With such our short June-August growing season, we’re strategic about getting our veggie gardens launched. Starting seeds in our greenhouse on heating mats under LED grow-lights really helps. So does having a good seed-starting mix.
Most commercially available mixes include peat moss, an amazing (and inappropriately inexpensive) material, which provides volume, drainage, moisture retention, and acidic organic material. It’s also best left unharvested and in the ground. Here’s why:
- Peat moss bogs are where sphagnum moss has grown, died, accumulated, and been saturated with fresh water to anaerobically decompose, mostly in arctic latitudes.
- Carbon sink – 30% of the planet’s carbon – twice as much carbon as the world’s forests is stored in peatbogs.
- The methane released from bogs – as snow atop them melts – is a potent greenhouse gas and can catch fire.
- Mining operations cause irreparable damage to sensitive ecosystems
- Not sustainable, takes thousands of years to form
So, what to use? We are investigating peat-free products this year:
- Coconut coir
- Coir pellets
- Jute mats
- Wool fiber (can be relatively expensive)
- Rock wool (needs to be rinsed first)
Irrigate, fertilize, and harden off before transplanting seedlings.
We love a good experiment. We’ll keep you updated!
Laura & Gil
Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.