Sustainable gardening is becoming increasingly popular among gardeners in the UK and US. As climate change continues to impact the planet, gardeners are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and protect valuable ecosystems. One way to do this is by using peat-free compost, which is now widely available in both countries.
But why is peat no longer used in compost? Peatlands are important ecosystems that act as flood inhibitors and carbon sinks. However, their use in compost has severely depleted these valuable resources. In response, the UK has banned the sale of peat-based compost, and many gardeners are choosing to switch to peat-free alternatives.
Peat-Free Soil Brands That Are (Compost) Gold
Peat-free soil brands are becoming increasingly popular among gardeners who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Carbon Gold’s soil improver is a great choice for those who want to improve soil quality while also reducing their environmental impact. Garden centers across the UK are now stocking New Horizon’s peat-free compost, which is made from sustainably sourced materials and is perfect for growing a wide range of plants. Miracle Gro’s peat-free potting mix is another great option, as it contains a blend of natural ingredients that help to promote healthy plant growth. Melcourt’s peat-free compost is also worth considering, as it is made from a blend of sustainable materials that are rich in nutrients. Dalefoot’s wool compost is a unique alternative to traditional peat-based composts, as it is made from a blend of wool and bracken that is both sustainable and effective.
The Full List Of Peat-Free Potting Soil & Compost Suppliers
Wakefield is a minority and family-owned business from Georgia state. Their Premium Compost is produced from sustainable forestry certified (FSC) wood scraps. This compost reduces plant disease and retains soil moisture, allowing your garden to flourish. The compost is made in the USA and OMRI-certified organic. To use, blend into the top six inches of soil, which creates healthy growing conditions for flower beds, vegetable gardens, trees, plants, shrubs, fresh lawn seeding and raised garden beds. The price range for Wakefield Peat-Free Potting Soil is $30 for 1 cu. ft.
2. R&M Organics
R&M Organics is a California-based family-owned and operated company. Their All-Purpose Peat-Free Potting Soil harnesses the udder-ly divine power of cow manure, which is the exclusive ingredient in this OMRI-certified compost fertilizer. Dairy cow manure is cured for a few weeks, which removes odors or bad bacteria and leaves us with the ideal all-purpose compost fertilizer good for moisture and nutrient retention. For every bag sold, a tree is planted by R&M Organics, whose peat alternatives work great when mixed into potting soil or as a garden bed additive. The price range for R&M Organics All-Purpose Peat-Free Potting Soil is $22 for 0.31 cu. ft.
3. Charlie’s Compost
Charlie’s Compost is a Kentucky-based company that believes the best compost for a vegetable garden can have zero odor, zero filler, and zero additives. Charlie’s Peat-Free Potting Mix is a fertile blend of vegetarian & antibiotic-free chicken manure, biochar, organic grasses, and organic remnants of crop production. Praised for jumpstarting bioactivity and nutrient content of even the most depleted soils, this concentrated formula allows a small amount to fertilize big for beautiful, healthy, vibrant plants or vegetables. Charlie’s compost is OMRI-certified organic by Kentucky state and a proud member of the US Composting Council. The price range for Charlie’s Peat-Free Potting Mix is $25 for 10 lbs.
4. Wiggle Worm
Wiggle Worm has provided the highest quality vermicomposting product for growing plants in the USA for more than 40 years. Their Organic Peat-Free Composts are OMRI-certified “pure and powerful worm castings”. Worm castings are odorless soil digested and excreted by large groups of worms, which are rich in healthy enzymes and nutrients for plants. You’ll only need a tiny amount of WW mixed into existing soil to burst your garden with lush vitality. That’s because it allows plants to easily and expediently absorb all trace elements and essential nutrients. The price range for Wiggle Worm Organic Peat-Free Composts is $24–$42 for 12–30 lbs.
