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BadPun 09-12-2009 01:15 PM

Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
I've been ammending my soil over the last few months fairly heavily; I've removed the top 1-2 feet of clay soil (think solid clay brick) from my main planting beds and added in compost, manure, and sand in an effort to get a near homogeneous mixture down to a depth of ~3 feet.

My assumption is that the peat moss is to add some water retention characteristics as well as some organic material. With my soil composition I don't think water retention is an issue and I've added in quite a bit of organic material including cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, manure, and compost. So, am I missing out on anything by not adding in peat moss?



Bob 09-12-2009 01:20 PM

Re: Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
It sounds like you have a great mix already. I always add a heavy dose of peat in my clay soil here and it has done well for me.

Patty in Wisc 09-12-2009 03:20 PM

Re: Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
Sounds like a lot work - esp going down 3 ft. Nothing wrong with adding some peat, but then it sounds like you now have good soil. I added a lot of peat & horse manure to my garden this spring (all clay) & will do same next spring. It certainly makes a better soil.

Richard 09-13-2009 01:08 AM

Re: Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
You're in Ventura ... I believe you have the tidal clay? Peat Moss will help keep your soil on the acidic side for 3 to 5 years, and much longer if you keep your water supply from being alkaline.

I'm hoping you added horticultural sand. The "playground" sand sold in bulk is usually treated with herbicides and sometimes insecticides too. The dust material in horticultural sand is beneficial to plants. Another good choice is common 3/8 inch gravel (in moderation).

BadPun 09-13-2009 01:18 AM

Re: Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
So much for Organic :0493: Doesn't make a lot of sense as to why they'd do it though as one of the main uses is for playgrounds...

Great tip on the pH though, I knew there must be something beneficial to it (for me).

I've also looked at all the washed up kelp on the beach after reading another members post... Most of the "fresh" kelp was swarming with flies though... though maybe the dried out stuff could be considered composted :04: Either way it didn't seem like the type of stuff I'd wanna throw in the back of the car without at least double bagging it :)

sbl 09-14-2009 10:01 AM

Re: Peat Moss as a Soil Ammendment?
One of the biggest advantages of peat moss is it is more durable than most other types of organic matter.

As for the kelp, I would compost it or at least wash it to remove the sea salt before using it.

One other point about amendments in clay soil--if you dig a hole in clay soil that does not drain, it is like having a pot without a drain. The organic matter then acts like a sponge and fills up with water --displacing oxygen--this can lead to root rot. However, if you have a slope so that you can create a hole that drains out the side, amendments will make your clay soil a very good media. The other option is to make a mixture of organic matter and the clay soil and use it as a raised bed.

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