With fine weather forecast for many areas, this weekend will see many of us out stocking up on earth-friendly peat-free seed, potting and ‘multipurpose’ compost. I want to take a virtual straw poll of how the UK’s garden suppliers are doing this spring in offering gardeners reliable, top-performing peat-free composts – but I need your help.
I recently visited over half a dozen garden centres and DIY stores in a single day to check out their offering of peat-free compost. Considering that the sun is ushering us toward spring at a rate of knots, I must say it was a very mixed and overall quite disappointing picture. Some had a reasonable selection of peat-frees, others none at all.
If you’re out and about on the peat-free trail this weekend, please leave a comment below to let me know how easy or otherwise it’s been to get hold of peat-free compost so far this spring. What I’m interested in hearing about is…
• Whether your local garden centre, DIY store, shop or supermarket is stocking peat-free compost this spring. Have they extended their peat-free range, or stopped it entirely?
• What reaction you’ve been getting when you ask if a garden centre or other outlet will stock a specific peat-free compost you’re asking for: is it engaged enthusiasm or one-day-maybe indifference?
• Are the bags of peat-free compost you’re finding obviously new, fresh stock – or are they faded, sodden and splitting? Does it inspire you to part with your cash?
• How knowledgeable were the staff about peat-free compost in those places where you have bought some (or tried to buy some)? Feel free to name the good, the bad and the ugly.
• Do you think the information given on compost bags is consistent and helpful, or does it make you want to scream and rush out past the checkout?
With peat-reduced composts, is saying ‘40 % peat-free’ more infuriating than saying ‘60% peat’?
Is it time that compost containing peat carried an ‘ecological health warning’ similar to that found on tobacco products? Rant away.
• Is there a particular garden centre, nursery, DIY store or local retailer that you feel is a real champion of reliable peat-free compost, offering knowledgeable service delivered in gardening speak? Tell me about them below.
• Perhaps you buy all you peat-free compost by mail order? Please let me know how you find that, and what suppliers you would recommend.
• If you’re someone who sells peat-free compost, I’d like to hear from you too – what’s the level of interest in peat-free products, which brands are gardeners asking for this spring, and what peat-frees sell well year on year?
Please leave any comments below. This is an ‘open thread’ so please feel free to respond directly to any comments and observations (just click on ‘reply’ below the comment you’re replying to).
If you’d like to send any pictures of what you find, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org