Making Compost

Changed the title of the topic.

Can you still get them anywhere given that peat bog is now usually protected habitat?


Please don’t. Many other things available to improve and feed your soil without destroying landscapes.


Can you explain to me please what “sustainable” peat is?

It is largely greenwash. Carefully managed, sphagnum moss wetlands can be harvested and this helps maintain the wetlands as well as producing a crop. However very few place have enough wetlands of this type to allow this to happen as you can’t harvest continually. Alaska possibly the main exception.

So most commercially available sphagnum peat is actually destroying wetlands by over harvesting, not conserving them. Because it is possible to harvest this sustainably they are often marketed as sustainable peat”. But you would really have to dig deep into production process to be sure of that. Much easier just to avoid it!


There’s nothing sustainable about that Colin. They’re just ducking and diving the legislation. Peat’s still being used a fuel in Ireland though industrial harvesting ended last year.

I’ve been making my own compost for the past 20 years and have never used sterilised soil, ground coconut coir or peat as ingredients. I use leaf mulch, chopped cuttings after pruning, kitchen ‘waste’ and chicken manure. Using the Berkeley hot composting method, it’s possible to have a heap ready in about a month.
Buying in your ingredients kind of defeats the purpose…

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Getting a nest of vipers put me off that idea years ago.

Ohh nasty getting vipers but that is not the ‘norm’ I’ve had compost for 6 years now and never had anything in it (other than my curious chickens!). It does seem a very expensive way to get something that is free to make and I’d also be worried about the peat thing, Monty is always talking about avoiding it now that we know how destructive harvesting is and I do listen to Monty!!!

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Had the vipers thing a few times so no compost heaps, all the grass gets mulched while cutting and leaves get dug in or mulched with the lawnmower so no piles of leaves lying around, the gardener in the chateau next door had it with a trailer load of leaves he forgot to empty, cue much swearing.
I was quite funny last weekend driving around seeing all the bonfires going getting rid of the leaves due to it being a warm sunny day, wait until Sunday so no one official is around to complain :yum::laughing:

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Which area is this Colin?

Department 72.
You don’t see as many here as at the other house 20 miles away.

A degree in horticultural science may mean you know about peat bog degradation, but obviously hasn’t sensitised you to care about wetlands. Which is odd as you do seem to be interested in the natural world so why do want to destroy such a wonderful landscape. Saying it’ just 2 bales is no justification. Until everyone stops buying any it will still be produced.

I have been gardening most of my life as a professional and for myself. I stopped using peat 30 years ago, and have never lacked for soil improver. Currently, apart from our own compost we also get locally composted green waste. Our preference is for a place that does composted wood (old pallets etc) mixed with some cow slurry. Sounds weird, but it’s lovely light organic matter, completely weed and pest free, with a hint of nutrients. Look around locally and you might find a source of composted organic matter.

You usually get snakes in your compost heap because your have mice. If you turn your compost heap regularly you get neither - we have one of these which works a treatérateur/dp/B00CFLIE32

(Can’t see the head of the snake in your photo, but the markings look more like a harmless whip snake than a viper)

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In fact whip snakes eat vipers. They grow very large and are quite aggressive - they rear up at our dogs - but are good to have around.

Shame on you for using any type of peat at all.

You will probably find that it is banned for import to France.

Whip snake sunning itself by our backdoor, June 2018

(I’m not sure if the gel and granules to deter serpents are actually a good thing for the other wildlife… it says they are ok for household pets… but that’s not quite the same thing.)

We just make a noise, walk … stomp… before fiddling with logs/stones/weed piles… whatever.

Interesting to note that the vipère is protected by law…

I was thinking about this, I’m sure under Brexit it will not be allowed, it is plant matter so a no no!

I haven’t used peat for years and I do a lot of sowing and raising seeds, mainly for veg BUT I have recently started growing a selection of carnivorous plants in order to deal with any mosquitos that invade the house. These plants largely seem to grow in pea bogs and need very infretile soil to thrive. The sites I have looked at on-line seem to use a mixture of what is effectively peat (tourbe blonde I think - I got it from the local agricultural merchant) plus vermiculite. I would love to find an alternative to the peat, although my one bag should last a very long time…

Tourbe blonde is sphagnum moss peat rather than the full on destroy the environment peat. Still not good, especially as much in France is sourced by destroying wetlands in eastern europe. Since we live in a forest, we can collect what we need off tree trunks!

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