Monty Don has issued a stark warning to all gardeners: stop using peat in your garden now. The gardener, TV presenter and author has been a vocal opponent of peat use for years and has welcomed the legislation that will ban sales of peat-based compost from 2024.
However, this date is still three years away, and while peat-free compost has become much more readily available, peat is still sold in most garden centres and nurseries across the UK. In a recent video post on Twitter, Monty calls on all gardeners to be proactive and stop using peat right now, since its extraction is so damaging to the environment.
It’s time for every gardener to play their part and ditch peat. pic.twitter.com/gEJXiqz6kLOctober 16, 2021
Monty was very clear and firm in his message, saying that 'we've just got to accept that by using peat we are releasing carbon into the atmosphere and making the situation worse. And it's an emergency. We need to act.'
He reiterated his stance that using peat 'is an act of eco vandalism, and no garden justifies that.' He also stressed that 'there's no need' for peat, with 'plenty of alternatives' available. Pre-empting the arguments that peat is particularly beneficial for growing certain plants, he said that 'there's no excuse for using for any plant at all'.
Monty practises what he preaches, too, saying that he hasn't used any peat in his garden for years – 'and my garden is okay.'
Some gardeners are missing the point: It really doesnt matter how well plants in your garden grow or do not grow, no plants or garden justify the use of peat. Ever. We must therefore adapt- even if that means a loss of quality (which I firmly believe is not the case)October 17, 2021
Inevitably, Monty's post led to some responses from gardeners that cited poor plant results with peat-free compost. However, as Monty pointed out in a follow-up tweet, to continue using peat because it is good for your plants is 'missing the point' – there simply is not justification for using peat 'ever'.
Even 'a loss of quality', which Monty doesn't believe will result from ditching peat, would not be a good-enough reason for resorting to the use of peat. If you're worried about the quality of your soil and the health of your plants, there are all sorts of steps you can take to improve both, from learning about composting and mulching to fertilizing plants.
And if your local garden centre does not stock peat-free compost, it's readily available online, delivered to your door.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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