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25th Jun, 2022

ECO ACTION - To help the planet - avoid peat and pesticides

Bromsgrove Editorial 13th Mar, 2021

GARDENS represent nearly 30 per cent of urban areas in the UK and they must play their role in tackling climate change and maintaining biodiversity.

At this time of year, gardeners across the UK are invariably turning to store-bought compost, which often contains peat.

The UK’s peatlands (13 per cent of the world’s total) are superheroes of our ecosystem as altogether they store about 20 times more carbon than our forests, along with mitigating flooding, purifying water and providing a home for rare species.

At the present rate, roughly 10,500 football pitches of peatlands are being subjected to damage a year by the horticultural industry.

This destruction releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere and it is critically important gardeners preserve the world’s peatlands by choosing alternatives. When purchasing always look for the bag stating ‘peat-free’.

Springtime is also when gardeners across the UK will be thinking about helping plant growth and controlling garden pests. It’s important for gardeners to move away from chemical fertilisers and pesticides to ensure the long-term ecological health of the world.

A teaspoonful of healthy fertile soil should contain more friendly micro-organisms than there are people on the Earth today.

However, the long-term use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers kills these micro-organisms, ultimately releasing greenhouse gases and decreasing soil fertility. Chemical fertiliser also has the potential to create run-off polluting the local air and water.

So it’s essential for gardeners create their own organic compost, sourced from kitchen waste and garden waste, or by using well-rotted manure to ensure healthy resilient plants in the long term.

Chemical Pesticides, like fertilisers, also have long-term ecological effects by harming pollinators and in turn, the larger food chain members, ie birds, frogs and hedgehogs.

Luckily the gardener has many alternatives – physical barriers like netting, sheep’s wool or even crushed eggshell, which is good for deterring slugs and snails, companion planting like growing garlic with roses, marigolds by carrots and plant oils sprays like onion, garlic, eucalyptus or chrysanthemum, encouraging natural predators like ladybirds, beetles, frogs and birds and rotation planting.

People should think before they buy.

New Bromsgrove Climate Action members are always welcome.

Search for ‘Bromsgrove Climate Action’ on Facebook or email bromsgroveclimateaction@gmail.com to find out more.

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