Monday, June 8, 2009

Why peat free?

We are a peat-free company for a few reasons. The biggest reason we do not use peat is because we have high-quality, locally made compost we can substitute for peat. In the US, peat comes mostly from Canada, so buying local compost takes thousands of miles "off the road", and reduces our carbon footprint.

Additionally, as peat breaks down, it changes from carbon sink to carbon source, which contributes to global warming...and the porosity is reduced in your potted plants...thereby reducing available air space needed for oxygen around plant roots.

Plus, high-quality compost imparts special properties to a potting soil, namely, increased ability to hold moisture longer, resulting in less watering. Using less water saves you time and helps our planet.

Adding compost to potting soil also gets valuable members of the soil food web into the mix, providing beneficial biology in the root zone. University trials have shown high-quality compost can improve overall plant appearance and quality. Dr. Harry Hoitink has published volumes on this subject while at Ohio State.
Another reason to use compost instead of peat is habitat preservation. I'd rather save the habitat for the regional flora and fauna. Also, compost is a by-product of existing agricultural operations, whereas peat is a harvested natural resource.

Perhaps the most compelling, is that harvested peat is actually the fossil deposits produced by peat moss. EU scientists have reminded us that peat has been forming for over 360 million years and forms at a very slow rate of approximately 1 millimeter (mm) / year. Think about it...1mm of peat moss at the surface is not exactly equivalent to 1mm of peat 20 feet under the surface.

It is controversial, and you can find both sides of this story online. For us, the big picture is we feel we create a superior potting soil using compost, coconut husk fiber, pine bark, worm castings and rice hulls. Water less, use it twice, locavore friendly, earth friendly, whats not to love!

So, it is less about being detrimental to the average gardener, and more about looking to our collective future, and helping gardeners reduce their carbon footprint by making exceptional quality potting soil from earth friendly ingredients.

If you want to read more on the topic, check out:

1 comment:

  1. Why peat free? Why not peat free? Because peat (The main organic compound in all other potting soils) is not sustainable and its harvesting is destroying unique ecosystems! Organic Mechanics uses coconut fiber instead of peat because it holds moisture better, does not shrink when dry and breaks down at a much slower rate, therefore allowing you to re-use the potting soil and that saves you money! Good for your wallet and your planet!