Peat bogs are areas of nice pure magnificence, in addition to being wealthy in wild vegetation, bugs and animals. But we’re nonetheless utilizing peat in our gardens and placing these irreplaceable habitats underneath risk. Michaela Strachan desires to know why.
Do you know that thirtieth July is Worldwide Bathroom Day? Effectively, you’d be forgiven for those who didn’t, however it’s. It’s a day to have fun these uncommon and distinctive habitats and to make individuals conscious that they’re sadly quick disappearing. There are a couple of explanation why this occurring, particularly drainage for agriculture, forestry and the business extraction of peat for the horticultural business. And that brings me to the topic of this month’s article: PEAT, PEAT, GLORIOUS PEAT!
Now I don’t wish to go off on one, however why oh why are individuals nonetheless utilizing peat? I lately did an merchandise on Countryfile about bogs and peat and was astonished to be taught that even supposing environmentalists have been banging on for years about why gardeners shouldn’t use peat, gross sales have risen dramatically. Has everybody simply put their heads of their peat-filled sand pits or does nobody care? Possibly everybody’s simply forgotten what the entire subject is about or just received too slowed down in attempting to make their gardens develop! For these caring wildlife gardeners amongst us, I believed I’d perform a little refresher course.
Initially, what’s a peat bathroom?
Effectively, it’s a wetland website with poor drainage. Peat bogs are fed by rainwater and the soil builds up its personal water desk and acidity. Sphagnum mosses develop and decay finally forming layers of peat, then peat mounds many metres deep. This course of takes 1000’s of years, which is why sustainable large-scale peat extraction is not possible; the extraction is all the time sooner than the expansion. Habitats like these merely take too lengthy to develop again.
Why are they so vital?
As a result of so many peat bogs have been broken, they’re now very uncommon. Round 94% of Britain’s peatlands have been destroyed or broken, and peat mining nonetheless goes on, and can proceed to go on whereas demand is excessive.
Should you’ve ever been to a peat bathroom you’ll know what wonderful locations they’re. If not, I like to recommend a go to. Peat bogs are wealthy in range of vegetation and wildlife, a few of that are distinctive to those environments. They’re residence to 1000’s of bugs together with butterflies, dragonflies and the uncommon raft spider. Practically a thousand completely different flowering vegetation develop there, together with carnivorous vegetation similar to the nice sundew in addition to mosses, fungi and lichens. Birdlife is ample: waders, wildfowl, nightjar, winchat, merlin, short-eared owl, golden plover, snipe, sparrowhawks and – as I witnessed myself after I lately went to the restored Fenn’s Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses website in Wales – hobbies, which had been feasting on the quite a few dragonflies.
Peat bogs are additionally wealthy in social and organic historical past. They include irreplaceable supplies courting again to the ice age. Many objects are preserved in peat bogs, issues like historical boats, bushes and even our bodies.
What’s peat used for?
Peat was used for hundreds of years as gas, however lately gardeners get by means of big quantities within the type of compost, develop luggage and peat pots; the stable bales are even used for backyard partitions.
So now you’ve all been reminded concerning the big environmental impression that utilizing peat has, I’m positive you’re very eager to know what you are able to do about it. It’s quite simple, DON’T BUY PEAT. You’ll be doing the setting an enormous favour. There are a lot of alternate options that gardening retailers can advocate; listed here are a couple of.
1. House-made compost – that is an apparent soil improver and one which I hope you might have all began to make by now. Not solely does this cut back your backyard and family waste, it is usually extraordinarily environmentally pleasant.
2. Coir – that is the most well-liked different to peat when used as a rising media. It’s a by-product of the coconut business and is imported from Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines. It comes as a tricky, fibrous, pithy materials or as mud and has proved to be very profitable for bedding vegetation, germinating seeds and propagating cuttings.
3. Leaf mould – once more that is very environmentally pleasant. After two years, leaf mould could be sieved and used as an incredible peat substitute for enhancing the soil.
4. Manure – for those who reside on or close to a farm that is excellent! Effectively-rotted cow, hen and horse manure are notably good.
5. Bark chipping and even sheep’s fleece can be utilized as efficient mulch.
6. Pine needles and composted bracken are wonderful if it is advisable improve the acidity of your soil.
At current, alternate options to peat account for lower than 30% of the market, which for those who ask me is fairly unimpressive! A staggering 2.55 million cubic metres of peat are used yearly within the UK for horticultural makes use of.
So subsequent time you might have just a little peat reminiscence lapse keep in mind this: you’ll be able to have peat in a bag or you’ll be able to have peat in a bathroom however you’ll be able to’t have each. We are able to’t depend on the federal government to make the choice, so as soon as once more it’s as much as the buyer to make the selection. I hope you’ll all make the best one!
Keep gardening wild, and be a proud and peat-free gardener.
Location pictures courtesy of A-Z Botanical Assortment Ltd, London
Articles reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com