Monty Don urges gardeners to stop using peat now

Gardening guru sends a clear message against peat use

Peat hags near Loadpot Hill above Ullswater in the Lake District, UK
(Image credit: Ashley Cooper/Getty)

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. 

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.' 

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 writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.