I thought that gardening was basically safe -- growing my own seeds and planting them in the yard was just about the greenest thing a person could do, right?
After my tomato seedlings grew too fast and got too leggy, I looked for pots that were a bit deeper to repot them. At the Orchard Hardware & Supply, I noticed that they had "fiber" pots instead of peat pots. I read the label and was shocked to discover that peat pots are not at all good for the environment!
The fiber pots I purchased are made out of Coir -- the outer husks of coconuts -- a totally renewable resource. Coconuts grow 4x/year vs peat bog which grows at a rate of 1 mm/year. Harvesting coir does not harm the tree or the surrounding area -- the rest of the coconut is used (mostly for food). Coir is organic plant material and will biodegrade over time and does not result in mold and other problems inherent in peat moss pots and soil additives.
- 10% of all the world's fresh water is in peat bogs
- Amateur gardeners account for approximately 70% of the peat used in horticulture.
- Peat extraction requires draining an entire bog, irreversibly damaging a delicate ecosystem.
- Once dried, peat extractors remove up to 22cm of peat/year - the bog increases in depth only 1mm/year. It will take 220 years for the peat bog to renew itself, and the ecosystem that once supported wildlife and plant life is likely to never return
- Peat bogs act as a carbon sink, absorb 10-20% of the 7 gigatons of carbon produced by humans/year.
- Peatlands hold around 1/4 to 1/3 of the total carbon dioxide in the world, released very slowly through anaerobic decomposition. Harvesting results in the release of thousands of years of carbon held in peatlands into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Coir as a replacement for peat moss
Sierra in News