The Peat-Free Diet aims to provide gardeners who would like to learn (or re-learn) to garden without peat all of the practical information they need to do so. It's available to download as an audiobook from CDBaby:
The use of peat in horticulture is not sustainable. Our peat bogs are a precious natural resource, and lock up carbon where it can't add to our climate change problems. But the aim of The Peat-Free Diet is not to cajole or brow-beat anyone into turning over a peat-free leaf - it's to provide gardeners who would like to learn (or re-learn) to garden without peat all of the practical information they need to do so.
The Peat-Free Diet is divided into six chapters.
Chapter one is all about seeds. Many gardeners love growing plants from seeds, others find it daunting; it doesn't always go according to plan. Chapter one looks at what seeds are, what they need to grow, and the basics of seed sowing. Learn how to make the right choice of container and peat-free seed compost, and how to check seed viability.
Chapter two covers seedlings. What care do seedlings need? What problems do they face? Find out how to keep them safe from pests and diseases, give them a good start in life with healthy food, and prepare them for life outside.
Chapter three discusses container culture, describing how to choose the right containers and blend your own peat-free potting mixes. Learn how to feed and water plants in pots, keep them healthy, and save money on potting soil.
Chapter four heads outside to look at the soil - what it's made of, and how to make the most of the soil you have. Decide whether to dig, or not to dig, then learn about peat-free soil improvement and plants you can grow to keep your soil healthy and feed your garden.
Chapter five looks as some of the other ways peat finds its way into your garden, and suggests how to avoid peat when buying plants, growing your own mushrooms, carnivorous and acid-loving plants, or getting involved with guerrilla gardening.
Chapter six is the reference section, listing items that are handy to have around in the peat-free potting shed, and explaining terms that have been used in the book. It also contains a handy guide to composting at home.
UK garden writer and tv presenter Alys Fowler wrote the foreword for The Peat-Free Diet:
"Oh boy, gardening can be hard work. And I’m not just talking about all the digging, moving and hauling stuff about. Something as simple as buying some compost can be fraught with problems. There’s so much choice for starters and then some hippy type (that’s me) bangs on about your ethical and environmental choices and all you wanted to do was plant up some strawberries and potter about in the sun.
Well it’s true gardening is a complex thing. It’s not just that you have to learn how to work with nature. It turns out that you have to get involved with politics too. Your choices of how you garden and what you buy all come with a statement.
So here’s mine. I don’t go out and garden, one of the most pleasurable activities in my life, to harm anyone else’s bit. So I don’t want anything in my garden that willing destroyed someone else’s garden (and that someone else is not necessarily human). I’d like to think I tread lightly where I can and I’d like to think you might do too when you garden.
Phew, I’ll get off my soap box now and get to the exciting bit! Emma’s book is a great gardening book, it will help you through all the troublesome bits about getting going, sowing seeds, potting on, growing great food and wonderful flowers. And it just so happens to take you through all of this PEAT-FREE.
No jargon, no politics, just a great way to grow that happens to help the planet as well. If you are a seasoned gardener interested in moving over to peat-free compost you can jump straight into the nitty-gritty of peat-free propagation (the bit that perhaps requires the greatest change in husbandry practices). Do you want to know about the difference between various compost mixtures? How to make your own or choose a manufactured brand, along with watering and pest issues? It’s all in here.
This book is designed for you start at the beginning or use it as a reference book. And the best thing? It’s electronic, so no paper and no mucky paw-prints.
Buy The Peat-Free Diet audio book from CD Baby:
The Peat-Free Diet had an unusual development as I blogged the book, publishing each section here as it was written. This gave me the opportunity to take into account your comments and ideas of what to cover as the book progressed.