Diarmuid Gavin advises people to 'make your own compost'
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Environmentalists, the Government, and gardening organisations all agree that the use of peat should be phased out and replaced by sustainable and if possible, locally sourced alternatives. Restoration of peatlands is a crucial part of the Government’s strategy to tackle climate change.
Speaking on the BBC today, gardener Diarmuid Gavin said: “The horticultural-owned industry has traditionally run from peat, but it’s a magnificent growing medium, it doesn’t contain any nutrients but it’s great for the plants to lock into.
“However, it isn’t sustainable.”
Sharing a simple compost alternative, he said: “There’s very easy things you can do. First of all, ask that question ‘were those plants grown in peat, where do they come from?’ and do your bit that way.
“The other thing you can do is grow your own, make your own.
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“This is compost that I made. I have, maybe an average sized garden, maybe slightly bigger than an average size garden, and all my green waste goes into a heap and it reduces down to this beautiful crumbly stuff.
“Have a go! It’s so easy. Making your own compost is as good as the Bake Off.”
Peat is very important to the planet as a carbon source because it holds more carbon than the combined forests in Britain, France and Germany.
Area for area, peatlands store more carbon than rainforests.
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The product is also very important for wildlife with many rare species inhabiting peatlands.
Additionally, peat is crucial for water management, with peat holding up to 20 times its own weight in water.
Archaeologically, peat is important as it preserves a record of past vegetation, landscapes and people.
When peat is used in gardens, carbon emissions are released and habitats are damaged.
At least 80 percent of British peatlands are damaged.
Just one out of 20 leading garden retailers has pledged to eliminate peat from its shelves this year, according to a survey carried out by wildlife campaigners.
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: “Our survey shows that most retailers’ approach to the voluntary ban on peat sales has been woeful – even though the industry has been aware of the problem for decades.
“The time for voluntary agreements is over – the sale of peat must end now.
“Countless promises have been broken, and targets missed with the result that precious peatland habitats are still being unnecessarily destroyed in the name of gardening.”
Mr Bennett added: “Peatlands are vital wildlife habitats and it’s absolutely crucial that they remain intact to help us tackle climate change.
“The Government can ensure that these important carbon stores function as nature intended by banning peat sales now.”
Only one retailer, Travis Perkins, has announced its intention to eliminate peat from its shelves by 2021.
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