SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
hoorayfororganic

Why I vow to never support the Peat industry for my entire life.

hoorayfororganic
13 years ago

Unfortunately, I cannot spend the time formatting this post, or editing it - so I hope that the format from which it is being copied/pasted does you well on the eyes. I really wish I could bold out certain things to make this easier to read, and understand, but unfortunately I cannot.

A little background. I take credit for writing this, and am by no means an expert, but rather, somebody involved in the study of biology, that aims to act in a sustainable way, as much as possible.

---------------------------------------------------------

Ah, the debate of "eco-friendly" peat moss harvesting.

Firstly - if you are not sure what "peat moss" is, this link may be helpful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum

But, really - I had to ask myself, today, after discussing this with someone:

is any harvesting of peat "eco-friendly?"

First let me briefly state why people use peat.

- They use it to retain moisture (when it is moist, and not dry,

it holds moisture well)

- They use it as a source of organic matter (which, itself, retains

moisture, increases cation exchange capacity, and acts as a soil

buffer to prevent large pH swings, and also encourages the bio-

logical soil life to thrive)

- Many choose peat because it is convenient - it is always at the

stores, it is cheap, it weighs nearly nothing compared to things like

compost, and, well, it's POPULAR!

I ask: Why use peat, when we can use compost to achieve the same desired

outcomes in our growing medium, and when peat mining itself is a detrimental

thing to our environment?


Abridged version of this post: 1\. Peat mining sites are essentially stripped, on an individual basis. 2\. Just because there's a lot of peat all over the world does not make it Ok to strip individual sites. 3\. Many plants and animals (many of which are rare/endangered) depend on specific peat bog sites and the landscape diversity they provide... 4\. Individual peat bogs add to a landscape diversity that the ecosystem depends on, in part, to thrive.. 5\. Mining peat liberates CO2 in two ways. 1\) The peat you purchase biodegrades over time, releasing CO2. 2\) The peat bog itself is lead to exponential rates of CO2 liberation due to the industry stripping it and lowering the water table (CO2 is otherwise, in these bog settings, natural "stored" because waterlogging and acidity and low Oxygen keep the peat (a huge source of carbon) from decomposing. 6\. Mining peat lowers water tables in the specific mining areas 7\. You don't need to use peat! It is acidic, repels water when dry, and compost can be easily substituted for it to achieve the same effects in your soil/medium. 8\. Peat cannot and will not be mined with the ecosystem as a priority. The peat industry ferociously fights regulation and currently mines/strips one location before it can regenerate (for that is impossible, since it cannot grow as fast as we are mining it). Just because we have a lot of peat on this planet does not excuse the stripping of individual peat mining sites, because it affects the local/regional ecosystems which then has a ripple affect on the rest of the world's ecosystems.

Now: The long version.

So I asked myself: Do you trust regulations to protect peat bogs, in a way

that is acceptable, even though it is in competition with harvesters (that

have one thing on their mind: Money)

Well, I have decided that I do not, and it actually bodes well with me.

Why? Nobody needs peat!


Why don't we need peat in most of our growing mediums?

-It repels H2O when dry.

-It is also acidic.

-And, best of all, you can just use good compost instead, to

achieve what you are trying to achieve when using peat moss.

When we take peat moss from the land we do a few different things:

The peat bogs are harvested (dug - resulting in low lying areas), which results in increased water loss from the site, which results in lowered

water tables where the harvesting is done.

The peat is robbed from the site, meaning that that the mining site's

ecosystem is chopped away in many aspects. Floura and fauna can no

longer survive (as well, if at all) in a mining location, and animals that use

peat sites (for example, migratory avians depend on peat bogs as a source of

food while traveling, as well as many other species of organisms)

Long term, we notice that as each of these sites are cleared, the

result is less landscape diversity (which our ecosystem thrives upon)

Finally, we see that the peat mining liberates CO2 at exponential rates

compared to what liberation there would be, and global warming is

increased as the CO2 from you you use is liberated (as your personal peat

supply biodegrades over time). Also, the actual peat site where the mining is

done is now in a low water zone (which once helped to inhibit decomposition

of the peat at this site), creating exponential CO2 liberation from the actual

site itself.

It is for these reasons, in conjunction with the fact that we can use

compost derived from what would otherwise go into landfills, that makes

me vow to never in my entire life support the peat industry. I can only

hope that my fellow growers do the same.

See, I compare peat mining to fishing.

With fishing, we can work out a way to do it that is sustainable. Why?

Well, because fishermen know (or at least should), that sustainable fishing will

ensure the future of their business. Also, the survivability of the fish (a

concentrated resource, compared to peat) depends on the immediate effects

of harvesting a population within a certain location.

With peat mining, since there is such an abundant amount of it (peat

bogs cover 1% of all global land - which may not seem like a lot, but is a very

significant amount..) and the collective peat bogs' survivability (on a global

scale) does not depend (as much as fish) on the survival of one bog

does not depend on that of other peat bogs in differing locations.

