Peat-free gardening checklist

Wood anemones by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Going 100 per cent peat-free is an amazing step that you can make to help support our environment and fight climate change. Here’s how to do it.

Check out our suggestions for some of our favourite peat-free products and suppliers (both local, national and online), but we’d love to be able to keep adding to this list so please get in touch with any of your favourites (we would especially love to be able to feature more local suppliers) that we may have missed.

Tractors and trailers removing peat from Little Woolden Moss leaving a brown wasteland devoid of life

Peat extraction on Little Woolden Moss in 2011

Peat-free composts

Swapping a bag of peat-based compost for a bag of peat-free compost is one of the easiest changes you can make. More and more peat-free composts are coming to market all the time, with varying price points.

Some of our favourite peat-free compost suppliers

  • B&Q sell a great range of peat-free composts, with the peat content clearly labelled on all of their products
  • Dalefoot Composts based in Cumbria use a clever mix of wool, bracken and home-grown comfrey to produce some amazing composts. Their products are so rich that they don’t need additional feed for at least the first year and reduced watering.
  • Sylvagrow is a great range of peat-free composts, including ericaceous and John Innes formulations. Sylvagrow have also won numerous Best Buy awards, often outperforming their peat-based counterparts.

Peat-free composts - things to look out for

  • When looking to buy peat-free compost it is important to check the bag carefully and only buy it if it is expressly labelled as 100 per cent peat free.
  • Sometimes composts can be labelled as ‘organic’, ‘natural’, ‘environmentally friendly’, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are peat-free.
  • Some composts may claim to include ‘Responsibly Produced Peat’ – there is no such thing. ‘Responsibly Produced Peat’ claims to only come from peatlands which are already degraded, thus avoiding the destruction of pristine peatlands and SSSI’s. Firstly, extraction on SSSI’s etc would never be granted and secondly, even the most degraded peatlands CAN be restored (such as our Little Woolden Moss nature reserve). If a compost contains peat it has contributed to the destruction of a precious habitat.
Potted plants with purple flowers and gardening tools

Choosing peat-free and wildlife friendly plants is great for our environment - Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Peat-free plants

Sourcing plants that have been grown 100 per cent peat-free can sometimes be a little harder, but the options are steadily increasing. One great tip is to investigate online options, there’s an increasing number of independent peat-free growers who offer online ordering and delivery – and in our experience the plants have always arrived in pristine condition, often in plastic-free and fully recyclable packaging.

Some of our favourite peat-free plant suppliers

  • B&Q – all of B&Q’s own-brand bedding plants are grown peat-free, but check with staff about any other plants.
  • Bud Garden Centre, Hulme, Manchester is a 100 per cent peat-free boutique nursery, if you are lucky enough to live close by or fancy a special trip it’s well worth a visit.
  • Harriets Plants is the only supplier of peat-free houseplants that we have found, all grown by Harriet herself and delivered completely plastic-free in compostable/recyclable packaging, and often with a little note in from Harriet!
  • Hulme Community Garden Centre is a wonderful social enterprise, providing a volunteer and education hub promoting horticulture and sustainability, along with lovely home-grown plants.
  • Kitchen Garden Plant Centre specialises in peat-free herbs and edible plants, all available to order online.
  • The Organic Gardening Catalogue sells almost everything you would need to create an amazing kitchen garden, browse online or order a catalogue.
  • Peatfreeplants.org.uk has an extensive range of peat-free plants available with online ordering.
  • Ribblesdale Nursery in Woodplumpton near Preston, all of their own-grown plants are peat-free but they do buy in some plants which will have been grown in peat, so please ensure that you ask before you buy.
  • Sunnyview Flowers – have you ever thought about how the cut flowers that you buy are grown? Sunnyview offer locally grown, seasonal, peat-free flowers for events and occasions, along with floral workshops from their Cheshire nursery.

For even more options check out the Peat-Free Nurseries List, this includes specialist peat-free growers from across the country, many of whom offer online ordering and delivery.

Home grown peat-free plant ideas

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are 100 per cent peat-free is to grow your own, so why not try:

  • Growing from seed or cuttings is fun, inexpensive and incredibly satisfying!
  • Planting bulbs is a great way to fill your garden with peat-free colour.
  • Choosing bare root rather than pot-grown trees and shrubs – these are often cheaper too.
  • Many pots of living herbs and salads from the supermarket will have been grown in peat-based composts, so why not grow your own instead?
  • Plant swaps – keep an eye out when friends and families are dividing perennials or redesigning their gardens, you could get lovely peat-free plants for free. Also check out local plant swap groups on social media.

 

If in doubt – ask!

Even if you don’t get the peat-free answer that you are looking for, the more that people ask for peat-free options, the more retailers will understand that there is a market for them and increase their supply.

 

Join our peat-free campaign today, share your peat-free tips and successes using #PeatFree and please consider signing our petition calling for a ban on sales of peat.

Sign the petition to ban peat sales

 

Find out more about our amazing peatlands work