Peat moss is an old stand-by in the garden. The fluffy material has been favored as a natural soil amendment for many decades. There are, however, some peat moss naysayers. The truth is, if you want to use peat moss in the vegetable garden, there are a couple of aspects to take under consideration.
Peat moss is formed when sphagnum moss builds up and becomes compacted in bogs, which are shallow, wet surroundings. It may take thousands of years to get a adult peat bog to form. Peat bogs are typically found in northern latitudes, with Canada housing roughly 25 percent of these, based on Cornell University. The bogs are home to numerous plant and animal species that don’t grow anywhere else.
As a soil amendment, peat moss has a lot to offer. It’s fluffy texture lightens the soil’s composition and empowers drainage in heavy soils that compact readily. In mountainous regions, peat moss enhances water and nutrient retention by holding moisture and releasing it into plant roots as needed. The material is free of weed seeds and pathogens that could be bad for the garden.
From the vegetable garden, peat moss can moderate extremes in soil dryness and wetness. This is especially important when growing juicy-fruited plants with tender skins, like tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries. In reality, these acid-loving plants and a lot of different fruits and vegetables — reap peat moss’s lower pH. The product’s sterility means it wo not present weeds, diseases or pathogens that can quickly ruin a vegetable garden.
Cornell University recommends that garden soil be amended with one-third peat moss. In the vegetable garden, evenly incorporate the substance into the ground about 12 inches deep. Because peat moss provides no plant nutrients, you may turn garden compost or even well-rotted manure into the ground together with the peat moss. When combining organic materials in this manner, maintain the ratio of 2 parts present soil to 1 part new amendments. Peat moss doesn’t make a good mulch.
Peat moss has been maligned in recent years by people who say it’s a non-renewable resource that destroys important organic surroundings. Canada, which supplies most of the peat moss available in North America, strictly regulates the harvesting of peat and the upkeep of bogs. Of Canada’s good reserves of peat, Cornell University says that only .02 percent are subject to harvesting. An environmental evaluation is always done before a virgin Canadian peat bog is harvested.