Therefore, regulations will not stop the individual company from mining a

specific site to depletion - there simply is no incentive for them to do so.

The miner will basically strip a certain site, rather than skim from a multitude

of sites (without nearly depleting specific peat bogs). Long term: This is a

bad thing. Short term: This is a bad thing.

Ideally, they'd mine the peat bogs on this globe a whole - a collective of

individual peat bogs.. They do not though. Since there is such abundance

they will mine a specific site to depletion, which is very detrimental to the

ecosystem, yet is currently allowable by the industry's so-called "sustainable"

practices.

I do not trust these regulations from stopping such horrific acts on the

environment. And, when there's an easy and smart alternative (compost), I

especially disdain peat mining.

To conclude:

Many rare species thrive and depend on peat bogs.

Peat bogs are CO2 sinks, and disturbing them releases this CO2

Peat can be replaced with compost (or other organic matter), instead, when

gardening.

Peat bogs help maintain unique biodiversity in our ecosystem

Peat mining forever alters the location of mining, no matter how much the

industry itself tells you about their precaution and "sustainability"

I do trust the peat industry, and do not support it, for there is no need,

and it is detrimental to our environment.

Any input is certainly welcome, and I hope you all grow on well, whatever your choice may be!

Peace!

Comments (107)

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    It is in no way small or insignificant when the peat industry misinforms thousands of people that peat is better than compost, leading to an industry that runs on waste and damage to the environment

    Compost is better than peat for *what*? If I want to increase the fertility and soil life then I agree compost is better than peat.

    If I want to acidify the soil with material that will retain moisture well then peat is better than compost. I use 90% peat, 10% native soil for my blueberries. I don't know of anything that would substitute as well. Compost isn't acidic enough.

    If I want to grow a fruit tree in a container then peat is better than compost because peat doesn't break down as quickly as compost.

    Whether one is better than the other depends on what the application is.

    Peat has it's uses and it's harvest isn't causing large scale problems. Sure, the area harvested is 'destroyed', but that's true of harvesting anything. The condition is temporary.

  • lou_spicewood_tx
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    There are plenty of scientists in the world that do not agree with Al Gore. Al Gore won't even get on debate with them AT ALL. Most of the scientists that are with Al Gore don't even have any training in climate!

  • Related Discussions

    Bad stain job- no contract-never shown stain samples prior to staining

    Q

    Comments (19)
    Hi, It appears there is some confusion regarding contractor licensing and the role of the local home builders association (HBA) which is worth clearing up. I don't know what the requirements are in your locality, but in the Commonwealth of Virginia contractors are required to be licensed and are regulated by the Virginia Board for Contractors. If there is an issue with a contractor's performance, customers as well as other contractors can file a complaint with the Contractor Board. The board has the authority to impose disciplinary actions, fines, and even take away a contractor's license if the offense warrants. HBA's are trade associations; they don't have any regulatory authority nor do they issue licenses. Membership in a local HBA is not mandatory. That said, membership in a HBA is one thing to look for when selecting a builder or remodeler since it shows a commitment to supporting the industry, continuing education, etc. In our area, municipalities require contractors to have a business license in addition to their contractor's license. The cost of the business license is proportional to the gross revenues earned by the contractor in the municipality.
    ...See More

    Can I make my colonial home interior rustic/Mexican/industrial?

    Q

    Comments (8)
    Margo, no, not only wallpaper. I have some very rustic paintings/wall hangings/plates, etc that are Mexican/Guatemalan/Paraguayan and I love that brick look, which the house has none of. I would never do an entire room in brick wallpaper as that would be too much, but I was thinking to do just one small wall or even from ceiling to floor just behind the headboard to bring in that rustic feeling. I'm going to do hardwood floors (laminate) and I think if I can find an adobe colored (like the second picture below) or even slate look vinyl tiles for the wet areas like kitchen and bathrooms. And then I would use the talavera tiles for the backsplash and on the stair risers like this: .I have a Mexican sink I bought at a garage sale and love it. I thought I could cut a hole in the bathroom counter and drop the sink in. But I would definitely use the tiling in the kitchen and bathrooms sparingly and maybe one row for the backsplash in the bathrooms and in the bath tub area. And I want to paint or stain the cabinets a darker color. I am so sick of that golden oak wood color - I've had it in my current house for 25 years and I'm feeling it is so outdated. What do you think?
    ...See More

