How much peat moss to add to the garden?
- To use in the garden, apply a 2-3 inch layer of peat moss to the top 12″ of soil and then incorporate it.
- For containers and raised beds, place 1/3 peat mixed with potting soil or compost for starters.
- To grow plants from seeds, mix 50/50 peat moss with perlite or 1/3 each peat, perlite and soilless mix such as Quickroot. Sphaghum does not have enough nutrients on its own so you will need to fertilize them regularly depending on whichever type you are growing.
How to use Peat Moss? – Soil Amendments
Peat moss is a type of soil amendment that can be used in all types of gardens.
It comes from the decomposed remains of sphagnum bogs, and when applied to your garden it will break down into humus which provides nutrients for plants.
This means you don’t need to use fertilizers as often because they are now being taken care by peat moss instead.
Another benefit is that peat moss has a low pH level so it won’t affect how acidic your garden’s soil is; this makes them an excellent choice for those who have alkaline soils or want to keep their roots moist without adding more water than necessary.
Benefits of Adding Peat Moss to the Soil
- Excellent for increasing water retention in your soil. It can hold up to 20 times its weight in water.
- Good for holding onto nutrients in the soil.
- Good source of organic matter, which will slowly degrade over a year or two to feed your soil.
- Improves soil structure, promotes good drainage, and prevents compaction.
- Good for adding to acid-loving plants since it has a pH of 3.5 to 4.5.
- It is also naturally weed free.
Before Adding Peat Moss to the Soil
- Before using peat moss, you should measure your soil’s pH. You can use it to amend soils that are either alkaline or acidic-loving plants such as blueberries, but should not be used in “normal” types of soil where there is no high need for acidifying or alkalinizing components.
- Peat moss won’t work if it is dry. So you need to wet it before you use it in your soil. You can put peat moss in a bucket and add water, then stir. Wet the peat moss until a drop or two of water comes out when you squeeze the peat moss in your hand.
Suitable Peat Alternatives
Many people think that peat is a gardening necessity but it has only been popular for the last 20 years. That means that before that, there were other ways of amending soil. It’s worth considering whether these alternatives might be more suitable, given how long it takes peat bogs to replenish.
peat- this is a mixture of sphagnum and other materials such as sawdust, bark chips or rice husks. This can be used in the same way you would use regular peat moss to amend soil.
Shredded paper/cardboard – If your garden needs extra drainage because it’s too wet for example then shredded cardboard mixed with an organic material such as compost will provide that relief without introducing any weeds into your garden bed.
Ground up eggshells – You can make ground up eggshells by running them through a blender until they are finely powdered and add them to increase how acidic your soil is. The downside is that these need replacing every year so there might not be enough time before they disintegrate.
Loremeaves, Mulch, and Sand
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Perlite is another little-known tool that has made gardening a dream for me, and has rescued me from many tricky situatioations.
Perlite is a white, light rock-like material that looks like little puffs of popcorn. You can buy it in bags for use at home or you might find peat moss and perlite mixed together to sell as potting soil mix.
One final option is vermiculite, which is often used interchangeably with perlite in conversation – but they are not in fact the same. another one you might see in potting soil mix.
For the non-gardeners, perlite is what they use to “lighten” concrete and make it more insulating.
Coconut coir is another thing that you can put in the soil to make it better. The outside fibers of coconut shells are what it is made of. You can also put in perlite and cement, which will make the bricks lighter.
Should You Ever Use Peat?
Use peat moss in your garden to amend soil. It is better than a lot of synthetic products because it will not introduce weeds into your garden bed, and neutralizes the pH levels of either alkaline or acidic-loving plants such as blueberries. So how much peat moss should you use?
Peat Moss won’t work if it’s dry so you need to wet it before using it in your soil. You can put peat moss in a bucket with water then stir until there are a few drops when squeezed out of hand. Suitable alternatives include composite, shredded paper/cardboard, ground up eggshells, perlite (which is also used for insulation), cementoconut coir which has fibers from coconut shells.