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Peat Question

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Is the general rule that the lighter coloured fluffy peat is better than the really dark stuff? just got a bag of Arthur Bowers and its so dark and sludgy compared to my last peat. Does this mean it won't be as good as the lighter peat.

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Not sure what kind you have but the peat suitable for CP's is sphagnum moss peat. Avoid sedge peat as it's bad for plants. Also avoid the Westland brand as they foolishly mix any old ordinary multipurpose compost in with it if it's lying around.

Edited by Richard Bunn

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Doesn't make any difference in my experience. Haven't come across the lighter brown peat for years - it's all dark stuff now it seems.

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I think it does,years ago when i started growing all peat was the light brown type,slowly it has changed and for years all that has been available is the crap black type.I think the lighter brown the better for cp's,because they grow on the surface layers of bogs and surrounding areas and get some nutrients from this.

We all see a boost when repotted in new (brown) peat,i think they will grow O.K in the black peat but something is missing from it.

This could just be a u.k thing as the powers that be are hell bent on banning it from being harvested.

What do European growers think?

is their peat black or brown or blonde?

ada

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Not sure on any answer to your question, but thinking latterally, if a company have x amount of land, then they will harvest the top layers first as it's generally easier. Once the top peat layers have gone, and if no more land is available, then their only option is to dig down. This would be then into the more "rotted" vegitation resulting in a deeper colour, more compact and less nutritional value peat.

Basically it's the same stuff, just the lighter is less "mature", and you don't get plants growing underground with more ground on top :Laie_97:

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The Evergreen brand of Irish moss peat we use is always lighter in texture and colour and one of the best we have had.

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Just avoid whats sold as rich dark peat which is the type of sedge peat harvested from the levels here in Somerset.

The peat issue is somewhat out of hand. I have to be well versed in the argument as there are always one or two peat facsists at the flower shows who look at you like youve just wee'd on their Granny when you mention using peat 'Oh I dont buy peat'. When asked why, they come back with a flimsy argument no better than theyve read they shouldnt buy it!

UK horticulture uses around 2 million tonnes per year (apparently a lot of that goes to vegetable plug growing), whereas EVERY peat fired power station (which incidentally 99 percent of people have never heard of because its easier to kick the little man in the balls) use a million tonnes each, every year. There are many of these in Ireland, Russia, Finland, Argentina etc. but this never gets mentioned. However, we are conserving these plants by growing them-look at the number of sites being lost every year, including a couple of high profile ones recenty.

If we all listened to the liberal Notting Hill Chablis swilling luvvies we'd be in serious trouble!

Nigel HC

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Nigel you've made my evening. In Ireland people are always burning 'turf' which is peat cut from the bogs, stacked up to dry and then sold. It's tradition and they love it. I can't stand the excess smoke it makes though. You can commercially buy Bord na Mona brickettes which are compressed peat bricks for the fire. On the rare occasion I light the fire (once in the past two years) it's those I usually buy as my back is too screwed to carry anything else from the car. It's also a bit of a national institution in Ireland to have an open fire even if the central heating's cranked up. I'm not knocking it, it's just the done thing. You don't often see an open fire in the UK although chablis swilling wood burning stoves are on the rise.

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Indeed, I use the briquettes myself sometimes, the smell is fantastic! Here's the confession though, I changed from the open fire to the log burner a couple of years back, mainly so I can leave it burning overnight and not rely on the heating as we are not on mains gas and the suppliers really screwed us, cost wise.

Nigel

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Yeah I don't have mains gas where I am. I use heating oil (kero) instead. I actually find it cheaper to run than the coal fire.

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Richard you have taken me back to when I was a slip of a girl and courting my husband.(there's an old fashioned word). My in laws lived in Ireland and had an open coal fire, occasionally they would burn tufn and the smell and heat was fantastic. Takes me back to wonderful times at the seaside.

Thanks

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Ha ha ha!

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They still burn peat up this neck of the woods. Some garages and many of the local garden centres still sell bags of burning peat, which looks like short lengths of branch. It's very fibrous and I sometimes break it up to make coarse peat for plants. It's instantly recognisable when one walks past a house burning peat - the aroma is great.

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When I first moved to Ireland in 2000 I had hardly any money for months so whenever a trailer load of turf drove past I used to follow them behind on my moped and collect all the sods of turf that fell into the road. It kept me in fuel for a few days.

Edited by Richard Bunn

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Betty, when all is said and done, J Arthur Bowers sphagnum moss peat is fine for CP's.

The question of what peat is safe comes up now and again on the forum and this type is fine.

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Hi Nigel

I can't 'like' your thread as it comes across to me personally, how many times I read it, as extreme as the 'liberal Notting Hill Chablis luuvies/peat facsists' you choose to describe. I guess you are just having a rant. It probably doesn't help to see this either at a time when actively supporting a project to rectify a raised bog site in Ireland that has suffered considerable damage in the past from drainage and turf cutting.

Your comments in your sentence "However, we are conserving these plants by growing them-look at the number of sites being lost every year, including a couple of high profile ones recenty" also troubles me as surely this is a contradiction to your argument. Also ex-situ conservation is only limited to the plants that we grow that are threatened in their native habitats and not to the very many hybrids and mutations that the hobby grows that would never occur naturally.