    new carpeting in entire house

    Q

    Comments (14)
    Carpet has come a long way in the past 18 years! We wanted to give you some basic information about the different carpet fibers as well as introduce you to the latest innovations in the carpet industry. Nylon carpet fibers In overall performance characteristics, nylon is the most versatile of all fibers, providing excellent durability and flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles. Nylon is the most commonly used carpet fiber and can be found in a wide range of both cut pile and loop pile styles. Nylon also has great color flexibility and uniformity, and many nylon yarn systems are exceptionally soft. Polyester (PET) carpet fibers Polyester offers exceptional softness and color clarity, and is also naturally stain and fade resistant. Polyester is not as inherently strong and durable as nylon. Polyester styles are good choices for low - to medium - traffic settings such as bedrooms and represent great value for your home. Polypropylene (olefin) Carpet Fibers Unlike other fiber types, polypropylene is solution dyed. Solution dyeing is a process in which color is actually built into the fiber when it is formed making the color an inherent part that cannot be removed from the fiber. This means the color will not fade, even when exposed to intense sunlight, bleaches, atmospheric contaminants, or other harsh chemicals or elements. Polypropylene is normally used in loop pile construction in which there is less need for resiliency because it is not as strong as other fibers. One thing you’ll notice with carpets from Shaw Floors, we apply a stain and soiling resistance system called R2X that gives you extra time to get to a spill or accident. This stain resistance protects the total carpet fiber – from top to bottom – and will continue to protect your carpets even after repeated cleanings. If entertaining is a frequent occurrence for your household, you’ll want to make sure the carpet you select features stain protection. But the latest carpet innovation from Shaw Floors is actually waterproof carpet. This new line, called The Life Happens Collection, has a waterproof backing so that spills never make their way into your carpet and subfloor. A flooring retailer in Texas just put this carpet to the test by making a pool with the waterproof carpet. [Video: Swimming Pool Made of Carpet] @hildegard09 made a great point about choosing a new carpet pad – and that’s not something to overlook. Choose luscious, soft carpet padding to minimize noise, maximize warmth, prioritize your family’s comfort and extend the life of your floor. Best of luck with your carpet selections!
    ...See More

    Do I need support for my 15" granite overhang?

    Q

    Comments (170)
    "Would you do legs or no legs?" No legs. "Am I restricted to type, cm, etc of counter top due to base cabinet design?" No. "Does it matter material of base cabinet?" No. "Would you shorten the overhang at the end an inch or so?" Unlike natural stone, engineered stone can be cantilevered up to 15" without additional supports. I'd take advantage of that fact in this situation, or you're going to have to figure out some steel supports.
    ...See More
  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Lou & Virginian -
    This is the point -
    First of all, Al Gore has nothing to do with this. It's clear you bring him up as a distraction.
    Second of all, the worlds credible majority of scientists have concluded what I am saying. Don't like it? Fine. Time will prove you wrong and already has - every single year the world's scientific community as a majority is more and more certain. It's accepted fact at this point. Anyways...


    justaguy writes (in quotes)

    "Compost is better than peat for *what*?"
    For a source of organic material in soil

    "If I want to acidify the soil with material that will retain moisture well then peat is better than compost. I use 90% peat, 10% native soil for my blueberries. I don't know of anything that would substitute as well. Compost isn't acidic enough."
    So add sulfur and use compost.

    "If I want to grow a fruit tree in a container then peat is better than compost because peat doesn't break down as quickly as compost."
    This is the least of our worries in this discussion although still significant. There are alternatives as far as I know. I haven't researched them however. I would suggest using coir. Too expensive? Ok, so work with me to rid this world of peat mining, and this in the long run will drive the cost of coir down.


    "Peat has it's uses and it's harvest isn't causing large scale problems. Sure, the area harvested is 'destroyed', but that's true of harvesting anything. The condition is temporary."

    The condition is not temporary
    Global ecology is affected in cascades
    CO2 released
    And we have alternatives for the most common applications of peat.

    There just ain't no reason to use peat when there's a viable alternative.

  • madmagic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    If you folks want to go back and forth on the many issues around the use of peat, please feel free.

    Equally so, please don't feel free to call each other names.

    This forum is about discussions of organic gardening. There are many different opinions about organic gardening.

    I'd like to read your opinions. But... I don't want to read your negative opinions about other people who post here. It lowers the tone of discussion, IMO. And nobody learns anything from namecalling.

    As every gardener knows: there is a very big difference between talking about soil, and talking about dirt. :)

    All the best,
    -Patrick

  • hamiltongardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hoorayfororganic,

    In your opinion, is using peat one of the best ways to accelerate global warming?

    Does anyone have a top 5 list of things that accelerate global warming?

  • hamiltongardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    changes in
    hydrology and physical structure are hostile to Sphagnum re-establishment. Recently, degraded
    peatlands have been restored through the blockage of drainage ditches, seeding with Sphagnum,
    and application of a mulch layer to reduce water loss.

    I'd like to clear something up here. My brother works for a company that restores peatlands after harvest. He is an environmental worker, not a harvester. His job involves a lot of the preparation before harvest (environmental impact, etc). He records species and their numbers, the water table, etc. His data goes to the engineers who drain, then refill the peatland.

    That is just so that you can decide his credentials and his biases for yourself.

