Peat vs No Peat

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JoHunter
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Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229689Post JoHunter »

Seems to have been a string of news articles recently about the use of peat. Some gardening big wigs (Alan Titchmarsh) insist that peat is still necessary in certain circumstances. Most of the no peat group are of the younger sort, but its sad to see such influential gardeners fueling the continuing use of it. Seeing as it's a nonrenewable resource I think it's like saying synthetic (oil based) fertilizer is still necessary to grow veg.

Here are some links
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/84 ... marsh.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/84 ... -peat.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 73738.html

BTW I am in no means an expert (nor a Telegraph reader for that matter!), just interested what you lot might have to say.

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JulieSherris
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229694Post JulieSherris »

I will stick my neck out here - although on a slightly different topic from the gardening angle.

Less than a mile from our house is 'the bog'. We have 5 acres of bog plot down in 2 separate plots. Primarily, this is used to cut turf for burning on our fires & in the range. For us, it's our only form of heating & hot water. That said, our large plot hasn't been cut in over 20 years & is now not viable. (But it's still very pretty!!)

Now, our smaller plot is in amongst a whole other load of plots that get cut each year. The turf cutter comes along & does the job, moving around each plot in turn every year, so that we have different sections cut on a rota basis. You can see where the bog rises over the years, so it IS renewable, depending on how it's cut & how often. Alright, I'll admit that commercial cutting looks truly awful as they just about rape the ground for the peat, but there IS still a place in todays world for turf cutting.

The Irish government are trying their hardest to ban turf cutting over here - which is great as long as they pay for our heating conversion & then compensate us for the extra money it will cost us for oil. At the moment, it costs us an average of 600 euros a year for turf - our first year here before we bought this house cost us over 2000 euros in oil & we had a larger leccy bill too!!

As for the gardening aspect... well, we just about live on the bog, so our soil is very peaty anyway - and long may it continue!! :cheers:
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229697Post Odsox »

Plus, as Julie will tell you, it's impossible to buy anything BUT peat based compost over here.
I have yet to see any other except what imported pot plants are growing in, and if what looks like road sweepings are what peat-free compost is all about, I'm personally glad that's all I can get. :iconbiggrin:
Sorry. :wink:
Tony

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229728Post MKG »

C'mon, you two. Stop apologising.

I thought Ishness was about using whatever you had in your environment to your best advantage. OK, peat is a bit of an issue with we mere mortals, but you live on its doorstep. I have sand - and, believe me, I use that sand for all it's worth. You have peat - why should'nt you use it? If sand became an environmental issue, I'd still have sand - I have no choice. As far as I can see, you don't have that much choice either. It's peat, or it's some imported replacement for peat which would cost the earth - in more ways than one. Stop beating yourselves up.

Immediately!! :iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin:

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Dave
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229737Post Dave »

It seems to me anyone dismissing peat alternatives hasn't used them for years - isn't just peat or coir there are loads of alternatives - If I do buy potting compost I use stuff made from vegetable waste which works fine. Otherwise I use leaf mould or various mixes based on leaf mould.

I think this debate seems to be skewed generationally as perhaps the older generation have got stuck in their ways and not used anything other than peat for years?

I can't help thinking in a few years using peat in the garden will seem as archaic as using DDT or Deris. To top things off it's useless as soil improver as it just gets absorbed into the garden within a month, leaf mould or garden compost are far better or even good old muck. It's rubbish for brassicas as it's too acidic, unless you are growing carnivorous plants there is really no need for it.

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229739Post Flo »

Peat free is fine so long as you don't ask the provenance of the vegetable waste. Thing is that people put all sorts into their green waste bins - mare's tail, dandelion and dock roots, club root infected cabbage remains ...

It does mean that you could well be importing into your garden plants and diseases that you would otherwise prefer not to have. If there is ever a way of dealing with mare's tail or club root life would be a lot easier and ethical compost would be a lot more readily acceptable by those who have grown old and set in their ways. :mrgreen:

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229745Post Dave »

I disagree Flo, if it is done correctly the temperatures municipal composts get up to will kill off all the things you mention. Charles Dowding says that even blight is killed off in a home made high tempurature compost bin (anything over 1m square should reach high enough tempuratures).
Have you had problems in the past with bought compost and mare's tail or was it already growing near you before?

