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 menace. Michaela Strachan needs to know why.
Do you know that thirtieth July is Worldwide Bathroom Day? Properly, you’d be forgiven in the event you didn’t, however it’s. It’s a day to have a good time these uncommon and distinctive habitats and to make folks conscious that they’re sadly quick disappearing. There are just a few the reason why this occurring, particularly drainage for agriculture, forestry and the industrial extraction of peat for the horticultural trade. And that brings me to the topic of this month’s article: PEAT, PEAT, GLORIOUS PEAT!
Now I don’t need to go off on one, however why oh why are folks nonetheless utilizing peat? I just lately did an merchandise on Countryfile about bogs and peat and was astonished to be taught that although 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 situation is about or just acquired too slowed down in making an attempt to make their gardens develop! For these caring wildlife gardeners amongst us, I believed I’d do some refresher course.
To start with, what’s a peat lavatory?
Properly, 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 hundreds of years, which is why sustainable large-scale peat extraction is unattainable; the extraction is at all times sooner than the expansion. Habitats like these merely take too lengthy to develop again.
Why are they so essential?
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.
When you’ve ever been to a peat lavatory you’ll know what superb 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 dwelling to hundreds of bugs together with butterflies, dragonflies and the uncommon raft spider. Practically a thousand totally different flowering vegetation develop there, together with carnivorous vegetation similar to the good 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 once I just 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 comprise irreplaceable supplies courting again to the ice age. Many objects are preserved in peat bogs, issues like historic boats, bushes and even our bodies.
What’s peat used for?
Peat was used for hundreds of years as gasoline, however as of late gardeners get via enormous 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 in regards to the enormous 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 numerous options that gardening shops can suggest; listed below are just a few.
1. House-made compost – that is an apparent soil improver and one which I hope you have got all began to make by now. Not solely does this cut back your backyard and family waste, it’s also extraordinarily environmentally pleasant.
2. Coir – that is the preferred different to peat when used as a rising media. It’s a by-product of the coconut trade 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 might be sieved and used as an ideal peat substitute for bettering the soil.
4. Manure – in the event you dwell on or close to a farm that is supreme! Properly-rotted cow, hen and horse manure are significantly good.
5. Bark chipping and even sheep’s fleece can be utilized as efficient mulch.
6. Pine needles and composted bracken are glorious if it’s essential to enhance the acidity of your soil.
At current, options to peat account for lower than 30% of the market, which in the event you 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 have got a bit peat reminiscence lapse bear in mind this: you possibly can have peat in a bag or you possibly can have peat in a lavatory however you possibly can’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 patron to make the selection. I hope you’ll all make the fitting one!
Keep gardening wild, and be a proud and peat-free gardener.
Location images courtesy of A-Z Botanical Assortment Ltd, London
Articles reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com