Peat is a valuable resource thousands of years in the making. Some of the Peat harvested in Manitoba comes from bogs up to 60,000 years old. If left in place these deposits would eventually become Coal. The extraction of Peat is extremely destructive to local Eco-systems particularly the strip mining method. It’s impossible to defend this practice, we do not need it for fuel and the purpose it serves in the gardening world is easily replaced by aged Vermicast. Leave it where it is. The function of a Peat bog is essential to the health of the Eco-systems it supports, many of which are completely unique to that individual bog . These vital bogs act as filtration systems for vast quantities of water and are litterally the “kidneys” for our fresh water lakes and marshes. People can’t live without kidneys and niether can lakes. At a time when Lake Winnipeg, the 11th largest fresh water lake in the world is gasping it’s last breath, the harvest of this Peat is ludicrous.
One of the last intact Boreal Forests on Earth is threatened by the proposed strip mining of vast tracts of land to acquire Peat. Peat that will be used in gardens and green houses, give us a break… please. There is absolutely no need for this, if you have super fancy orchids or maybe a carnivorous plant exhibit, sure you may need Peat, but for virtually all other uses of Peat, Vermicast is an appropriate substitute. Depending on the food material, Vermicast can be produced with a Humus content of 60%, Humus retains water more effectively than Peat moss, the finer organic particles can bond with H2O on a molecular level. Peat is acidic and sterile in nature making it appropriate in a minority of applications but it’s wide use now is unnecessary. Like any fossil fuel and Peat is practically one of them, prudent management and frugal use are the only way to go.
Think long and hard before you purchase Peat or Peat moss, once you know where it’s coming from, take the time to look for alternatives. You can thank yourself next time you go swimming.