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The Problem With Peat

Being sustainable as a gardener is a great ambition and your garden will certainly thank you for it if you do decide to be as eco-friendly as you can when it comes to your planting and sowing.

There are all sorts of benefits associated with green gardening, ranging from reduced carbon emissions and support for biodiversity to preventing water pollution through reduced use of pesticides and herbicides. And, what’s more, it can even help reduce the spread of weeds – so you’ll find you’re doing the back-breaking work far less!

With this in mind, one of the best first steps you can take towards achieving your sustainable ambitions where your outdoor spaces are concerned is making sure that you don’t use any peat in your soil, even if you do find that it gives you incredible results.

Peat is produced through the decomposition of bog plants, which would usually decompose and produce CO2. But because these plants break down in a water environment, without the presence of oxygen, they decompose into carbon instead. This then stays in the bog, without being released into the atmosphere.

When peat is removed from the bog to use in gardening, this stored carbon is then unlocked and turns into CO2, contributing to greenhouse gas levels. 

Another problem with peat mining is that the biodiversity of the bogs themselves is compromised, putting rare species of plants and insects at risk. The draining of the bogs also releases greenhouse gases and any peat leftover continues to do this as well, adding to global warming.

So what alternatives are there to using peat in the garden? Coconut coir (or coir peat/coco peat) is a really popular option, made from the fibres you find between the shell and outside of coconuts. It’s great at retaining water and can also help with soil drainage and aeration – so brilliant for your plants, as well as better for the planet.

Or what about using leaf mould? You can make this yourself, building a leaf mould heap somewhere outside that’s easy to access and which isn’t too sheltered, so the rain can get to it.


For help with the decking at your Chester home, get in touch with LW Landscapes today.