A Limited resource Peat Moss

Peat or sphagnum moss is harvested from bogs and peatlands of North America. These are delicate habitats that do not recover from harvest. It may have taken decades for the peat moss to form. What it is, is the partially decomposed remains of bog plants, especially sphagnum moss. The sphagnum naturally makes this medium acidic (pH 3.8 - 4.5). It takes many years for sphagnum to grow a few centimeters, so it is an unsustainable resource. If you are concerned about how you use resources on our planet, you may want to steer clear of peat moss. I no longer use and don’t recommend others to use peat moss. That being said it is possible to use peat moss alone like coir as your sole growing medium, but like coir I used it with another growing medium, such as perlite, top soil etc.
Sphagnum moss like all mediums comes with its own pro’s and con’s. Sphagnum deteriorates quickly meaning that you may need to buy it often. Another problem is that if you use a recovery type hydroponic system, the small bits and pieces can clog up your hydroponic system, inhibiting the flow. As I mentioned, peat moss is very acidic so you will have to adjust your system to get your pH into the optimal range. A benefit is that if you supplement your growth medium with less than 20% sphagnum moss you can minimize all the disadvantages and still enjoy the benefits of sphagnum holding onto nutrients to prevent burn and releasing the nutrients over time helping to reduce toxic buildups. But I would use coir instead.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R.Myers

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