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The Peat-Free Diet

Updated on March 22, 2013

How to garden without peat

'The Peat-Free Diet' explains exactly how to go about gardening without using any peat. There are any number of discussions about why we should or should not use peat in gardening, but the book doesn't preach - it simply explains how raise plants successfully without using peat, and how to overcome the problems you're likely to encounter if you're an experienced gardener trying to move away from using peat.

The foreword is by Alys Fowler, UK garden writer & TV presenter

Alys Fowler
Alys Fowler

Foreword to The Peat-Free Diet

by Alys Fowler

Oh boy, gardening can be hard work. And I'm not just talking about all the digging, moving and hauling stuff about. Something as simple as buying some compost can be fraught with problems. There's so much choice for starters and then some hippy type (that's me) bangs on about your ethical and environmental choices and all you wanted to do was plant up some strawberries and potter about in the sun.

Well it's true gardening is a complex thing. It's not just that you have to learn how to work with nature. It turns out that you have to get involved with politics too. Your choices of how you garden and what you buy all come with a statement.

So here's mine. I don't go out and garden, one of the most pleasurable activities in my life, to harm anyone else's bit. So I don't want anything in my garden that willing destroyed someone else's garden (and that someone else is not necessarily human). I'd like to think I tread lightly where I can and I'd like to think you might do too when you garden.

Phew, I'll get off my soap box now and get to the exciting bit! Emma's book is a great gardening book, it will help you through all the troublesome bits about getting going, sowing seeds, potting on, growing great food and wonderful flowers. And it just so happens to take you through all of this PEAT-FREE.

No jargon, no politics, just a great way to grow that happens to help the planet as well. If you are a seasoned gardener interested in moving over to peat-free compost you can jump straight into the nitty-gritty of peat-free propagation (the bit that perhaps requires the greatest change in husbandry practices). Do you want to know about the difference between various compost mixtures? How to make your own or choose a manufactured brand, along with watering and pest issues? It's all in here.

This book is designed for you start at the beginning or use it as a reference book. And the best thing? It's electronic, so no paper and no mucky paw-prints.

Alys Fowler

October 2011

The Peat-Free Diet is available on Amazon! - Buy one chapter, or the whole book :)

Start reading The Peat-Free Diet
Start reading The Peat-Free Diet


The Peat-Free Diet Plan

Find out how and why I started writing The Peat-Free Diet and why I decided to blog the book as I go along in the Preface.

The Peat-Free Diet
The Peat-Free Diet

Table of Contents

What's in The Peat-Free Diet?

The Peat-Free Diet is divided into six chapters.

Chapter one is all about seeds. Many gardeners love growing plants from seeds, others find it daunting; it doesn't always go according to plan. Chapter one looks at what seeds are, what they need to grow, and the basics of seed sowing. Learn how to make the right choice of container and peat-free seed compost, and how to check seed viability.

Chapter two covers seedlings. What care do seedlings need? What problems do they face? Find out how to keep them safe from pests and diseases, give them a good start in life with healthy food, and prepare them for life outside.

Chapter three discusses container culture, describing how to choose the right containers and blend your own peat-free potting mixes. Learn how to feed and water plants in pots, keep them healthy, and save money on potting soil.

Chapter four heads outside to look at the soil - what it's made of, and how to make the most of the soil you have. Decide whether to dig, or not to dig, then learn about peat-free soil improvement and plants you can grow to keep your soil healthy and feed your garden.

Chapter five looks as some of the other ways peat finds its way into your garden, and suggests how to avoid peat when buying plants, growing your own mushrooms, carnivorous and acid-loving plants, or getting involved with guerrilla gardening.

Chapter six is the reference section, listing items that are handy to have around in the peat-free potting shed, and explaining terms that have been used in the book. It also contains a handy guide to composting at home.

Peat-Free Resources - Useful information on peat-free gardening

The Peat-Free Diet will contain a list of useful resources for more information on peat-free gardening, which I am collecting as I go along. I will update this link list when I find good sites.

Peat-Free Suppliers - Where to find peat-free alternatives

Again, I will be updating this list as and when I find suitable suppliers :)

Why I don't dig peat - The environmental issues behind the use of peat in the garden

There are various environmental reasons why peat should be left in the ground - peat bogs are valuable wildlife resources, and their destruction allows carbon dioxide that was locked up in the peat to escape into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. And peat bogs grow so slowly that we should consider them a non-renewable resource; at some point our peat supplies will run out entirely. There's no need to use it in the garden, so we can reap environmental benefits with very little effort.

The Peat-Free Diet doesn't aim to convert anyone to the peat-free cause, only to give you the information you need to garden without peat. If you'd like to know more about the environmental issues, then these resources should help.

Tell me what you think about the book, share your peat-free hints and tips or ask questions:


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    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I haven't read the book, yet, but I'm always looking for more earth-friendly ways to garden.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Very interesting and helpful lens.