Saturday, 21 March 2009

peat free potting compost

Spring is here .... and with it all of that wonderful anticipation as seeds are sown.

But there is a problem for the sustainable gardener - which growing medium to use?

Last year we moved to using peat free compost. Peat bogs are increasingly threatened habitats and the horticultural industry is denuding the bogs of peat at an alarming rate.

The problem for the gardener is complicated by the fact that peat free composts are simply not as good as their peat based cousins. We have found that germination is not as good and young plants fail to thrive in the way we had become used with peat based composts. Hanging baskets and pots retain water less well in peat free media and the plants are less vigorous.

This year there is a new product on the market. It is West plus peat free multipurpose compost. I understand that it is made from bi-products of the forestry industry.

The compost is quite fibrous as you can see. But so far results are encouraging. Pictured are Feltham First early peas germinating in it.

The drawback is its cost. At £5.99 a bag it is twice the price of other composts.

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