The Caledonian Horticulture Guide to Peat Free

Did You Know?

  • On land, peatlands are the world’s biggest carbon store. They cover only 3% of the Earth but hold more than 30% of the carbon stored in soil. That’s more than all the worlds forests combined.
  • The UK has nearly 5 million acres of peatland, but sadly more than 80% of these are damaged and degraded.
  • Healthy peatlands absorb and store carbon, but when they are damaged peatlands become a carbon source.
  • The sale of horticultural products contain peat to amateur gardeners will be banned in England in 2024.
  • The Scottish Government will soon follow suit with the ban currently under consultation.

What is Peat?

Peat is the surface layer of a soil that is made up of decomposed plant material that has been broken down over thousands of years. The organic matter is broken down under waterlogged conditions, with oxygen and nutrient deficiencies, and high levels of acidity. Traditionally peat has been used in horticultural products because it has high levels of water retention and although naturally it contains few nutrients, due to its water retention properties it can hold on to nutrients that are added to the mix.

Why else are peatlands important?

Peatlands, such as the The Red Moss of Balerno in Edinburgh, are an important habitat for wildlife and are home to many plant, insect, bird, and animal species. The Red Moss of Balerno is one of only twenty raised peat bogs still surviving in the Lothians.

They also help supply more than 25% of drinking water within the UK, and are an important natural flood defence as they readily store water.

Making the transition to peat-free products

If you have been used to using peat-based products it can take a bit of getting used to using peat-free alternatives. It might involve a bit of trial and error, and you will probably find you have to water more frequently and use feeds more often. The huge environmental benefit from making the transition to peat-free makes this extra effort worth your while.

From day one all of our products have been 100% peat free. We’re currently running growing trials to add a peat free growing medium to the range – keep an eye on our social media pages to find out more.

Further information

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