5. Carbon Gold
Carbon Gold is on a mission to turn carbon into gold by sequestering carbon while improving plant health. As the world’s leading biochar company, this gardening brand is committed to improving human health and the planet’s health through organic and nutritious soil health. Carbon Gold’s Biochar All Purpose Compost is a 100% organic peat-free mix rich with nutrients from organic coir, mycorrhizal fungi, worm castings, charred plant matter, seaweed, and a vegetable-based nutrient blend that foster lush, healthy root growth. The Grochar-rich soil mix helps lock away carbon, which makes it as healthy for the environment as it is for your flowers. Suitable for use anywhere in your garden, raised beds, potted plants, hanging baskets, window boxes, or flower and vegetable beds. The price range for Carbon Gold Organic Peat-Free Compost is £32.97 for 30L.
6. New Horizon
Westland’s New Horizon provides organic peat-free multipurpose compost for all types of plants and gardens. The magic is delivered via Westland’s trademarked BIO3 compost engineering that gives plants the ability to “Thrive, Boost, Sustain” without peat-based compost. Sounds high-tech, but this fertilizer is back to roots (literally) with its rave-reviewed mix for seedlings, containers, fruit and veg, and herbs, but it’s not suitable for ericaceous plants. UK-based Westland, who owns the New Horizon brand, says “We want to make people’s gardens and gardening dreams come true.” Westland recently introduced BIO3, a natural and sustainable material that facilitates peat reduction levels without compromising performance. Westland has a conscious sustainability strategy and regularly looks for ways to make products more green, reduce plastic use, and they’re zero waste at corporate offices. Some products contain pesticides, with reduction strategies in
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Why Use Peat-Free Compost?
Peat-free compost is a sustainable option that has gained popularity in recent years due to the negative impact of peat extraction on the environment. Peatlands are important carbon sinks, sequestering 42% of all land carbon and mitigating the effects of climate change. However, overharvesting for peat products has severely damaged more than 80% of all peatlands in the UK, releasing carbon into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
Using peat-free compost is a simple way to reduce one’s carbon footprint and support sustainable gardening practices. Peat-free composts are made from organic materials such as green waste and sphagnum moss, which are renewable resources. They also help to preserve peat bogs and the ecosystems they support, including natural habitats for wildlife and sources of drinking water.
In addition to its environmental benefits, peat-free compost has practical advantages for gardening. It retains moisture and nutrients, and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of different plants. While peat-based compost may have a low pH suitable for acid-loving plants, peat-free alternatives can also provide long-term benefits for container plants and seedlings.
Overall, using peat-free compost is a sustainable choice that supports the environment and promotes healthy plant growth. By choosing peat-free options, gardeners can contribute to biodiversity and water management, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving carbon stores in peatlands.
How We Chose The Best Peat Alternatives
When choosing the best peat alternatives, there are a variety of factors to consider. The team looked at the materials used in the compost, their sustainability, effectiveness, and cost. After careful consideration, the team identified the following five materials as the best peat-free potting soil:
Coir, made from coconut husks, is a natural byproduct of the coconut industry. It has an open structure, is biodegradable, and is lightweight. Coir is ideal for young seedlings and root cuttings. While coir loses an eco point for its shipping, it repurposes waste products to balance it as a sustainable alternative to peat.
Wool is an ethical byproduct of the wool industry that is natural, biodegradable, and renewable. It locks in moisture and provides a slow release of nitrogen fertilizer. Wool also contains useful trace elements like potassium, sodium, iron, and phosphorus.
Composted bark, sawdust, wood, or paper waste are all good options for peat alternatives. They have a low pH and drain well, making them ideal for gardening. Wood chips also make good mulch and are oftentimes free from forestry management.
Biochar is a form of charcoal that is perfect for climate-conscious gardeners. It stimulates plant growth effectively and works as a carbon sink, making it an excellent alternative to peat.
Making your own compost is an excellent way to ensure that your gardening practices are sustainable. By striking a balance between wet greens and dry browns, you can keep food waste out of landfills while feeding your beautiful garden for free.
When choosing a peat-free compost brand, it is important to look for certifications such as Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Soil Association, International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9001), and ISO 14001. These certifications ensure that the compost is sustainable and meets environmental standards.
Final Thoughts On Peat Compost Vs. Peat-Free Compost Brands
In conclusion, there are a variety of peat alternatives available that can be just as effective as peat-based compost. Using peat-free compost is important for reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. The team recommends using one of the five materials listed above or making your own compost for a sustainable and eco-friendly gardening experience.