The county’s gardeners will be interested in a new peat-free compost made from Broad reed and fen vegetation.
A project has been using different techniques to create soil improvers from the by-product of the conservation management of wetland nature reserves. The Broads Authority and Norwich FarmShare have paired up to trial the scheme under the European-funded project, CANAPE (Creating A New Approach to Peatland Ecosystems).
The damaging effects of peat-based compost on the environment are an increasing issue for many.
Peatlands globally contain at least 550 billion tonnes of carbon, twice as much as all the carbon stored in the world’s forests. If all that carbon was to be lost to the atmosphere, it would be nearly 80 times more than annual global CO2 emissions from our burning of fossil fuels.
One part of the solution is alternative soil enhancers which is why CANAPE is championing a new use for unwanted reed when it is harvested from the Broads National Park. The fen vegetation has to be managed throughout the Broads and the natural by-product could prove to be an alternative to peat compost. Norwich FarmShare are spreading the ‘CANAPE compost’ over more than half of their community farm land as they support efforts to enhance soil quality responsibly.
Senior ecologist for the Broads Authority Andrea Kelly said: “Norwich FarmShare has been instrumental in trying out a new alternative way of enhancing soil quality. These natural Broads soil improver products should prove to be an eco-friendly solution. By working together with organisations like FarmShare we hope to be able to raise awareness of the importance of peat wetlands for storing carbon and to encourage the use of peat free compost.” broads-authority.gov.uk
Norwich FarmShare receives CANAPE compost