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Peat Free Compost

nellat41nellat41 NorfolkPosts: 1
I have been buying peat free compost for the past 2 years but not every garden centre stocks it.  I was out yesterday buying a few plants at a local nursery and overheard a young man asking the assistant about Peat free Compost.  He wanted to buy some because he'd heard it was better for the environment etc.

The assistant just dismissed what he said by saying 'it doesn't matter it's just some gardener's prefer it' and pointed him to the compost containing peat (because that's all they stocked). Fair enough as they wanted a sale and compost containing peat will be fine for his plants but now one new gardener is going away thinking that buying peat free doesn't matter.

How do we get the message across about peat free compost and, why is it more expensive to buy peat free?



  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 3,891
    Peat-free needs to be cheaper than peat-based to encourage the masses, and it needs to be properly made so it's not too coarse, twiggy and full of bits of rubbish to convince many gardeners and professional growers). Goodness knows why it's more expensive - maybe it's cheaper to dig peat that can be made straight into compost than to use space and resources to compost bark, wood, green waste etc in sufficient quantities to meet demand. Maybe if the powers that be won't ban peat extraction, they need to at least slap a big tax on it.
  • PlashingPlashing Posts: 268
    The trouble with peat free compost is that you could get chemicals in it, there is a debate going on about plants turning heir toes up, its like if you get horse manure from stables it often comes with chemicals in it. I always try and buy peat free peat if I can but it is a awful job to be sure it is, my son got me some  multi purpose from B M store and so far I have had good gemination with my tomatoes and peppers and lettuce.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,365
    Peat bogs and moors are a huge carbon storage system that also stores water and helps reduce flooding.  it take thousands of years to make a few inches of peat but k-just minutes for a machine to come and scrape away huge depths of this precious commodity to use for burning or for plant growth.

    There are alternatives available but, unfortunately, staff in garden centres tend to be untrained and on minimum wage so are not going to know or care about environmental initiatives and priorities.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 266
    edited 5 April
    Any recommendations for good brands or online sources of peat-free compost? I thought I read from another thread someone said New Horizon isn’t as good as it used to be.
  • Forester_PeteForester_Pete DevonPosts: 114
    I have used the new horizons stuff a fair bit for some years and never had any issues with it. Got a batch recently and it is ok but a bit more fibrous than I would like so it doesn't sieve well. However I got a few bags of Lidls peat free and it's been excellent. I do sieve it for seeds and found max two bits of plastic which is much better than average. Plan to get some more when they have some.
  • PlashingPlashing Posts: 268
    I for got to mention that in the past I have used Jack Magic compost which is very good, but I haven't been able to get any so far this year owing to lockdown.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 1,989
    Gosh @whits030brvb0-FM instead of spamming this forum how about you stop charging £17 for a 50lt bag of compost. Ridiculous prices. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 28,097
    Got 'em.
  • mikedbyfordmikedbyford Posts: 3
    edited 28 May
    Sorry but GW is dumbed down for the masses pap.
    As a BSc biologist , PhD Biologist and professional grower then I can say categorically that I have tried every major compost and for anything other than annuals for 1 month max peat free composts are rubbish , full of weed seed and useless as growing media for anything staying in a pot longer than a few weeks! I have tried many M3 of composts from commercial suppliers that are "peat free" and all are useless! 

    The next debate is about sustainable peat production as it is possible , the green credentials of coir are abysmal and loam and wood composts are equally debatable in greenness! Sorry GW get off the band wagon and talk to real scientists and growers of perennials ! 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 9,385
    @mikedbyford You are a biologist and you are asking about 'sustainable peat production'. Really?

    Sylvagrow peat free is very good. GW have been supporting peat free compost use for 40 years. The RHS also support it. Do they count as "real growers"?
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