For me I take a strong sustainable and progressive pathway on the peat issue, which includes supporting the cultivation of plants with peat where it is absolutely necessary (commercially and privately), in particular to preserve the endangered species (I'm well versed in all the arguments on both sides of the debate). Also, I don't see the need to grow carnivorous plants with peat for the sake of growing plants with peat where they can be grown just as well without the stuff, or because that is how we have always grown them historically and everyone else is or otherwise burning the stuff anyway.

Tim

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I don't use peat. Haven't done so for a couple of years now and haven't missed it at all. I think I find being refered to as a "peat fascist" very offensive!

Phil

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Hi Tim,

Are you at the NEC this week?

If someone chooses not to use peat and has success that's his/her choice and none of my business. The peat fascists are those I describe who treat you like a criminal for using the stuff, not those who like you and Phil (Hi Phil), who have made an informed decision.

Even if ex-situ conservation represents a small number of plants, it is still worthwhile don't you think?

I seem to recall some plants grown peat free at the NEC last year on the society stand which were looking good?

Nigel

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Nigel - we always try to educate. If that doesn't work then we treat peat users like criminals. :-)

I think the point about conservation is that its far better to conserve the environment the plants grow in than just the plants. We often forget that carnivorous plants are not the only species that grow in peat bogs. Well I do anyay... Peat bogs are host to a wonderful and complex array of flora and fauna which are completely destroyed when the peat is extracted.

Phil (The peat anarchist!)

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I need to look into using alternatives to peat myself as much as possible. It's difficult here in Ireland to not just get peat but to actually get peat alternatives. I find the likes of garden centres and other places that supply composts etc are very quick to stop selling something but are terrible at providing an alternative. You can't get Moorland Gold over here at all.

I also have no idea what genera/species succeed well in coco peat, what ones die, and also what ones perform pathetically. Has the Carnivorous Plant Society (which I must do something about becoming a member in the next few months) produced a booklet on how to go peat free and the plants that can and can't cope with it?

Also Tim can you refresh my mind, did you put a peat-free bit into the cultivation section of your Dionaea book? I read it but just don't remember the cultivation section very well (think I was tired).

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Hi Nigel

Will be doing my duties on Sunday, and look forward to catching a few words between your customers. Drove past your place the other day with Phil and Alex, but we were too bleary-eyed to chance a knock on the door. Hopefully, I'll get a chance later in the year and perhaps have another pub night out - was a while ago since we last met up with Stew and would be good to hear about your adventures.

I very much agree with ex-situ cultivation and would grow endangered carnivorous plants in peat to preserve them if it was necessary to use peat to do that. Interestingly I intend to replicate the Ark of Life Mike has set up re S. oreophila in due course, a species that particularly thrives in just coir and perlite in my collection. Like Phil, I have a great passion for peatland habitats and spend more time each year getting out and about, and looking to get more involved in their preservation and restoration.

I think there is an opportunity to tap into people with a collection of carnivorous plants, which do well in peat-free mixes. There must be a good number of people who would grow them, but for peat.

My 'Brooks' are looking very good on the stand again this year though the mix does include a handful of Moorland Gold. The ones at home grow just as well without Moorland Gold, just in coir and perlite. My aim is to establish both sustainable and peat-free mixes for a variety of the most commonly grown plants. Further experiments in 2014 will include some extracted peat/coir mixes to see how peat use can be effectively reduced without reducing the quality of the plants, and perhaps even offer an advancement.

I have a personal view on this subject, but as you would expect of me respect others choice. I hope I can encourage you to do a few trials of your own though, to see if the commercial sector can actually benefit from substituting some peat.

See u Sunday

Tim

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Hi Nigel

Will be doing my duties on Sunday, and look forward to catching a few words between your customers. Drove past your place the other day with Phil and Alex, but we were too bleary-eyed to chance a knock on the door. Hopefully, I'll get a chance later in the year and perhaps have another pub night out - was a while ago since we last met up with Stew and would be good to hear about your adventures.

I very much agree with ex-situ cultivation and would grow endangered carnivorous plants in peat to preserve them if it was necessary to use peat to do that. Interestingly I intend to replicate the Ark of Life Mike has set up re S. oreophila in due course, a species that particularly thrives in just coir and perlite in my collection. Like Phil, I have a great passion for peatland habitats and spend more time each year getting out and about, and looking to get more involved in their preservation and restoration.

I think there is an opportunity to tap into people with a collection of carnivorous plants, which do well in peat-free mixes. There must be a good number of people who would grow them, but for peat.

My 'Brooks' are looking very good on the stand again this year though the mix does include a handful of Moorland Gold. The ones at home grow just as well without Moorland Gold, just in coir and perlite. My aim is to establish both sustainable and peat-free mixes for a variety of the most commonly grown plants. Further experiments in 2014 will include some extracted peat/coir mixes to see how peat use can be effectively reduced without reducing the quality of the plants, and perhaps even offer an advancement.

I have a personal view on this subject, but as you would expect of me respect others choice. I hope I can encourage you to do a few trials of your own though, to see if the commercial sector can actually benefit from substituting some peat.

See u Sunday

Tim

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Morning Tim,

Not actually there this year, it always clashes with Polly's birthday (which is also our anniversary), and she was 40 yesterday so I said ages back that I'd give it a miss this year!

Be good to talk about this in more detail, and agree an evening out would be good again. Think Stewart is back later this month/next?

Nigel

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