Thursday, 23 January 2014

what's wrong with me ...? RANT ALERT

I had one of those moments yesterday. You know, we've got the world sorted in our minds. Everything straight. Then. Just a small thing. Insignificant really. Send in the clowns.

You've sussed that I'm a bit focused on the environment. You've read about it. I see the world the way I do from somewhere out in the ethical left field. My coffee has to be decaffeinated but this must be by the water method. You're getting the picture.

Yesterday I asked our allotment shop if I could drop over and pick up some bags of peat-free compost. These blokes do an absolutely great job, for free, in the best spirit of co-operation. The Rochdale Pioneers must look down and have a warm feeling.

But hang on. What's this? There's no demand for peat-free compost. They had to sell their stock off cheaply last year before it passed its use by date. No longer stock it. And this is where I apologise for sending a ranting text to Paul who runs the shop. It's not your fault Paul - and I'm sorry for ranting.

But ..... no demand for peat-free?

Peat extraction destroys fragile peat bogs and the unique flora and fauna that live there. And extraction of peat releases tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere when we should all be reducing emissions. Isn't this what they call a no-brainer??

Hang on, I hear you say. It costs more and there is greater variability with peat-free composts. Sometime plants don't thrive as well in peat-free composts.

I've heard all that.

If there was sufficient demand, the price would come down. Supply and demand. So, let's create that demand.

And as for them being less good, let's get the products accredited so that the consumer can be confident in quality. In this modern age, I simply don't believe that it is beyond our collective intelligence to create a growing medium that is cost-effective and high quality.

The patron saint of British gardening, Geoff Hamilton, championed the peat-free message over twenty years ago. And this is so simple to sort if we act collectively. Peat bogs will be saved. Carbon emissions will be reduced. But somehow, it's an argument and a cause that's passing people by. Only 45 people have signed the 'I don't dig peat' commitment on the website in my county. Gardeners aren't demanding it.

This is an issue that must be addressed and gardeners hearts and minds need to be won.

'Come on now people, lets get on the ball, and work together..'

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