It was not my intention to write about the contentous subject of peat in gardening but a friend of mine sent me an article from the New York Times on the subject, which deserves wider distribution. So, maybe I should take the plunge.
There was a time when, in the UK, we all used lots of peat in gardening, we dug it into the ground as a ‘soil improver’ and used it as the basis for remarkably consistent and high quality potting compost. Some plants did not like it – as it could get terribly soggy in wet winters outside, but on the whole it was a fantastic material for potting compost. It has remarkable stability as it takes a very long time to decay.
Then we realized that in order to supply us with peat, lots of valuable habitat (peat bogs) were being destroyed in order to get at the peat underneath. Conservation organizations began to campaign against its use, and in the UK, they have more or less won, as the NYT piece explains, the government is trying to ban it.