    The part I wanted to comment on is the "hostile to Sphagnum re-establishment", and this info is coming from him. Sphagnum Moss is an invasive species, and they do not have a difficult time re-establishing it's growth if the bog is refilled (and not cleared for other uses), which usually happens these days. Sphagnum itself will take over an area, killing the existing plant life and ecosystem if allowed to spread. I joked about it being a weed, he laughed, and assured me that there were no problems in re-establishing Sphagnum Moss in a properly restored bog.

    It's possible that the information you quoted comes from years past, when peat was harvested without any preparation for future re-establishment. I sort of get that from the wording of the article. These days, engineers and environmental workers are in the peatland before any harvesters and must design a way to not just drain the water, but refill it afterwards.

  • the_virginian
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I'll take a stab at it: 1. Solar activitiy 2. Volcanic activity at sea level and above 3. Contiental shift/plate tectonics 4. Gradual shift in Ocean currents 5. my pile of burning tires :') LOL!

  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "I'd like to clear something up here. My brother works for a company that restores peatlands after harvest. He is an environmental worker, not a harvester. His job involves a lot of the preparation before harvest (environmental impact, etc). He records species and their numbers, the water table, etc. His data goes to the engineers who drain, then refill the peatland.

    That is just so that you can decide his credentials and his biases for yourself.

    The part I wanted to comment on is the "hostile to Sphagnum re-establishment", and this info is coming from him. Sphagnum Moss is an invasive species, and they do not have a difficult time re-establishing it's growth if the bog is refilled (and not cleared for other uses), which usually happens these days. Sphagnum itself will take over an area, killing the existing plant life and ecosystem if allowed to spread. I joked about it being a weed, he laughed, and assured me that there were no problems in re-establishing Sphagnum Moss in a properly restored bog.

    It's possible that the information you quoted comes from years past, when peat was harvested without any preparation for future re-establishment. I sort of get that from the wording of the article. These days, engineers and environmental workers are in the peatland before any harvesters and must design a way to not just drain the water, but refill it afterwards. "

    Hamilton, Peat not being one of the top 5 causes of CO2 doesn't mean it's ok to spew extra, large amounts of it into the air.

    I'm pretty sure we all know here that harvesting peat bogs leads to environmental destruction.

    What many seem to hang up on is the restoration part.

    My source is pretty new. 2003 I believe, the one talking about reseeding leading to bogs that are susceptible to bacterial attack and decomposition, releasing CO2. I think we all know here that distrubing a peat (removing water, and exposing it to oxygen) leads to increased decomposition which leads to CO2 in the air.

    Peat may grow like a weed relative to your friend's perspective on the field, but what about in the larger picture? My sources tell us that despite the industry claim, peat bogs cannot be harvested sustainable, grow too slowly, and are rendered useless for many years after harvesting. This is an area where I need to work on a little more in terms of sources.

    I don't see why people here are so fiercely opposed to cutting down all uses of peat moss. There must be something I am missing here. We simply don't need to rely on peat moss as much as we do, if at all.

    Coco coir although expensive is reusable and will do just fine in the potting applications many have described.

    For anything else, compost seems to do the job.

    For acidity? Well surely people have been making acidic soils in a friendly way before the times of peat. Surely there are alternatives. That's one of the areas I need to focus on more when I get the chance.

    I'll be doing this peat project for my capstone/senior thesis so I am happy that you guys have brought up these concerns because it makes me research more and answer questions that are very relevant to this cause of mine.

    I think we all need to stop listening to the industry and start listening to outside sources here. Unfortunately, 1 environmental scientist doing work for someone is not enough and does not represent accurate scientific data. I do appreciate the input of his/her experience though.

    Really though, listening to the peat inudstry is like listening to the oil company tell me global warming isn't happening or isn't a problem - and you know it - they did exactly this for a long time until they no longer could any more.

    What makes anyone think the industry is any different? They fight for $$, they fight for themselves. Same goes for the Canadian gov't, too.

    I'm not sure what my best route is, here. The restoration thing seems like its been infiltrated with industry opinion, more than anything. I still need to search up in that area though, because it seems to be a complicated one, and one that needs to be up to date in terms of what practices are currently being used by the industry (we can't have sci. data on old practices that aren't used anymore). Thanks for making me realize that a little more, hamilton.

    Hamilton - does your friend happen to work for Wetlands Preservation, Inc? Prob. not but I figured it'd be worth a guess.

    The big thing that is on my side I feel, is CO2 and energy wasted from this practice (along from the ecosystems damaged from these operations). When we don't need peat, we can simply erase its industry.

    That is the trick here, I believe.

    I think telling people info is good and all but it'll turn out like it turned out here - you have many, many people that have been indoctrinated with the "it's sustainable" thing by the industry.

