The government has set aside £50,000 of cash in a bid to wean community gardeners off peat.

Britain in Bloom volunteers will be encouraged to cut peat use (photo credit: RHS)

Britain in Bloom volunteers will be encouraged to cut peat use (photo credit: RHS)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will stump up the funds while the Royal Horticultural Society will administer the scheme.

Nine RHS Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood groups will receive funding to help them increase their use of peat-reduced and peat-free growing media – as part of the Sustainable Horticulture in Partnership Scheme.

Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening contest, involving over 300,000 people.

RHS principal scientist Dr Paul Alexander said: “The interest confirms our belief that there is a real willingness to embrace peat-reduced and peat-free growing media.”

For example, friends of Evington in Bloom gained a grant of £2,000 for a two-year project to use a growing medium based on composted bark and coir – to grow plants from seeds and cuttings in home greenhouses.

The RHS said no formal monitoring of growing media use was planned.

Participants will “provide feedback on the progress of their projects”.