CONSUMER magazine Which? has sparked controversy by telling gardeners not to grow plants in peat-free compost.
Largely regarded as the authority in the sector, the magazine said it could not recommend any peat-free composts for raising young plants, giving them all a Don’t Buy rating.
It also gave low ratings to half-peat soils, saying they have never had a good experience with such products in any of its trials.
Its Best Buys were those with 100% peat or composts with high content.
Peat is discouraged as a growing medium by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, because of concerns over its contribution to global warming.
The Royal Horticultural Society and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs both recommend that gardeners use peat-free alternatives, making the Which? recommendations more controversial.
Ceri Thomas, editor of Which? Gardening, defended the trial. She told Amateur Gardening, which first reported the row: “We go to great lengths to ensure that the composts we choose for testing will be the ones that consumers could buy.”