In June 2011 I started blogging a book – The Peat-Free Diet, a practical guide for gardeners who wanted to learn (or relearn) how to garden without peat. Five years on it’s still an important topic.

A report published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board last July notes that between 2011 and 2014 the UK’s growing media manufacturers sold between 3.5 million and 4.5 million cubic meters, including export sales. Although the proportion of peat they include has fallen, it still accounts for 55% of that volume.

“The use of wood-based and coir ingredients has increased consistently, with bark and green compost (composted green waste) accounting for broadly similar proportions of volume throughout the reporting period.”

A quick trip to the garden centre will visually confirm that the majority of potting composts still contain peat – choosing a peat-free option is unusual, although awareness is seeping into the mainstream.

And so it feels like a good time to publish The Peat-Free Diet properly, in paperback and on Kindle, and I would like to do that this spring. The problem is finding the time 😉 and this blog post announces my intention to do so to the world, gives you a place to leave motivational comments and gives me a place to keep track of my progress.

What do I need to do?

  1. Pull the original blog posts into one manuscript and determine what needs updating.
  2. Update the bits that need updating
  3. Write additional sections: the wildlife value of peat bogs and fens; where can I find a fen?; Peat-free supplier list; Peat bog archaeology; John Innes – it’s not a brand name.

Once I have a complete manuscript then:

  1. Sort out ISBNs for both versions
  2. Format manuscript for paperpack publication, including bibliography and index
  3. Design a new cover
  4. Publish paperback
  5. Format manuscript for Kindle publication, including hyperlinks
  6. Publish Kindle

I went through a similar process when I published Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs, my book about unusual edible plants and the people who chose to grow them, and it was a little drawn out. Hopefully this time it will be quicker!

As I said, feel free to leave motivational messages, or to nag me on Twitter. If you’ve got any burning questions (excuse the pun) about peat free gardening, or myths that you’d like to to debunk, or anything else you think should be included in the book then let me know and I will see what I can do 🙂

There may be fewer blog posts in the meantime, as I juggle finishing a book, spring seed sowings and general gardening and earning a living. I know some of you will enjoy the rest!

Toodle pip