Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Benefits Of Peat Moss (Sphagnum Peat Moss) Uses in Garden Soil
Sphagnum is a useful garden soil conditioner or potting soil ingredient. Gardeners use peat moss to increase soil water retention, aerate soil, retain nutrients and prevent soil compaction. Sphagnum is also used to grow seeds, improve soil texture and create various types of potting mixtures. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
How to use this brown fiber material in the garden? What are the benefits of adding peat moss to garden soil to grow beautiful plants and delicious vegetables? What are the disadvantages of soil improvement with sphagnum?
What is peat moss?
Sphagnum is a kind of decomposed plant material formed in peat bogs mainly moss or sphagnum. Organic matter decomposes gradually underground. Once it is completely decomposed, it will produce a soil called peat. Sphagnum looks like a kind of dark brown fibrous material, and its texture is fragile.
What is peat moss made of?
Most of the peat moss used for garden soil comes from peat moss. It is usually called Sphagnum Sphagnum. When it is immersed in water, it will decompose for thousands of years. In order to make peat moss, the marsh is dried and the peat moss is extracted from the ground.
The process of "making" peat moss continues by drying the harvested peat, screening it, and compressing it for sale in the local garden shop.
Most of the peat moss used for soil improvement comes from Canada. Although many people believe that peat moss is a non renewable product, peat is harvested using sustainable methods to protect peat bogs. Some researchers say that after harvest, the peat moss swamp can recover to a balanced ecosystem within five to twenty years.
Use of Sphagnum
Sphagnum is used to improve garden soil to improve its texture, prevent water loss, and brighten clay. In addition, Sphagnum is used to start seeds because it is sterile and can retain water and nutrients. Sphagnum is also used to make potting mixtures for various types of indoor plants.
Sphagnum can be used as soil conditioner
The most common use of sphagnum is to improve garden soil. The drainage and soil texture can be improved by adding peat moss to heavy clay. Mixing peat moss in sandy soil can improve water retention and prevent nutrient leaching.
The sandy soil in the garden will make it challenging to plant various shrubs, shrubs and flowering plants. Water often runs off rapidly from sandy soil, taking away essential nutrients. Working in peat moss and sandy soil can prevent the garden soil in loam from being too barren.
Clay becomes easily compacted. Hard, fertile soil makes it difficult for the roots to grow and absorb nutrients. In addition, it may be difficult for water to penetrate compacted clay. Working with clay in peat moss helps prevent soil compaction and allows better drainage.
Start sowing with peat moss
Sphagnum can be used alone or mixed with other ingredients as the growth medium for germinating seeds. Sphagnum produces aerated soil, which makes seeds germinate quickly and take root. You can make your own seed starter mixture by mixing peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. Alternatively, you can purchase a commercial seed starter mixture containing sphagnum.
Use peat moss to make garden soil more acidic
Sphagnum can increase soil acidity. If the pH value of the soil is very high, you can make it more acidic by adding sphagnum with pH value of 4.4. Some plants, such as azalea, hydrangea and camellia, grow better in acid soil. Because peat moss does not decompose in the soil, it will last for several years at a time.
If you want to gain the benefits of sphagnum without increasing the acidity of the soil, you should modify the garden soil with lime to balance the pH value.
Use peat moss as a potting mixture for indoor plants
Sphagnum is a standard addition to DIY's homemade potting mixture recipe. Typical indoor plant soil may be too dense for potted plants. Adding the same amount of peat moss, potted soil and perlite will help to create an ideal growth environment for many indoor plants.
Peat moss and perlite are used to improve potted soil to ensure faster water flow. Light organic matters such as peat moss retain enough water to keep the root water without becoming too wet or damp.
To use sphagnum as a potting soil conditioner, make sure it only accounts for one-third to two-thirds of the volume of potting mixture.
How to use peat moss in the garden
Adding sphagnum to garden soil is an important soil conditioner. Assuming your soil is too alkaline, heavily compacted or too loam to retain water, if you need to improve soil moisture and nutrient retention, increase soil acidity and loosen compacted soil, sphagnum is the "preferred" ingredient.
