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whoose April 30, 2020 04:52 PM

Peat Moss Pro/Con
What are the pro and cons of using peat moss in my vegetable garden. What types of plant would like the peat moss? I know that it can lower the Ph slightly which I consider a pro.

Durgan May 3, 2020 06:25 PM

Modern peat moss is extracted by high pressure water stream. It is beat into a fine mess that does nothing IMO. I quit using it.

What I now do is add wood chips mulch to the garden to maintain moisture. It disappears in about a year. I simply work it into the soil in lieu of the dusty peat moss.

cjp1953 June 10, 2020 08:30 AM

I have used it in the past and was going to this spring but went with top soil that had peat,sand and manure mixture instead.If you want to lower the PH I have used Cotton seed meal.Worms love it as well as my tomato and pepper plants.I have a soil with lots of clay and have tried many things the last 20 years.Now I use a couple bales of straw during the growing season as thick layer of mulch.So I guess it's a pro and have no con.

zipcode June 10, 2020 09:29 AM

The cons would be that it's expensive. Pros is that it will add organic matter and good water retention. It will basically be reduced to compost/humus in about 2 years in the soil, so the aeration part is not long term, but will contribute to structure just like compost.
So overall I'd just go with compost for raised beds. Unless it's blueberries or something that really need that acidity.

kilroyscarnival June 16, 2020 10:42 AM

I suppose the relative expense depends on where you live.

I've mostly done container gardening lately, and use a mixture of peat/compost/vermiculite or perlite which I customize a little depending on what's growing and which season. I'm in Florida, so anything that can be grown May-September is going to get a lot of heavy rain, and drainage needs to be a big consideration. (Another reason I'm loving the grow bags. They drain wonderfully.)

This year I've gone just a little higher on the peat levels, and I feel the moisture retention/drainage level has been good so far. This winter/spring I have tended to go more into the "weakly, weekly" fertilizing, consisting of mixing up a container of steeped compost tea (worm castings, a small dash of liquid fish fertilizer, and if fruiting a higher PK soluble mix, along with egg shells, a little epsom, a splash of molasses) and ladling it on Saturday mornings. I feel this has worked for the particulars of my setup (grow bags, determinates, central Florida climate, often heavy afternoon tropical rains.)

Pricing at Lowe's for organic Majestic Earth spagnum peat moss is $12.50 for 3 cubic feet (~85L), which goes a long way for me. Since I believe a lot of it comes from Canada, it may just be cheaper in North America.

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