For gardeners, peat is a well-known, although less used than before, mainstay of seed and potting composts. It’s ability to absorb large quantities of moisture and to retain nutrients plus being very light when dry, thereby reducing transportation costs, made it the perfect growing medium. In recent times, the environmental impact of industrial scale peat extraction has given rise to concern leading to the development of alternative composts becoming available.
Exmoor’s rolling moorland: a wild, windswept and boggy place
In the areas where peat is found – mostly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere – it was also a common fuel source and is still used for this purpose today. On a non-commercial scale peat for burning is also in decline as the hand digging of the bogs, the drying out process and the carting all takes time for very little financial gain. The days of the ‘turf cutter’ being paid sixpence a load have long passed.
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