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USES FOR PEAT MOSS

Updated on May 13, 2009

I am sorry for the hiatus in my work.  My only explanation is end of year celebratory madness (i.e. birthdays and holidays collide). But I'm bbaacckk!!!!!!!

Let us discuss the hand. In it's infinite complexity and dextrous use.... O wait, this isn't 20th century philosophy. Sorry. Sidetracked.

Ok, mentally beating head against wall. Must shake off Asimov, Hienlien (sorry can't spell) and that other guy.

Peat moss, blast it. I want to talk about peat moss. Not the British and Irish stuff that gets environmentalists twisted up, no I refer to Canadian peat. The bogs that grow faster than harvested and are kept reseeded and renewed.

Peat moss is a base material for potting soils and composts. It is an additive used in the care of camellias, azaleas, ferns and blueberries. Ah, blueberries, sigh..... Sweet wonderful blueberries. Blueberries and cream, blueberry pie, pancakes, scones, muffins, and smoothies. Wonderful blueberries. Let us sing the blueberry anthem.

DOWN, GIRL, DOWN!

Sorry back to subject.

These plants require a lower ph than is found in the salty, sodic soil of San Diego County. I have used it (in small amounts) in my worm bins, amended my tropical plants and shade plants with it, mixing it well with my garden soil ( it tends to cake) and using it in my blueberries. Don't worry, I won't start that again.

The low ph of peat allows it to offset, not cure, some of our salt heavy environment ( we have salts in our water, in our air, and our soil) and continuous use may help reduce ( again not cure) a condition of salt overload in plants, known as salt burn (i.e. brown to black edging on leaves, seen on tropicals and many houseplants).

Another useful application of peat is peat pellets and compressed peat pots. Both are useful for propagating cuttings and starting seeds. When used as a seedling vessel it has two advatages: 1) there is no transplant shock, no ripping a plant out of its pot damaging its tender roots; because the pot is planted as well; 2) the vessel will break down as the plant grows, so no residuals except in decomposable material.

Compressed peat pots come in many sizes. They are typical brown paper bag colored (I have not yet seen one in another color) and dried out. To use them, they are soaked in warm water ( turning a chocolate color when ready) and filled with soil. They may be used for seeds or cuttings, keeping them moist, but not sitting in water.

Peat pellets resemble compressed disks, the same color as the peat pots, roughly 1/4" tall and 1 1/2" - 2" wide. They are also soaked in warm water, expanding to a dark brown pillar about 2" tall. They are contained in a netting which does not decompose, but breaks up in the soil ( at least mine end up in pieces and trashed at the end of the season). Smaller seeds are accomodated nicely in peat pellets. Again keep moist, but not soaked.

Planting seeds in this manner allows the planter more control and gives the seedlings / cuttings a head start against weather and vermin ( snails, cutworms, slugs, and pillbugs. Yes pillbugs are EVIL!)

When ready for the outside, take the entire unit ( plant & peat pellet or pot) and plant covering peat pellet or pot with soil as the peat will dry drawing water from the plant and soil.

SEEDS FOR PEAT PELLETS : (sandlike to 1/8") parsley, poppy seeds, catnip, lettuces, chives, leeks, cabbage family, onions (green & globe), argula, tomatoes, basils, eggplant, pansies, peppers

SEEDS FOR PEAT POTS AND SOIL: (8mm & larger) melons, squash, peas ( edible & ornamental), beans, spinach, cucumbers, corn, gourds, chard, calendula, coriander,

 

 

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