means to be kinder to the environment. And yes, peat-free compost can arguably compete with the traditional peat-based ones. In the past peat free seems to have had a reputation for being poor, unreliable and inconsistent, but more recently there are some good sustainable alternatives available that will give good, reliable results.
A peat free compost is made up of a mixture of natural organic materials for example fine bark, coir and wood mixed with a coarser material such as grit or sharp sand. For a good compost, a mix of coarse and fine particles is necessary to create the correct balance between water retention and air spaces to encourage healthy root growth.
We stock New Horizon multi-purpose compost and grow bags in store. They are 100% organic and peat free and are made from recycled renewable resources with added organic nutrients.
The Miracle Gro Expand n Gro enriched compost is also peat-free – using coir instead of peat. It’s a great choice for those who struggle to lift heavy bags of compost or who live in flats or houses where there is limited access to the outside space.
Why is the industry trying to cut down on peat based composts?
Peat is a natural resource and a popular growing medium for plants, due to its ability to retain moisture and store nutrients. Peat is primarily sourced from lowland raised bogs, an increasingly rare habitat in the UK and across Europe.
However, the removal of peat from its natural environment has an adverse effect on wildlife habitats, and its extraction releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. Peat is being extracted at a faster rate than it is being replaced, it is therefore not sustainable and the UK government wants to phase out the use of peat in all growing media by 2020. In recent years, the need to conserve this diminishing natural resource has been recognised, as well as the flora and fauna that depend on it.
What are we doing at Perrywood?
At Perrywood we do everything possible to reduce our impact on the environment. The majority of the compost we sell is Reduced Peat Compost (containing 40-70% peat content) and we do stock some that are completely peat free.
We have not yet found a peat free alternative to use in our own growing area but we are conducting trials of non-peat compost and will continue to look at ways of reducing peat within our nursery. We sell a number of good quality greener gardening products.