Peat. What is it and how to make homemade peat for plants

what is peat

Peat is a generic name applied to various materials derived from the decomposition of plants, their nature depending on the botanical origin and the climatic conditions prevailing during their formation, which in turn indicate the state of decomposition of said materials.

what is peat

Peat bogs consist of the accumulation of organic matter when the rate of accumulation exceeds the rate of mineralization, due to the fact that they are formed under conditions that are unfavorable to the biodegradation of said organic matter in an anaerobic environment. That is, they are sedimentary formations with excess moisture and poor oxygenation. As a result of these conditions, the organic matter only partially decomposed.


Different types of peat

In climatic conditions of extreme cold, low evaporation, high rainfall, low levels of solar radiation and mild summer temperatures, these conditions, which together with frequent washouts from excessive rainfall, result in low nutrient and an acidic pH, due to calcium washout. In these base-poor soils, undemanding species grow, such as Sphagnum spp.., eriophorun vaginatunetc

There appear to be no microorganisms capable of breaking down Spagnol (a lignin-like substance in mosses), so the main structure of peat-forming plants remains unchanged. They form a thick wall in the form of rings, spirals or plates, which prevent them from collapsing on themselves when they dry. This type of peat is commonly called big crowds or blondes.

black crowds they form in low areas, rich in bases (therefore with a higher pH) and are more decomposed so their color is darker.

how to make homemade peat moss

Composition of peat

The most important characteristics of peat would be the high cation exchange capacity, the pH varies between 3 to 4 for the blond and between 7.5 and 8 for the black (this is one of the reasons for the mixture), high water holding capacity, high total pore space, which allows good air circulation and ease for the extraction of water by the roots of the plants.

On the other hand, the nutrient richness of most peats is generally very poor, reaching 1% of N. in the best of cases, although these values ​​are an exception, as confirmed by the fact that the values ​​of NPK that are quoted in the characteristics of commercial peat is in mg/L.

In some cases, and given the low amounts of nutrients they contain, the peat used as a substrate is enriched with small amounts of nutrients, such as earthworm humus.

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Applications and uses

From a commercial point of view, peat is used as a substrate, in a mixture between blond peat and black peat in equal percentages. Although the most common mixture is 70% blond and 30% black, to obtain certain characteristics, suitable for the uses for which it is normally intended, which are horticulture and gardening or other plants or cultures in containers, in particular horticultural nurseries , transplanting and transplanting pots, etc… They are also used to prepare cultivation tables or urban gardens, although in recent times coconut fiber is more used, more ecological, light and porous.

How to make homemade peat

Peat is a type of soil made up of sphagnum moss and other organic matter. It can be used for pots and for adding to the soil. Making peat moss is a simple process that requires no special equipment or skills. The only requirements are time, water and organic material such as straw, leaves, grass or grass clippings.

The important thing is to maintain the humidity, for which this mixture can be made in a tray, covered with cardboard and checking that the humidity level does not drop below 40 or 45% humidity, and from this way it stays active. It will take about two months and two and a half months to be ready. Weekly withdrawal at the beginning, then every 15 days from the first month.

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make homemade peat

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