Here are some ways to use peat moss to improve garden soil:
To make the soil more acidic: To use peat moss to increase soil acidity, spread a layer of peat moss about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) thick in the planting area. Use a shovel to drop peat moss into soil about 1 foot (30 cm) deep. Thoroughly water the soil before adding plants.
To modify the garden soil: To use peat moss to improve the texture of clay or sandy soil, please lay thick peat moss peat moss on the place where you plan to plant flowers or shrubs. To avoid lowering the soil pH, sprinkle limestone on the peat moss. Work in peat and limestone to a depth of 1 foot (30 cm).
Advantages of Sphagnum
Gardeners use sphagnum because it helps to improve various types of soil. As peat moss is relatively light, it is easy to use, and it is easily available in most garden centers or online stores.
The following are the advantages of using sphagnum in soil:
Sphagnum helps to keep water in the soil
The water holding capacity of sphagnum is the most common reason for its popularity in horticulture. Using peat moss to improve sandy or rocky soil can make the roots of plants get enough water to grow well. Sphagnum peat gradually releases water, which is very suitable for garden soil and indoor plant potted mixture.
Sphagnum helps to retain nutrients in the soil
Sphagnum helps prevent nutrients from leaching from the soil after heavy rain. Although peat moss does not contain many nutrients, its water holding property keeps nutrients underground. This increases an important growth factor called cation exchange capacity (CEC) in fertile soils.
Sphagnum does not contain weed seeds or harmful bacteria
Another advantage of Sphagnum is that it does not contain harmful microorganisms or weed seeds. This makes sphagnum an ideal choice for planting plants from seeds, where they are vulnerable to bacteria or weeds in the growing environment. You can also use peat moss to improve garden soil without changing soil nutrients or introducing weed seeds.
Sphagnum will not be compacted or decomposed in the soil
An important benefit of sphagnum is that it prevents soil compaction. Ordinary garden soil - especially clay - compacts over time. This type of dense soil prevents water and air from entering the roots of plants. Working with sphagnum and other soil amendments can solve compaction problems and produce healthier plants.
Disadvantages of Sphagnum
Although sphagnum has many uses as an excellent soil conditioner, it also has some disadvantages. In fact, some people may say that some advantages of sphagnum are also its disadvantages.
For example, sphagnum lacks many nutrients. Although it is an excellent ingredient for soil improvement, you need to add compost or manure to "feed" the soil to grow plants healthily. In addition, the low pH value of sphagnum will affect the soil acidity level, making it too acidic for some plants.
Then there is the cost. Sphagnum is usually more expensive than compost, especially if you make your own garden compost.
Can peat moss decompose?
Sphagnum does not decompose in the soil. After all, decomposition has taken many years, so it will not be decomposed again. Therefore, using peat moss to improve garden soil is usually effective for many years. This means that although Sphagnum is more expensive than other soil amendments, it can be cheaper in the long run.
Sphagnum is a useful soil conditioner, which has been used in gardens for many years. When mixed with garden soil, sphagnum provides ventilation, improves soil structure, and helps prevent nutrient loss.
Although there are huge reserves of peat moss, some people worry about the impact of peat harvesting on the environment. In fact, some countries have banned the harvesting of sphagnum for fear of its sustainability.
The following are some of the best alternatives to using sphagnum:
Coconut shell fiber - One of the best alternatives to sphagnum is coconut fiber. The fiber shell of coconut is the waste of processing coconut. This sustainable substance is very similar to peat moss, also known as coconut peat.
Compost - Compost is also a suitable soil conditioner, which can improve drainage and enhance soil nutrients. Compost is easy to make at home and cheap to buy. The disadvantage of composting - unlike peat moss - is that it decomposes and needs to be replenished annually.
Wood - You can also improve drainage and aerate the soil by working in sawdust, compost bark, or sawdust. However, wood products make the soil acidic and may be treated with chemicals or from unsustainable sources.