Go peat free
Next time you need some compost, make sure it’s labelled peat free. These days it works just as well as peat-based stuff – in fact many types of peat-free are easier to re-wet after getting too dry.
If you can’t find any peat-free, ask for it. Consumer demand is the single most powerful way to get retailers and manufacturers to change their ways.
More than 94 per cent of the UK’s lowland peat bogs have been destroyed or damaged, and a wealth of wildlife along with it. Bogs take thousands of years to form and are home to all sorts of colourful plants, from the signature sphagnum to carnivorous sundew, bladderwort, bog myrtle and cotton grass (which isn’t really a grass at all!). They provide an environment for rare dragonflies, spiders and other invertebrates and a feeding ground for birds such as the golden plover, meadow pipits and skylarks.
These days bogs are also of interest because they act as stores of carbon dioxide, and harvesting them releases it into the atmosphere.
You can find out what some of the major retailers offer in the way of peat-free composts in The Wildlife Trusts’ leaflet For Peat’s Sake.