Dig with peat-free compost

For truly green gardening, it’s important to use peat-free compost wherever you can. New gardeners often don’t realise that extracting peat damages peatland habitats and wildlife, and releases CO2 emissions that harm the environment.

The good news is, you can lower your CO2 emissions immediately by using peat-free compost for the majority of your gardening needs. If you can’t buy peat-free, look for compost with a low peat content.

Learn more about using peat-free compost:

  1. Buy peat-free compost – starting now
  2. Use peat-free all around the garden
  3. Grow a greener, bigger, better garden
  4. Small price to pay
  5. Checking the label
  6. But I have to use peat-based compost!

Buy peat-free compost – starting now

Regenerated pete bogAll garden centres now stock peat-free composts, which include products made from wood-bark, green-waste compost, other wood waste and wood fibre and coir (made from coconut husks). You can also buy recycled peat from spent mushroom compost. The key to reducing your carbon footprint is looking for lower carbon alternatives – if you buy compost that is peat-free, you will minimise the impact on the environment. Peat takes thousands of years to form, which means neither the CO2 it releases, nor the habitat it damages when extracted, will be readily replaced.

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Use peat-free all around the garden

Peat-free compost works very well all around the garden, as long as you follow the correct instructions. You can use peat-free compost for all the general garden uses for which you might otherwise have used peat compost, such as in pots, growbags, hanging baskets or flower beds. In fact, there are only a few specialist uses for which peat-based compost might still be preferable.

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Grow a greener, bigger, better garden

Peat-free compost is just as good as peat for the majority of garden uses, but it’s worth double-checking the instructions. As they’re made from different products, some peat-free composts have different watering and feeding requirements, but if you follow each compost’s instructions there’s no reason why your garden shouldn’t flourish.

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Small price to pay

Peat-free compost usually costs more than peat-based products, but when you consider the environmental benefits of buying peat-free, that’s a small price to pay.

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Checking the label

The best way to find out whether a compost is peat-free or not is to check the label. Most varieties state 'Peat-Free' in the contents list. To make absolutely sure, you can download Recycle Now's guide to buying peat-free compost, soil conditioners and mulches, which lists peat-free brands, products and contents.

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But I have to use peat-based compost!

Cotton sedgeAlthough you don’t need peat compost for most garden purposes, there are some specialist uses for which peat might still be the appropriate choice. For example, if you are growing carnivorous plants that are native to peat bogs, or certain varieties of ericaceous plants native to moorlands, peat alternatives may not work as well. If you absolutely must use peat compost, try to buy products with a low peat content and look to buy peat-free for your other garden uses.

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