Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Truth About Peat Moss
I must admit I have often used Peat Moss as a great seed starter and soil amendment. If you stop by your local nursery you will usually see bags of Peat Moss for sale. Most likely it's Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss. Not to be confused with living Sphagnum Moss, Sphagnum Peat Moss is partially decomposed, slightly acidic and takes many, many years to form. Peat Moss got it's start in melted glaciers after the Ice Age. Today Peat Moss is harvested by draining surface area water, clearing vegetation and letting it dry under sun and wind. It is then vacuumed with harvesting machinery at 100 acres a day. In the year 2000 Canada exported 1.2 million tons of Peat Moss to the United States. According to the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), which is run by the 18 Peat Moss producers that represent 95% of the industry, Canadian Peat Moss is a sustainable industry.
A sustainable alternative to mined Peat Moss?
Coir/Coconut Dust/Coconut Peat-Short fibers of coconut shells considered to be a renewable resource that has long been considered a waste product in Southeast Asia. Auburn University and Arkansas University recently compared Peat Moss and Coir and found Coir to be comparable noting that it was less acidic, wet easier, decomposed slower and withstood pressure better then Peat Moss. Also the larger size brick form of coir expands to three times it size but is light and compact to carry.