The Disadvantages Of Peat Free Compost Are Many. For Several Decades We Depended On Peat & It’s Hard to Wean Ourselves Off It. But We Must, Despite the Disadvantages.
Many people already have views of The Disadvantages Of Peat Free Compost. I read them on social media and in the press every day. They list things like glass, plastic and large pieces of wood in the compost; compost drying out, lack of nutrition and general product inconsistency.
The photo here shows what gardener, Barbie Louise found in a bag of compost. shards of glass, plastic and a screw. The glass is particularly dangerous and my advice was to report it to the retailer and get the manufacturer to recall it. It’s a health hazard.
Types Of Peat Free Compost
There are several types of peat free compost and they vary a lot .. whereas peat was a slightly more standard product.
Woodchip based compost
Woodchip takes a long time to compost but the resulting compost can be very good and it’s a more consistent product than some of the alternatives. But because it takes time to produce, it costs more than some of the competitors.
Municipal Green Waste Compost
This is the compost that to my mind gives most problems. It is very inconsistent for several reasons. Being produced from green waste from parks, gardens and residents green bins it varies throughout the year. In spring and summer it has a lot of grass in it. In autumn there are more leaves and in winter there is much less produced and what is has little green material.
Composting this variable product must be very difficult. The carbon to nitrogen ratio varies week by week and it’s often full of paper, plastics, glass and bits of wood. And in some case the council mix in food waste from various sources.
This compost is never going to be good, unless you are lucky. I doubt that even if we had a compost standard this product would easily match it! I’ve written about compost standards elsewhere on this site.
This compost is now sometimes referred to as Green Compost. It seems a manipulative misnomer to me!
Coir is a by product of coconuts. It’s widely produced in India and Sri Lanka and is processed there for sale in the West. The manufacturing process is far from green and the coir is then shipped thousands of miles. It’s hard to call it a green product.
India is actively trying to promote coir as a wonder product. They claim it is green and sustainable. Many gardeners love coir, others point out its shortcomings.
On the plus side is is lightweight, re-wets easily, can have nutrient additions mixed in the dry or wet state and lasts several years.
The Real Peat Free Problem
For me the real problem isn’t the fact it’s peat free. It’s that what is being sold as peat free is rubbish. There needs to be a peat free standard imposed on those selling rubbish.
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