    So the solution, I think - is to make compost more available. That, coupled with the knowledge that peat is not all it's cracked up to be (people use it as an OM source when really it's just an inferior source of it, and one that hurts the env.), will lead us to eradicating the peat industry.

    I have some work to do in this topic, and thank you all for pointing it out.

    I think I need to find more on
    Alternatives
    Restoration shortfalls
    Reseeding shortfalls
    ..to make my case

    Later

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hooray,

    If you are going to study this issue I found an interesting tid bit that you may want to pursue. The following is from: Science Daily.com

    Peat bogs sequester vast amounts of carbon by preventing plant material from decaying aerobically -- that is, with oxygen. Today, these peatlands are thought to hold about one-third of globe's store of sequestered soil carbon.

    But, in addition to tying up carbon, the bogs release methane gas as a byproduct of plant decomposition that takes place without oxygen. Like carbon dioxide, methane is a greenhouse gas. But, molecule for molecule, it is said to be up to 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So while peatlands do sequester carbon, their methane emissions can offset any potential drop in greenhouse gases. Yet, the rate of emissions is not steady.

    This article is about northern peat bogs such as in Russia, but probably appies to Canadian bogs as well.

    An interesting question, and one I don't claim to know the answer to, is whether the removal of peat bogs is a net greenhouse gas producer or reducer. If removal of the bog results in less trapping of CO2, but leaving the bog in place results in more production of methane, which is worse overall?

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Another interesting link, this time from the Tehran Times:

    This concerns peat bogs in southern areas rather than those in northern areas:

    Peat, one of the most efficient natural reservoirs of CO2, is vulnerable to degradation, and the Peak District is one of the worst affected because it is at the southern end of global peat stores. ""The further north you go, the less the danger. If you do nothing, it will only get worse,"" Worrall said.

    On the moor, landscape expert Rebecca Burtt was supervising the drops. ""This is pioneering work,"" she said. ""We've been encouraging cotton grass, bilberries, crowberry and heather to grow.

    The ultimate plant we want up here is spaghnum moss. The

    [degradation] comes from a combination of old industrial pollution and sheep stopping anything growing back.""

    The picture that emerges for me from the various issues related to peat sequestering carbon, releasing methane, etc. is that it probably makes sense to manage the bogs in a smart way and this may include harvesting.

  • the_virginian
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am thinking about getting several 50 lb bags of peat to burn with my mountain of tires......LOL!

  • lou_spicewood_tx
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I was thinking about getting for me to roll around in. As I recall, it's very good preservation... Maybe it will keep me looking young! LOL!

  • hamiltongardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hamilton - does your friend happen to work for Wetlands Preservation, Inc? Prob. not but I figured it'd be worth a guess.

    My brother, my little brother, actually. No, that's not his company but he probably knows of it. Do you have a friend who works for that company?

    Hamilton, Peat not being one of the top 5 causes of CO2 doesn't mean it's ok to spew extra, large amounts of it into the air.

    I'm not worried about being in the top 5, I'm wondering if it is. I'm with Lou on this one. I don't know what the cause of global warming is, but if using peat moss with help speed it up, I'm all for it.

    That's where my brother and I clash. He's all about fighting global warming. I'm all about trying to speed it up. I keep asking him what's so bad about global warming.

  • hamiltongardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am thinking about getting several 50 lb bags of peat to burn with my mountain of tires......LOL!

    Burning tires causes pollution that you have to breathe in.

    Stick with using the peat moss in your garden.

  • lorna-organic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Using pine needle mulch helps to add acidity. I use pine needles to mulch my strawberries and blueberries. (However, as I am sure you can guess from another of my posts, I also use peat in their soil mixture.)

    I'm sorry some of the guys are poking fun. I don't entirely agree with you, but I am interested in your opinion, Hooray. There has been thoughtful discussion here, as well as some malarky from wiseguys.
    Lorna

  • alphonse
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Is this thread an argument for Peat Moss and its affect on Global Warming?

    Ehh,not so much.

    Is this thread proof of some posters' excessive leisure time and monomaniacal ideation?

    It would seem so.

  • lorna-organic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I thought deforestation was reputed to be the major cause of global warming. Planting trees is recommended by those who think green as one of the primary ways one can make a difference. I plant trees. I also refrain from using my car 3-4 days per week, which is another small contribution I can make.

    Virginian, you mentioned burning peat. The Irish have burned peat for centuries because the English basically deforested Ireland. The Irish people had no wood available for cooking fires, or for heating their homes. Thus, they turned to using their peat bogs as their source of fuel.

    Patrick, thanks for the on-going reminders regarding good manners. Respectful discussion is a valuable tool for learning and for education.

