Growing demand for high quality peat

Peat extraction volumes will not increase despite growing demand for horticulture. In Germany, Ireland, there are already significant restrictions on peat extraction. The main reason is the unjustified use of peat for energy, or simply to burn it. We know that the use of peat substrates in plant cultivation allows for the uptake of CO2 from the air. On the contrary to peat burning which increases the amount of carbon dioxide. These types of actions also lead to logical action by law enforcement agencies. In Irish the High Court has set aside “in their entirety” the State’s regulations that allow for the industrial extraction of peat from Irish bogs. In what is considered a significant landmark judgment, Mr Justice Simons’ decision means that peat cannot be extracted from areas larger than 30 hectares from Irish bogs unless the developer has planning permission to do so. That is the decision that is appropriate with 2019 European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment (Peat Extraction) Regulations, and the Planning and Development Act 2000, (Exempted Development) regulations 2019

Have use more peat substrates in domestic market

The Latvian Peat Association supports the European Green Course and is ready to look for solutions to reduce GHG emissions in the sector. Extraction and processing of peat for horticulture and forestry (growing of food, trees and ornamental plants) should be carried out in a sustainable manner through modernization of the sector, increasing added value of the produced peat products, contributing to the national economy and population and achieving climate neutrality developing nurseries in Latvia and exporting vegetables to Western Europe, which would generate additional economic benefits and jobs.

Peat extraction volumes

The Latvian peat industry wants to keep existing peat extraction areas and volumes for the next 50 years, and there is no talk of expanding the sector. This means that demand for peat products will be met at current levels, while increasing demand may lead to a shortage of peat at certain stages of the season. Weather could be significantly affected by the fact that it was in 2017 when very heavy rainfalls significantly reduced peat extraction from swamps

Peat alternatives that have to be abandoned today

Rockwool has long been a popular media for growing hydroponic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Whether rock wool meets the following criteria:

  • Ability to reuse the material helps the environment, and saves you money
  • No potentially negative health effects
  • Easy to use, little maintenance required

Answer is NO!

1. It’s Not Environmentally Friendly.

Rockwool doesn’t score well on the environmental scale. It’s not a natural material.

2. It’s Not Healthy To Be Around.

Rockwool is also potentially harmful to human health.  New blocks can contain a lot of dust and loose fibers that can get in  eyes, mouth, skin and lungs. It’s similar to asbestos in the sense that the little fibers can lodge themselves in lungs if you’re working with it a lot.

Here is what a 2002 study on man-made mineral fibres found:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has reviewed the carcinogenicity of man-made mineral fibres in October 2002. The IARC Monograph’s working group concluded only the more biopersistent materials remain classified by IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). These include refractory ceramic fibres, which are used industrially as insulation in high-temperature environments such as blast furnaces, and certain special-purpose glass wools not used as insulating materials.

3. It Has a Naturally High pH.

If  rockwool used right out of the package, they will likely have a problem once you plant seeds or seedlings in the material. It’s pH is much higher than other media, so it requires treating before it can be safely used with plants.

As it is, there is practically no alternative to peat that can replace it. A small amount of coconut fiber or wood chips may be added, but peat will still remain

After researching the issue, I believe the harvesting of peat moss is approached with the right mix of commerce, conservation, and restoration. I will continue to recommend sphagnum peat moss as a soil amendment and use it in my own gardens (see more).