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229747Post oldjerry »

I cant agree that this is a generational thing,Nurseries I,ve worked at used both peat based and non-peat based compost,and both worked well ,but I disagree with the use of BOTH of them.
Transporting great weights of compost across the country/continent in enviromental terms is madness,peat free might make people feel better,but only if they havent fully thought it through.Far better to use whatever you have /can make on your doorstep,and much cheaper,AND you avoid buying into the multi million,media driven,horticultural industry which mocks the real essence of growing your own food.

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229749Post Dave »

Points well made Jerry, gardeners always used to make there own as you simply couldn't buy bags of compost.

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229750Post Odsox »

Dave wrote: perhaps the older generation have got stuck in their ways
I see, it's oldie bashing time. :lol:
If this were true young whippersnapper I'd be using John Innes loam based compost, as that's all there was when I started this veg growing malarkey .. peat based compost is a relatively new fad.
As others have pointed out, as there is no peat free compost to be bought here, is it more ecologically sound to import a few bags from the UK, or continue to use our own natural resources from up the road ? There are no trees to speak of here so no leaf mould, and cattle are out in the fields for 12 months per year, so not a lot of muck either.

Plus I also take issue on your dismissal of using peat as a soil improver ... peat can't disappear ! The very fact that it get absorbed within a few months surely means that it is a very good soil improver, and if peat in the soil is so bad ... how come the fens are so sought after for commercial vegetable growing ?
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229751Post JulieSherris »

Ahhh, John Innes!

I used to work in a shop in the early 70's, one side of the shop sold fruit & veg, the other was a pet shop with seasonal plants & gardening goods out on the front forecourt.
I never understood the numbers for John Innes - and then there was the bags of dried blood, bonemeal and then the bags of lime which you had to wear gloves for...... cor, with all that going on, how did they know what to use and where? :lol:
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229754Post Green Aura »

I think OJ and Mike summed it up quite nicely, make your own and use locally available to supplement - with emphasis on supplement.

Everyone seem to ship in tons of bought compost these days even when they have plenty of room (and garden/kitchen waste) to make their own.

And Julie I don't know exactly what they meant but my understanding of the John Innes numbers was the ratio of compost to loam (soil) and maybe any other additives. My Dad made his own by the JI ratios (and only bought in if he needed something special or ran out).
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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229757Post niknik »

I have bought 2 bags of compost this year........ and 1 last year, to put seeds in. basically as my knowlñedge is so limited I dont know whats coming up. my seeds or weeds :iconbiggrin:
I have no idea what is in it.... as just have to get whats sold locally, and get bestvalue.
TBH. next year I wont bother.. I have a large bin now, of good stuff, from my compost heap, riddled, so good consistency. There are a few weeds coming through in the bin........... but then again theres weeds coming up as wel in the shop stuff!
Also, as Im growing organic, then I also know whats in my home made compost ! unlike the bought stuff!", one bag of wich is pretty useless anyway as very fibrous, drying out very quickly, and containers requiring far more watering than they should really!

I have to agree though that if peaqt is whats available locallly then fine......... why import other stuff?
Not that i hve a clue as to what peat does or why its good / bad, or bonemqeal etc....... I just plant and pray :iconbiggrin:

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229760Post Odsox »

Green Aura wrote: And Julie I don't know exactly what they meant but my understanding of the John Innes numbers ...
There used to be John Innes numbers 1, 2 & 3, Maggie.
1 was for seeds, 2 was for potting on and 3 was for repotting large plants.
But you're right, the numbers were the strength of the added fertiliser.
Tony

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Re: Peat vs No Peat

Post: # 229761Post Odsox »

JulieSherris wrote:.... cor, with all that going on, how did they know what to use and where? :lol:
Could it be that "olde gardeners" were more intelligent ? :lol:
Tony

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