How to have a peat free garden

Posted: 30 Mar 2023

What is Peat? 

Peat is plant material which is partially decomposed and has accumulated in waterlogged conditions. Peatlands include mors, bogs, fens and some farmed land. 

Peat is hugely important to our planet for lots of reasons. It acts as a carbon store and is said to hold more carbon than the combined forests of Great Britain, France and Germany. 

Many scarce species inhabit peatlands so it is incredibly important to preserve peatlands for the wildlife.

Peat holds its role in water management - it holds up to 20 times its weight in water. Peat also preserves a record of past vegetation, landscapes and people. 

Although peat is a fantastic media to grow plants in, farming it is very bad for the environment. Peatbogs store carbon and when they are dug up, the carbon is released into our atmosphere. Therefore, the horticultural industry has had to work hard to find a replacement for peat based compost. 


What is peat free compost made of? 

Peat-free composts are usually made up of a mixture of composted bark, coir (coconut fibre), wood fibre and green waste. The constitution of these products varies from batch to batch, so our compost suppliers have to vary each mix to get the correct nutrient and ph levels. 


Make the Switch

Over 95% of the UK’s Peatlands have been degraded or destroyed. For every bag of Peat based compost, we're destroying our Peatlands...the UK's equivalent to the Amazon Rainforest!! It's time to help save them. You will find a full range of peat-free compost here at Meadow Croft and within a few years the same will be said for all garden centres and nurseries in the UK. 


Did you know?

We are one of the first garden centres in England to sell our very own peat-free potting compost. 


Storing peat free compost

It has always been important to keep mixed composts dry to prevent the fertilisers from activating, but it is even more important now, as over composting can occur if the materials get wet. So, only use compost that has been stored in a dry area, as rainwater finds its way in through the tiny air holes in the bags, even when they're stored on pallets. If you have compost left at home in a bag, the same is true, so we advise storing in a dry shed, or garage.


Pricking out and growing on seedlings 

Our peat-free compost is great for seedlings and young plants. Here's our guide on how to grow young plants with peat-free compost: 

1. Water the plants before transplanting. 

2. When potting on, select a pot the next size up from the previous container. 

3. Part fill the pot with compost allowing sufficient space to accommodate roots. 

4. Place the plant in the pot, taking care not to damage roots and top up with compost. 


Hanging Baskets and Containers 

Our peat-free compost is perfect for hanging baskets and containers. Here's our guide on how to plant hanging baskets and containers with peat-free compost: 

1. Fill the hanging basket/container to the top with Meadow Croft Professional Peat Free Potting Compost. 

2. Plant the basket/container with trailing plants around the outside and an upright plant in the middle and water thoroughly. 

3. Place the hanging basket/container in a greenhouse or sheltered position until the plants have established. 

4. See our next section for more information on looking after plants in peat-free compost.


Looking after plants in peat free compost 

Feeding and watering is slightly different when using peat-free compost. The surface of the compost can look dry, when in fact it is wet under the crusty layer. If you are using small pots to grow in, sink one in a bucket of water and wait for the air bubbles to stop appearing, let it drain and then feel the weight for future reference. Before watering again, it's best to lift one or two up to check the weight. 

Westland ‘Boost’ has unique Plantsense™ technology to feed all ornamental and ericaceous plants, plus all fruit and vegetables. With the perfect blend of nutrients as well as unique water management technology, this makes application faster and also more effective. Boost All Purpose Liquid Plant Feed will produce four times more blooms compared to watering alone. Simply add to the watering can using the ‘easy squeeze’ dosing system. 




How to have a peat free garden

With a beautiful weekend forecasted we asked the plant team to pick their favourite plant available right now, they felt it was like being asked to choose their favourite child…..but they did anyway!
Louise chose a hardy gerbera (but snuck in a Bella fuchsia as well when I wasn’t looking), Lorna chose a beautiful Lilac. Tam is obviously staying in with her amazing three stemmed orchid. Kaye, went for 2 hydrangeas and Elaine went big with her cercis tree.
They all look wonderful, and the plants don’t look bad either.
Homegrown 14” hanging baskets are now in stock!⁠

We have a wide selection of colour schemes for you to choose from, perfect for any garden. Both plants and baskets are grown and made at our nursery. ⁠

You can hang these in the garden from now, though be sure to secure them properly in windy weather!
Congratulations to our amazingly artistic winners of the Viola and Pansy Colouring Competition. We look forward to welcoming them back soon to spend their vouchers.
Touch me.......Smell me!

Our Award Winning Home Grown Scented Geraniums are now in stock, they may not look the most colourful plant, but give them a rub next time you pass and you will get an amazing selection of scents.
To attract attention to these amazing plants Jess from our nursery designed these beautiful perfume bottle labels and won an award at the HTA National Plant Show for her designs.
Wow, It looks like it isn't going to rain this weekend! Perfect time to get gardening.
Our nursery is incredibly busy producing plants for the whole country, but don't worry, we’re saving the best for you
Due to technical issues beyond our control, please note that this Sunday 14th April, Meadow Croft Kitchen will NOT be serving Sunday roasts. Our Sunday breakfast menu will be available until 11.30am as usual and then our normal weekday lunch menu will be served from 12pm-2.30pm. We will still have plenty of delicious dishes and treats for you to enjoy.
Thank you for your understanding.
MCK Team.
Milkshakes are officially back at The 10th Hole! ⛳⁠

Choose from Strawberry, Raspberry Ripple, Flake, Oreo, Biscoff, Chocolate, Vanilla and Espresso flavours while you putt your way around the course
Looking to give your plants a boost as the weather gets better? ⁠

Stop by the garden centre and pick up a box of @MiracleGro's all purpose plant food. Get 20% extra feed free! ⁠

Simply feed every two weeks from March to September using a feeder or watering can
Have you seen our new furniture department? Lynn and Simon love it so much that while the weather has been poor, they can be found relaxing in it. With the weather about to improve they’re going back out into their garden. Come and have a look around for some inspiration to create your outside living space.
#outdoorroom #outdoorliving #gardenfurniture #barbecue
It’s opening time at ‘The Meadows’ our in store local bottle shop.
New Hall wine, Essex gin and local beer all available now.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Keep up to date with gardening tips, new products, special offers and events.


Please read our Privacy Policy.