Peat is proven, high quality growing medium, but peat is also a problem when it comes to preserving the natural environment. Is there an environmentally sound alternative to commercial peat extraction for use in compost?
Why Has Peat Become a Problem?
Since the middle of the 20th century, peat mixed with sand and loam has been a popular growing medium with gardeners,.
Many gardeners are used to peat-based products, and will therefore be more likely to choose them. Peat is a known medium, and provides the basis for a rich, dark, high-quality garden compost.
But the continuing demand for peat has serious environmental implications.
It provides a good habitat for wildlife to thrive in, and it helps reduce flood risk and improve water quality.
Peatlands soak up and retain groundwater, helping to prevent flooding. When they do release this water, it is in a purer state, because the peat acts like nature’s filter.
However, the demand for peat is putting this natural resource at risk.
Only around 6,000 hectares of the UK’s raised lowland bogs are still in a near-natural, untouched condition.
And while just over 60% of the peat we use comes from areas outside the UK, , we are still contributing to our carbon footprint by importing it.
Peat is therefore becoming an issue when it comes to sustainability and the environment.
What is Peat?
Peat forms in various locations, principally blanket bogs, lowland fens and raised bogs and in upland fens, swamps, mosses and flushes.
It requires damp conditions to grow, and consists of partly decomposed plant matter, which has built up over many thousands of years.
Peat takes years to form, taking around a year for only a single millimetre to build up.
Peat from peat bogs in low-lying areas provides the basis for horticultural products and is used as fuel. This is especially true in the Republic of Ireland, where it is harvested on an industrial scale.
But the large-scale processing of peat is damaging these natural habitats.
Awareness of the problem in the UK has seen a decline in peat production, but 700,000 tonnes a year are still harvested.
Elsewhere, peat extraction continues.
Peatlands are only 10% of the UK’s land, but they store carbon effectively, more than forests or other soil types. Therefore, peat is a natural means of combatting climate change.
According to the Friends of the Earth, losing just 5% of carbon from UK peatland would be the equivalent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
What Value Does Peat Bring to Compost?
Peat helps soil hold its nutrients and its moisture.
When blended with minerals and fertiliser, historically peat has provided an excellent potting compost.
But the gardener’s gain is proving to be the environment’s loss.
Peatlands have now become some of the most endangered natural habitats in the UK.
Is there a way for gardeners and growers to continue to enjoy the benefits of peat-based compost products without contributing to the loss of this natural habitat?
A Naturally Filtered Alternative Peat Product
When it rains, this naturally disperses peat particles in the landscape.
They end up in rivers and streams, and, ultimately, dams and lakes.
Specialist water filtration methods can extract these naturally occurring peat particles from water.
What is left is then combined with other natural ingredients and processed into a medium that is ideal for composts and top soils.
This gives the end user the benefits of peat as a growing medium, without the environmental damage associated with commercial peat harvesting.
It is the perfect, alternative peat product.
Discover More About Moorland Gold
Shop online for our range of alternative peat-based compost products and topsoils, or contact us using our online form.