Peat-free compost is referred to the compost that is peat-free.
The efficacy and mineral content of peat-free compost is no less than the one containing peat.
Peat-free compost is best for water retention but for plants that require drainage, peat-free compost is altered with inorganic compounds.
In the case of hanging baskets, peat-free compost is a good option.
Peat-free compost ensures the quality and healthy growth of plants under optimum conditions.
Also, adding peat-free compost to your hanging basket won’t call for frequent watering to hanging baskets.
Components Of Peat-Free Compost
Peat-free compost consists of organic matter other than peat, hence the name, peat-free.
Due to its low pH, wood is an excellent composting material. Peat-free compost contains sawdust, paper waste, wood fiber, wood waste, twigs, and composted bark.
Moreover, wood has remarkable drainage properties which makes it an essential component of peat-free compost.
Green compost comprises green waste. The green waste consists of freshly dead plants or vegetables that are still green.
Examples include green fruit scraps, freshly clipped grass, vegetable peels, and even manure.
Green compost is enriched with nutrients and has a high pH level. Green compost makes up 30% of the total peat-free compost.
Coconut fiber also known as coir is one of the most significant components of peat-free compost.
Coir is a waste product but has outstanding water-holding capacity. Moreover, in the process of composting the coarse coconut fibers create air passages to speed up the process.
Types Of Peat-Free Compost
Multi-Purpose Seed Compost
Multi-purpose seed compost is mainly used for germinating seeds. This peat-free compost is formulated for healthy seed growth. It includes perlite, sterilized loam, grit, and coarse coir.
This 100% peat-free compost is limited to ericaceous plants. Ericaceous plants have acidic nature and require a specific type of compost.
Carnivorous Plant Compost
This is one of the sustainable options and includes wood fiber, sphagnum moss, perlite or vermiculite, and sharp sand.
It is crucial to know that every fertilizer does not go well with every compost type. Always use a fertilizer that gets along with your compost type.
Why Use Peat-Free Compost In Hanging Baskets
Peat is obtained from peat bogs, exclusively found in lowlands.
In recent years, excessive use of peat bogs in peat compost has led to the depletion of peat bogs and caused a disturbance in the natural ecosystem.
Moreover, the usage of peat compost threatens peat bogs and poses a risk to the flora and fauna of lowlands that are highly dependent on peat bogs.
Furthermore, peat bogs are carbon sinks, their extraction has adverse effects on climate and therefore a peat-free compost must be used to grow plants.
Environmental Benefits Of Peat-Free Compost
Peat-free composts benefit the environment by reducing the extraction of peatlands.
Peatlands or peat bogs are carbon sinks and play a crucial part in water management.
Peat bogs are habitat to a lot of wildlife species and their depletion will not only destroy their natural habitat but also endanger their life.
Shifting to peat-free compost helps in regulating water systems, conserves peat bogs, and reduces global warming and climate change.
The use of peat-free compost will also regulate the food chain as the flora of those lowlands will not be destroyed.
How To Use Peat-Free Compost In A Hanging Basket
Peat-free compost is enriched with essential nutrients and is considered the best compost for hanging baskets.
- Gather all plants to be planted in the hanging basket along with peat-free compost.
- To achieve peak performance of peat-free compost mix it with vermiculite before using it in your hanging basket. Vermiculite causes aeration in soil and when mixed with peat-free leaves air passages and helps in seed germination.
- Peat-free compost is bulky and when mixed with inorganic materials like sand can help in water retention.
- Before adding peat-free compost to the hanging basket, cut out a small saucer-shaped plastic to be used as a liner for the basket.
- Fill the basket with soil and peat-free compost and sow seeds or plants.
- The top layer of peat-free compost dries out quicker than the underlying layer, always detect moisture with a dry stick or your fingers.
- If your plant type requires water drainage, mix grit or sand with peat-free compost.
Which Plants Thrive Best In Peat-Free Hanging Baskets
Peat-free compost is suitable for all kinds of plants that demand water retention. However, not all plants need water retention, some plants require water drainage.
For such plants, inorganic components like grit and sharp sand are added to the compost mixture to maximize soil quality.
Suitable summer plants for peat-free hanging baskets include silver falls, creeping jenny, pansies, and tobacco plants. Winter plants include ornamental sled and ivy etc.
The Frequency Of Watering
It is assumed that since peat-free compost retains water, there is little or no need to water them.
Although it is true that peat-free compost retains water but it still needs to be watered.
Especially in summer, when the temperatures are high, peat-free compost baskets should be watered regularly or when needed.
When peat-free compost gets completely dry, it becomes useless for plants. It should neither be completely dry nor it should be over-watered.
Peat-free compost should remain moist in all seasons. The frequency of watering peat-free compost hanging baskets depends on weather conditions and the type of plant.
Peat-free compost is sustainable and eco-friendly.
Increased extraction of peat bogs will only lead us to floods and other environmental hazards.
By shifting towards peat-free composts, we are saving our planet from global warming as peatlands are carbon stores and regulate water management.
When used in hanging baskets, it creates a water reservoir for the growing plants, and the frequency of watering hanging baskets is minimized.
When seeds are grown in peat-free hanging baskets, the germination is healthy and on time.
Peat-free compost causes no harm to the environment and helps in seed germination and plant growth.
Thus, peat-free compost is a good option for hanging baskets.