by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
For years it has been advocated that we stop using peat-based compost in gardening but very, very little seems to have happened in this department, as most commercially available compost still contains a great amount of peat, often without saying so.
For decades the horticulture industry has promised to stop using peat-based composed and soil improvers but to this day peat bogs are being stripped for this industry for the production of peat-based composts, potting soils and such like, despite all promised, especially by the makers of those products.
It would appear that often even the potting soil and compost sold as being peat-free in fact is not in the same way that products claimed to be environmentally friendly often are not. Greenwash seem to be, alas, going on everywhere.
Some horticulturalists claim that there is no real substitute for peat-based potting soil and compost and that non-peat equivalents are not equivalent and produce poor results. This is a fallacy but one that is being perpetuated.
As a professional gardener and forester I have found no difference in germination and growing of plants in peat-based and non-peat composts. In fact, I have found that there have been peat-based composts that did not make for good germination at all.
Once upon a time peat was cut for heating homes and other burning issues, pardon the pun, and also for use in horticulture while today, predominately the latter use is the only one and this use, with more and more people gardening, which in general is a good thing, demand for peat for use in compost is having a devastating effect on peat bogs everywhere. Time to end this practice once and for all.