Gardeners – take note of Monty Don’s peat compost warning. The much-loved green-fingered guru has accused garden centres of ‘actively choosing to do harm’ by selling peat-based compost. He also advised fellow gardeners to avoid buying mass-produced disposable pot plants from garden centres.
His warning to gardeners is, ‘This matters. If you don’t care about this then you are sticking your head in the sand [about climate change]’. His mission is to make the nation act ‘before it’s too late’.
Writing in his column for Gardener’s World, out this month, he urges gardeners, ‘Never buy peat in a potting compost. And don’t buy plants that are grown in peat.’ He goes on to say ‘no garden centres should stock these things. If they do then they are actively choosing to do harm’.
Painting a clearer picture to garden centres, he explains, ‘If you supply a product that relies on upon harmful environmental practices, cheap labour, poor conditions or the destruction of habitat then you are part of the problem.’ He says that If we want to to protect our ever diminishing plant life then we need to play our part and source sustainable produce.
‘We should not be buying cheap, mass-produced, disposable plants but either grow them ourselves or buy them locally from small producers,’ he advises. ‘We should each own the impact of what we buy and how it contributes to carbon emissions.’
According to The Times ‘Ten years ago the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the use of peat by amateur gardeners should be phased out by 2020.’
So why is a compost made with peat so bad for the environment? Well, according to the RHS, ‘Peat bogs are increasingly recognised as valuable habitats for wildlife and important stores of carbon, yet the UK horticultural industry still relies heavily on peat.’
‘Environmentalists, government and horticultural businesses in the UK now recognise the environmental consequences of using peat in horticulture, and the industry is turning increasingly to sustainable raw materials.’
In other words, mining peat bogs is destroying natural habitats.
Impassioned Monty says to those who garden, ‘It is our moral duty as gardeners to make the right choices now before it’s too late’.
Will you be joining Monty on his good gardening crusade?
Quotes from Gardener’s World November 2020 issue.