Peat derives from a rare habitat known as lowland raised bogs. This is a diminishing resource which is why the need for peat free soil is becoming extremely important. Flora and fauna depend on these bogs and when they are destroyed to make compost, this hurts climate change.
Compost manufacturers are now coming up with a range of alternatives to stop this detrimental influence on our planet. As a result, there is a variety of peat-free compost choices to choose from that contain a mixture of organic materials like composted bark, woodfibre, green compost and inorganic materials such as rock wool and perlite.
To create a balanced compost with enough air and good root growth, a mix of coarse and fine particles are needed.
The Materials Used In Peat Free Soil
Peat free soil can be made at home by mixing well-rotted compost, leafmould and inorganic materials such as loam and sand to make your own peat free growing media. Results may vary greatly because it is difficult to ensure that the final mix is weed-free. After all, PH, moisture retention and available nutrients are not standardised.
Wood-based materials are very common in peat free composts which include paper waste, sawdust, composted bark and woodfibre. Wood-based mixes have brilliant drainage properties and a low PH which makes them ideal for most plants.
Coconut fibre is otherwise known as ‘coir’ and it comes from Sri Lanka. Despite being a waste product, coconut fibre is a fantastic peat free soil as it can hold a lot of water and contains a mixture of fine and coarse fibres. Therefore, it can hold air in pore spaces which makes it a great growing medium. Unfortunately, it does not hold nutrients though, and this may limit its effectiveness as a soil.
Collecting and composting green waste is another way of creating peat free soil. This compost tends to have a high PH and high nutrient content which makes it an excellent soil improver. Not to mention, it is often mixed with other materials to make potting compost.