    Global warming has occurred in the past. Science has different theories as to why it happened. Nothing has been proven. Primitive humans were obviously not the culprits. Earth goes through cycles. That is a given. At some point the magnetic poles shifted, which caused drastic changes, including glacial melt.
    Lorna

  • dicot
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    This is a long thread and I'll admit to skimming, so let me just say from my experience with Greenpeace working in B.C. and Alberta:
    1) Peat use in landscaping severely exacerbates climate change;
    2) The federal Canadian government is a non-factor, it's the Provincal government regulations that matter and they are weak;
    3) There are many more ecofriendly fibers (coco noir, partially composted urban wood residue, alfalfa,...) that can easily replace peat use;
    4) Deforestation is a factor in global warming (as is the increase in albedo it creates), but peat use, forest fires, ocean phytoplankton destruction, vulcanism, solar activity, increased albedo from concrete and anthrpogenic industrial sources of heat trapping gasses are major factors as well.

    In short, I agree with the original poster.

  • pnbrown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    No reason to use peat in horticulture. It's merely a silly fad.

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    No reason to use compost in horticulture. It's merely a silly fad.

    See how easy it is to make unsupported claims?

  • pnbrown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Easy peasy. But I can tell which are likely true and which aren't.

  • jimmy0058
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    That reminds me, I need to get two bales of peat this weekend.

  • southsounder
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    hoorayfororganic,

    I thought of you today when I bought a couple of bales of peat moss. There is a need for the industry; many of us gardeners! Also, the war on CO2 is a scam, sorry. There are thousands of scientists that disagree with the religious global warming movement. People are scare monering for money and political goals.

  • adirondackgardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Also after skimming this very long thread, I agree with the original poster. For me the idea of paying for a product trucked from a long ways away when there is so much free stuff falling from my trees is ridiculous.

    Almost as ridiculous as some of the "arguments" I've read, such as the previous one. Almost as ridiculous as the devout fervor of the global warming deniers and the handful of denier scientists that they put all their faith in.

    Even our president has come to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists recognize human activity's negative climactic effects. (Not that he offers any leadership in solving the problem.)

    Wayne

  • gonebananas_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Part of the problem is nomenclature. There is no such thing as "peat moss" per se. There is, however, moss (Sphangum) and there is peat, which in a Sphagnum bog is dead and partially decomposed moss (in a sedge bog it is dead and partially decomposed sedges). Just plain dead moss is the highly and coarsely fibrous stuff we use for airlayering.

    You could harvest moss on a continuing basis, scooping it off the top inch or few and then returning in however many years it takes to grow back, undoubtedly at least several and perhaps quite a few more. But it will grow back. That isn't what is baled at the store though. That is peat.

    You can only mine peat in a "sustained harvest" manner by use of sophistry, distorting what you mean. You can mine the upper foot and then say it is a sustained harvest because you don't plan to harvest it again for a century or two. Or on your 100 acres you can dig it as deeply as you want, making a pond, because in all the thousands of square miles of vast Canada combined it is growing faster than what you and your industry are taking out of hundreds or thousands of acres scattered here and there.

    I buy some of it because I need it. But I am not fooled as to what is going on.

  • trancegemini_wa
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hoorayfororganic, I completely agree with many of your arguements. I think peat has been so readily available and used so widely as a soil amendment that people actually think they need it. Here in Australia, peat has never been readily available in large quantities, and it is VERY expensive, it costs around $20 for a small bag (about 1/4 of a bucket worth), so it has never been an option for Australians to use it as a soil amendment. On top of that, Australia has some of the poorest soils in the world, they are very old and very low on nutrients. We also do not have access in most places to loads of deciduous leaf matter because of our hot climate.

    And yet, we don't need to use peat, and if under our conditions we can get by without out, trust me, anyone can. We also do not use large quantities of coir to amend soil, it's not available in large bails or quantities for sale. What we use is compost, and composting is a very common practice over here simply because it is a practical thing to do, whether or not the composter considers themselves green or not.

    I use my own compost (and everything that can be composted goes in), leaves that I rake up, green prunings from my small mulcher, woodchips from tree trimming services, and sheep manure in the spring, and I have more than enough in the way of soil amendments. These days it is also expensive for councils (municipalities) to send anything to landfill, so they greatly reduce the volume by sending all green waste to local composting facilities instead which makes compost readily available for those who need to buy amendments.

    If it wasn't so readily available to the US, people there would realise they don't actually need it at all like we do here.

  • pnbrown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    No, not necessary at all. And in fact, most municipalities - at least in the eastern part of the continent - have free composted leaves available. Cities often have have composted yard waste and trash combined. There are very few places in NA that don't have free or very cheap sources of OM.

  • gonebananas_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My city has a large leaf composting operation. It is far from cheap (about 2/3 or more of what it costs for bagged ground pine bark, a waste product, at the big box store). Also you need to own a truck or trailer to buy a load.

    I use ground bark, a horticulturally good product and environmentally sound as it is already waste. I use a little baled peat to fill in the pore spaces between the slightly too coarse (~1/4-1/2 inch) pieces of pine bark. We all use limestone and it is mined. Some nice forest once grew above it. Our tools are of iron. Only our sulfur is possibly mined with little physical disruption.

