There has been a lot of buzz around the use of peat in the news recently, with the UK Government consulting on measures to end the retail sale of peat in England and Wales in order to curb climate change and protect habitats. But what is peat used for, and how does it differ from Gelponics?
What is peat?
Britannica defines peat as “fuel consisting of spongy material formed by the partial decomposition of organic matter, primarily plant material in wetlands such as swamps, muskegs, bogs, fens and moors.”
What is peat used for?
Peat moss is used by gardeners as an ingredient in potting soil – especially for acid-loving plants as it has an acid pH. Many growers rave about the benefits of peat moss, such as:
- Acidity – Most peat moss has a low pH of 3.5 to 6 on average (depending on where it was mined) which makes it suitable for acid-craving plants such as blueberries and strawberries
- Cleanliness – Easy to work with and can be swept up easily
- Doesn’t compact – Unlike soil, peat moss does not compact, despite absorbing water well – which makes the growing mix drain better
- Moisture retention – Peat absorbs and retains water well making it great to use for seedlings and also as a mix with other growing materials
- Sterility – Peat moss does not contain bacteria, fungus, harmful chemicals or weed seeds making it perfect for seedlings that tend to be vulnerable to the surrounding environment
However, there are downsides of peat as it consists of partially decomposed organic matter, derived mostly from plant material that has accumulated under conditions of waterlogging, oxygen deficiency, high acidity and nutrient deficiency, it contains little to no nutrients. This means that gardeners and growers that use peat moss have to constantly apply fertilisers in order to keep plants healthy.
Peat also releases huge amounts of stored carbon dioxide when it is harvested, which adds to greenhouse gas emission levels. So, peat mining is effectively unsustainable and not eco-friendly.
What is Gelponics?
Gelponics is a range of non-synthetic hydrogel formulations (granules, sheets and plugs) that control fertiliser, reduce complexity and save water – making them a suitable replacement for rock wool, peat and coir.
Gelponics has a shift-changer nutrient delivery system with additional benefits including:
- Recyclable – the Gelponics hydrogel product can be reused locally as a carbon-sequestering soil additive
- Water-holding – Gelponics has a significant water-holding capacity for precision nutrient delivery to the plant roots
- Improves food growth conditions – Gelponics improved food growth conditions by increasing yield, lowering energy costs and lowering CO2 emissions as well
As you can see, Gelponics is a great alternative to peat – not least for its environmentally friendly attributes as it is 100% compostable and has a low-carbon footprint.
If you want to find out more about Gelponics, a peat alternative, please contact us via email or phone.