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Moving to a Peat-Free Future: The Impact on Garden Centres
Peat being dug up

Garden centres have been reeling since the government announced that peat compost sales to gardeners will be banned from 2024. While many have already begun to reduce the amount of peat products they offer or have reduced the amount of peat in their products, there is still a way to go. So what’s the hold up?

The biggest concern among garden centres is that they can’t keep up with demand for peat-free products, whether it’s compost, mulch or fertiliser. According to Garden Trade News, peat-free compost sales have grown 452% since 2017, but still only account for 15% of all growing media volumes sold. Even when added to other peat-free products such as topsoil and manure, the figure is still only 25% – meaning garden centres need to replace or change 75% of their growing media ranges. That means that a vast proportion of customers are still committed to buying peat compost and other products.

What are the challenges that garden centres are facing?

Education

While the general public are becoming more aware of the impact of peat on the environment, lots of gardeners still swear by peat compost to help their plants and flowers flourish. Garden centres need to be at the forefront of the change, telling customers that they can grow beautiful blooms and delicious produce just as well without peat.

With a date set for the ban, garden centres must educate their customers about peat and why we need to protect our peatlands. Our handy guide to everything you need to know about peat helps explain why it’s vital that we leave peat in bogs to keep carbon locked into the ground.

Lots of businesses have already started re-educating their customers, including Groves Nurseries and Garden Centre. Speaking to Garden Trade News, Managing Director Charlie Groves said:

“A proportion of our customers still actually ask for peat-based compost and this is our chance to get the message across… We run our compost yard with a full-time member of staff on duty at all times… and they have been fully trained to answer questions relating to peat… all of the team are aware of the current issues surrounding peat.”

If suppliers and garden centres work together to educate consumers, the switch to peat-free products will be much smoother.

Finding sustainable suppliers

One of the biggest concerns that garden centres have around switching to 100% peat-free products is that the alternatives aren’t actually environmentally-friendly at all.

Some peat-free growing media such as coir is imported from places like Sri Lanka, so the environmental impact of shipping the product to the UK is huge. Others are worried that gardeners won’t be able to grow as healthy plants as they would with peat and will use more or different chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Luckily, PlantGrow can solve all of those problems.

PlantGrow’s range of peat-free, sustainable products

PlantGrow products are the first of its kind. 100% natural, organic and vegan, there are no harmful chemicals in the entire range. With soil conditioner, tomato and lawn food, BIO mix compost and many more, there are a range of alternatives to peat for garden centres to take advantage of immediately.

PlantGrow is produced on owners Steve and Sarah’s farm in Attleborough, Norfolk. Through the process of anaerobic digestion, where locally-grown crops, fruit and vegetables are broken down by natural bacteria, PlantGrow is born. It even produces electricity during the process! The result is a stream of biogas and a sludgy fibrous material that has all the organic compounds needed to produce thriving plants and flowers.

The mixture that the anaerobic process produces is left for 40 days to sit before being packaged up into recyclable containers or huge bulk bags ready to be supplied to garden centres or bought from consumers straight from our website.

Since PlantGrow is an all-natural product, there are no worries about harming the environment or running out. As one of the only UK-based companies to offer a proven peat-free alternative, we’re ready to provide garden retailers with the solution to their supply problems when the ban comes into force.

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