    To me rational conservative use vs. over-exploitation are the key factors. They are not none/all types of questions.

  • trancegemini_wa
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    gonebananas, to me the question people should be asking themselves, is why are they using a mined product for organic matter when there is a bounty of it already in the waste stream. why not kill two birds with one stone and remove some of that OM from waste by recycling it and not use the mined product?

    "We all use limestone and it is mined. Some nice forest once grew above it. Our tools are of iron. Only our sulfur is possibly mined with little physical disruption."

    we could use that sort of justification for anything. e.g. If I drink alcohol at weekends I may as well smoke and eat mcdonalds on a regular basis, it's an illogical argument because each thing compounds a greater problem. drinking alcohol may affect your health, but drinking smoking and eating mcdonalds will most certainly have a greater impact.

    none of us live perfect lives, we are far too removed from nature to do that in modern society and far too consumer orientated, but perhaps if we question just one thing that we could do better, we will then start to question some of the other things we do as well and it's not until many more people do this, that any sort of positive change can be effected.

  • rdak
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Guys and gals, get out there every autumn and go on leaf patrol!! LOL!!

    That's easy for me to say because Michigan has so many fallen leaves in the fall that you simply have to drive about 10 feet to get enough for the whole year!!

    Leaves are EVERYWHERE where I live. All I have to do is drive to some subdivisions and grab enough to fill the car with leaf bags in about fifteen seconds. They're EVERYWHERE!

    Same for wood chips. EVERYWHERE, if you look and ask around.

    For my heavy Michigan soil, wood chips and leaves are absolutely gardener's gold.

    I'm still filling bags of older wood chips from a pile I found in the woods near a railroad intersection where they cleared out some trees. The stuff is like hardwood fines. I still have about 1,000 bags to go!! LOL!!

    (There's another pile further in the woods where someone probably dumped wood chips and it has a couple more years to go to get to the "fine" stage.)

    So I don't think you need peat, but I also believe the Canadian Government is telling us the truth when saying peat harvesting, in Canada, is sustainable.

    It's a touchy subject though! LOL!!

    I'm retiring this autumn so I can only imagine the wife's face when I have more time to "bring all that stuff home".

    I'm going to go beserk this autumn.

    So, I guess what I'm really saying is to do a little work in the fall and that should be enough for the next growing season IMHO. Over time you'll DEFINITELY see the results.

  • pnbrown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    No doubt about it, rdak.

    I grab whatever is available whenever I see it in convenient fashion - leaves that someone else has already piled or bagged (why do they do it?, never mind, don't question it, it's beyond comprehension); seaweed that storms have driven ashore; leaf compost that the town budget pays for.......

  • gonebananas_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The question can also be posed as, just because a lot is bad does that mean a little is bad? And some mining will go on no matter what. Peat has to be mined out of new highway routes for instance.

    I need a small amount (a few bales a year) of FINE grained light weight artificial soil material. It would take a long time and a large lot of hard sifting to get that out of composted leaves, and bark is not usually ground that small (I do buy a number of bags of it to use instead when I can find it).

    So I buy a little Canadian peat. I contend that no organic gardener turns up his nose at limestone or vermiculite or rock phosphate or kainite (sp?), or leonardite (humate), and some will use copper. I have seen those types of mines (3 of the 6). They are far more destructive than clearing an area of peat. I make up by using less of the pumped and sawn and mined resources than the average person.

  • jk1550
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My company Densu Ventures Inc manufactures high grade coir for the horticulture industry. From the comments of the pros it seem we manufacture the best coir in the world.
    Ps check my website at www.densuventures.com and click on the reseach bottom.
    Let me know if I may be of help to you regarding your experiences with coir.
    And note not all coir products are the same.
    Jake

  • adirondackgardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    >From the comments of the pros it seem we manufacture the best coir in the world.

    If that were the case, I would think your company would be paying this site to advertise your product intead of trying to pick up free ads in newsgroups. (Newsgroups that very clearly prohibit you from advertising your company here. You obviously ignored the "Businesses Using the Forums" link in your haste to post your advertisement.)

    Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Except when companies Spam the forums, they get even less, since it tells forum members that this is probably not a reputable company to deal with. Smokin' deal huh? For the sum of exactly zero cents, you reached out to the entire world (or at least our little corner of it) to show at just what level you operate your business.

    Try buying an ad.

    Wayne

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Jake, when your company can get the coir into the US at the same price as peat then we can start talking about how studies have shown plants grown in it underperform those grown in peat, but until the price is comparable it's a moot point.

    Where I live (Wisconsin) coir is about 4x the price of peat and coir is just a waste product that would have to be disposed of (for a fee) if not sold.

  • the_virginian
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Peat moss use=Global Warming-LOL! What a crock!

  • adirondackgardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    >Peat moss use=Global Warming-LOL! What a crock!

