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Peat free soil – Sustainable peat alternatives for the garden

Peat-free soil - 10 sustainable peat alternatives for your garden

Are you looking for peat-free soil and a comparable substitute for peat in your garden? Then you've come to the right place! This organic sediment is particularly popular as garden soil because it can bind water very well and has a high acidity level. However, the peat in potting soil comes from raised bogs, where its extraction destroys the habitats of countless animal and plant species and thus contributes to global warming. Environmental problem of species extinction contributes to climate change. Peat extraction also contributes significantly to climate change, as the greenhouse gas CO2 escapes when completely intact peatlands are drained.₁

But what are the alternatives? You can get Buy soil and mulch. But note that also Organic soil unfortunately is not always peat-free! Instead, terms such as "peat-reduced" or "peat-free" often adorn the packaging of potting soil in the gardening section of DIY stores, which are supposed to make us consumers feel better, but of course still harm the environment. What's more, the term "organic" is not even protected for potting soils. But of course there are also more environmentally friendly and completely peat-free soils for Sustainable gardening!

In this article, I'd like to introduce you to some soil materials that are at least equally suitable as a peat substitute for your garden soil and flower pots. Let's go!

You can find a brief overview of the alternatives here:

  1. Compost
  2. Softwood mulch
  3. Fibers and barks
  4. Sand
  5. Coconut fiber
  6. Rice husks
  7. Perlite
  8. Bentonite
  9. Coffee grounds
  10. Expanded clay

1. compost

Compost as a peat alternative for the garden

To be able to replace the positive abilities of peat definitely helps Green waste compostwhich usually consists of leaves, greenery, pruning and hedge cuttings.

It is ideal if you have the opportunity to choose your Create compost pile yourself. In this way, you can ultimately produce fertile and sustainable soil - and add peat-free potting soil from the store. Alternatively, you can also get compost from nearby composting facilities.

Tip: You can even make most of your own garden soil from soil, compost and loam!

2. softwood mulch

Conifers such as firs, pines and spruces need acidic soil in order to grow. The bark of the trees is therefore well suited to the high acidity of the peat soil.

3. fibers and barks

However, peat is also a good water reservoir. However, so are tree components such as wood fibers and bark. In contrast to peat, these are even better at releasing absorbed water. Pine bark, for example, is a very suitable alternative material.

4. sand

Sandy soil has a very good water permeabilityso that excess water can seep away very well - although water storage is a problem with it. But in combination with tree components and compost, it is definitely a useful substitute for peat. Simply mix them together to achieve a better soil quality at the same time. Aeration of the roots of your plants.

5. coconut fiber

The fibers of coconut as a substitute for peat

Coco soil is probably the most equivalent alternative to peat soil when considered on its own. The soil has a loose structure and can store nutrients and water very well. Basically, it consists of small particles of coconut shells and dried, pressed bark from coconut palms. Coconut fibers and chips are also good for soil aeration.

While all of these components are usually Waste products from coconut production - However, the cultivation of coconut plantations and the long transportation routes have a negative impact on the environment. Therefore, always take a look at the relevant organic and Fairtrade certifications when buying.

6. rice husks

So-called rice husks are left over when rice is threshed by hand or with machines. In addition to wood fibers, they can also be used as a peat-free supplement to help give the garden soil a loose, airy and large-pored structure and thus create ideal conditions for plant growth.

7. perlite

Perlite is an aged glass of volcanic origin. Although the inorganic additives do not contain any valuable nutrients for plants, they are very suitable as a supplement for Drainage and ventilation the earth in your garden.

8. bentonite

Bentonite is clay powder that helps to stabilize the soil. retain moisture for longer. For example, mix a few hands of it into sandy soils to imitate the corresponding ability of peat. These clay minerals are generally added to commercially available peat-free soils because they are an ideal nutrient store and manager.

9. coffee grounds

Coffee grounds as a sustainable peat alternative

Although the coffee bean does not originate from Germany, the ground grounds that remain in the filter after preparing a fresh coffee, which would otherwise be thrown away, can still be used as a sustainable soil supplement. This makes sense because coffee grounds also have a high Acidity and is therefore a good alternative to peat when mixed with soil.

10. expanded clay

Expanded clay is a fairly versatile building material. Even though it does not store water very well, it can aerate and loosen the soil - and so better drainage of excess water leave. This is another reason why it is very suitable as a first layer in flower pots under compost and bark mulch.₂

Notice: Hardly any material can replace peat on its own - but the combination makes it possible.

Go for peat-free soil - and promote biodiversity and environmental protection!

Peat extraction causes ecological consequences

Whether for potted plants on the patio or balcony, for vegetable patches or a wildflower corner - soil without raised bog peat can be just as suitable for plant growth. Also because it helps to Stop species extinction and the Counteract climate changeit is worthwhile to keep an eye out for suitable alternatives. When making a targeted purchase, you should also consider the "BUND buying guide for peat-free soils" help by showcasing the products and vendors that take environmental and marsh conservation seriously.

Today, you have learned about some options for peat replacement. And if you buy peat-free soil at the DIY store or flower store, please give preference to the packs labeled "peat-free" or "peat-free".

Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions about peat-free soil? Then I look forward to your comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: You want to get your Make garden even more bird friendly? You can find out what to do in the linked article. Good luck!

₁ Federal Environment Agency: No peat in the pot (as of 19.03.2021), available at [16.02.2022].

₂ Anna Katharina Küsters: Torfersatz - So schützen Sie mit ökologischen Alternativen die Umwelt (as of: 10.02.2021), available at [16.02.2022].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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