A lot of questions come to mind when we talk about peat moss? And why is it such an essential ingredient in gardening or farming? Peat moss is a dead fibrous material that is formed when the sphagnum plants drop and decay, mixing up with the compost on the ground. We all might have one time or the other come across peat moss and considered it compost. But I assure you there is a big difference.
The peat moss comes from the same plant as sphagnum moss, but the peat moss is the decaying layer underneath the surface, while the sphagnum moss is the living moss on top of the moss plant. The peat moss is brown and a bit spongy.
How Is Peat Moss Formed?
Peat moss is formed from the sphagnum moss and is composed of layers of decomposed remains from plants. The sphagnum moss falls to the ground mixing up with other grasses and reeds. They decay gradually due to the activities of soil organisms, excess water, and natural processes of decay, forming a unique blend of naturally evolving manure.
The uniqueness of this type of soil is the presence of peat moss in it. The final product is a somewhat spongy, dry, and brown material. It is sold in bags to gardeners and farmers. I will be sharing how to use peat moss in this article shortly. But first, let us examine how it should be used, and what it can be used for.
The Use of Peat Moss
Peat moss is valued for certain qualities it possesses. These have increased the demand for this gardening material by the consumers. Among the many reasons behind the use of peat moss, a few stand out.
- Peat moss absorbs and retains water for long periods. It makes it a very healthy option for new seedlings. Some gardeners want to grow their seedlings to a level before transplanting them to the main soil. The peat moss soil is perfect for this purpose.
- There are no bacteria, fungus, weed seeds, or diseases to bother your crops. The presence of such dangers is a concern for gardeners and farmers. But with peat moss, you have fewer worries.
- Good organic matter meaning it can hold nutrients for a while, catering to your plants’ needs as it gradually declines.
- The absence of weeds. Do you have weed problems? Peat moss is naturally weed-free. The absence of weeds allows the plant to enjoy the nutrients in the soil without having to compete.
- Peat moss has a ph. Levels of 3.5 to 4.5, which is low, so it is a good choice for acid-loving plants like blueberries. And if you do not need your soil to be too acidic, you can add lime to it to reduce soil acidity.
- Enhanced soil structure and serves as good drainage.
How to Use or Apply Peat Moss
The application process of peat moss involves several procedures.
- It is important to wet the soil properly. This wetness enables you to mix the peat moss with the soil. The water is retained by the peat moss to support the growth of the plant or seedlings.
- Depending on the surface area, carefully apply the peat moss at a ratio of 2:1 as a soil amendment. That is two parts of the soil to one portion of peat moss. Peat moss is not required in excess to make a difference in the soil. It is also expensive to purchase but worth every penny. The goal is to make sure it is well spread and mixes with soil before planting seedlings.
- Mix the peat moss with the top 12 inches of the soil. The mixing is to enable the peat moss to combine with the top part of the soil. You can also choose to add fertilizer to improve soil quality.
It is an ingredient in potting mixes for garden plants. It is also for container gardening because of its water retention capacity and good organic material. Peat moss is sold commercially in bags to gardeners. When you decide to purchase peat moss, be sure to look at the instructions on the bag. That is because they are bagged in different ways and for various uses.
The benefits of peat moss have been elaborated on in previous paragraphs and subheadings. However, it is essential to state that peat moss alone cannot make your plants grow; you need to add fertilizers to the soil. The combination of fertilizer, good organic soil content, and peat moss is a perfect recipe for healthy plant growth. Peat moss takes a long time to form, so it is in high demand and low supply. It makes the product very expensive, so whatever quantity you can afford, make the best of it.
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