    No, it is part of the equation. It isn't the whole equation.

    What is a "crock" is a simplistic argument.

    Wayne

  • the_virginian
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Especially if people believe the junk science and scare tactics that ALGORE and the press put out. Half the World is drinking this Kool-Aide. Whew!

  • adirondackgardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I guess if you agree with the dwindling handful of warming deniers that it's "junk science" and the best proof you seem able to offer is by spelling Al Gore's name in a funny way, then you have proved your point.

    Perhaps not the point you intended, but you proved a point, nonetheless.

    Wayne

  • justaguy2
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Why is this thread turning into a global warming argument? I thought it was about peat.

    While peat bogs are CO2 sinks, they also turn into methane pumps apparently. Methane is worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

    As a result I think management of the peat bogs is environmentally friendly (over-all) if done right. From what I have read Canada is doing a good job.

  • oregon_veg
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I love how the "wackos" couldn't prove their "GLOBAL WARMING",
    and have now switched tactics to calling it "CLIMATE CHANGE".
    Easier to prove I guess. duh... the climate changes. It has for thousands of years. Not because of man, but because, well.... it changes.
    Let's make a political issue out of it, and make everyone believe it.
    Give me a break.
    Common sense isn't so common after all.

  • gonebananas_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Common sense says a wing cross-section will not give lift, but so it does. Bernoulli is a bit more complicated than common sense, but it is what describes the action. Common sense, or for that matter good scence, only rarely enters political discussions. It is probably best to not pretend that they do.

    Good gardening tends to be far more emperical. That makes for good useful discussions, and friendly ones.

  • oregon_veg
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Common sense, or for that matter good scence, only rarely enters political discussions
    -------------------------------------------------------
    There's a news flash

    A scientist without common sense would have a very difficult time understanding Bernoulli. (IMHO)

    Good gardening tends to be far more emperical
    --------------------------------------------
    My Mom was a great gardener, she knew nothing about science.
    On the other hand, my electrical engineer neighbor, can't even grow weeds.

    Gardening is 90% common sense, 10% prayer. (unless you're trying to grow some obscure mutant hybrid, then you're probably right) :-)

  • gonebananas_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The average person looking at a wing cross-section would think it pushed down, not lifts up. Common sense would fail them there.

    And not wanting to be disagreeable, but I think common experience (emperical results), not common sense, guides most good gardening. We often don't know specifically why something works, at least in any rigorous sense, but we know what has worked reliably for others and ourselves. Reasonable, common sense solutions can sometimes lead us astray. Common sense might easily have all our pear pruning in the dormant season (as with most other deciduous fruits): practical experience shows that some summer pruning is often more effective. Common sense had us removing lawn clippings from the lawn ("leads to thatch buildup"): actualy experience (experiment) shows that leaving them is best apparently and has nothing to do with thatch.

    It is often hard to figure out when to defer to authority (whether university or neighbor) and when to go with the gut, with common sense. Fortunately in gardening, experimenting and failing occasionally has little risk.

  • adirondackgardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    >I love how the "wackos" couldn't prove their "GLOBAL WARMING",
    and have now switched tactics to calling it "CLIMATE CHANGE".
    Easier to prove I guess. duh... the climate changes. It has for thousands of years. Not because of man, but because, well.... it changes.

    oregon_veg, did I know you during your undergrad days at MIT or while you were working on your Doctorate in climatology at Princeton? Or am I confusing you with someone else?

    Wayne

    :)

  • trancegemini_wa
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "I love how the "wackos" couldn't prove their "GLOBAL WARMING",and have now switched tactics to calling it "CLIMATE CHANGE". "

    no that's not true, the issue has always been "global warming and climate change", but the media in particular probably felt this was too wordy and not catchy enough so they often shortened it to "global warming" which then takes the whole issue out of context. because of this, many people think global warming means bright sunny days and glorious sunshine, but what it really relates to is the climate changes that are caused by it, so I would imagine many people now are referring to it as "climate change" to combat this misconception and focus the attention on the real issue.

  • oregon_veg
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    oregon_veg, did I know you during your undergrad days at MIT or while you were working on your Doctorate in climatology at Princeton? Or am I confusing you with someone else?
    -------------------------
    Almost humorous.
    presumption many times makes people look very foolish.

    BTW, Ad Hominems are SO SO juvenile. It IS what I expected though. Thanks for not disappointing me :-)

  • oregon_veg
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    no that's not true
    ---------------

    Yes, It IS. I worked with these wackos.

  • trancegemini_wa
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "I worked with these wackos."

    Im not sure who you're referring to oregonveg do you mean you've worked with every person who's used the term "global warming" or do these "wackos" have a license on the term.

    seriously, who cares? getting hung up on words instead of the real issue is a bit pointless in my opinion

  • oregon_veg
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    If you don't know who I'm referring to, I can't help it.