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How to Add Peat Moss to Soil

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How to Add Peat Moss to Soil

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Overview

Peat moss is decomposed sphagnum moss. Used as a soil amendment in garden beds and pots, peat moss adds organic matter and helps maintain a healthy moisture level in the soil. This adds richness and nutrition to poor soils and helps break up heavy clay soils so they are suitable for planting. Peat moss is especially well-suited to raised beds and container gardens--due to cost it is used less often in large beds. By adding peat moss to soil, you will grow healthier plants.

Containers

Step 1

Moisten peat moss the day before planting as it takes time to absorb the water. Place peat moss in a bucket and add water until it is slightly soggy. Cover and let sit overnight.

Step 2

Mix 1 part moistened peat moss with 1 part sterilized compost. Combine 1 part vermiculite to the mixture to aid drainage.

Step 3

Place the mixture into your planters or containers. Use containers with drainage holes so the soil mixture drains well.

Beds

Step 1

Clean the garden bed in fall. Remove any large rocks and roots. Dispose of any dead plant matter, leaves and other garden debris.

Step 2

Place a 4-inch layer of peat moss onto a traditional ground-level garden bed. Place 6 inches on top of a raised bed.

Step 3

Till peat moss in to a 12-inch depth on a ground-level bed. Use a hoe or shovel to till peat moss in to an 18-inch depth on a raised beds as power tillers compact the soil and may damage the sides of the bed.

Step 4

Cover the bed with a 3-inch layer of straw mulch. Mulching preserves moisture content in the bed over winter and prevents the soil from washing out during snow fall and melt.

Step 5

Remove mulch in spring. Till the bed a second time before planting to ensure the peat moss is evenly mixed in with the soil and didn't rise or sink over the winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Container plants will require additional fertilization to survive.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite
  • Power tiller
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Straw mulch

References

  • Oregon State University
  • University of Vermont Extension
Keywords: peat moss, soil amendment, improving soil

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.