Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: The Myth of Peat Moss
I do the twitter thing for Garden Bite, although I admit I’m not super active, I did get a message to sign a petition to call for a ban on using peat moss. Hmmm, I decided to look into it and found some very conflicting ideas on the use of peat and it’s sustainability. On one blog I read: As a soil amendment, which is what the baled product is mostly sold for, peat moss is a poor choice. It breaks down too fast, compressing and squeezing air out of the soil.
Organic Gardening “Questioning Peat Moss”
On the other hand… Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss
Cornell University [scroll down the list of fact sheets for this link to reach peat moss] explains that Canada, where we get most of our peat moss in the United States, has 25% of the world’s peatlands and only .02% of them is being harvested. The industry is regulated and practices restoration and reclamation to attempt to keep peat a sustainable resource. Environmental assessments are conducted before opening a virgin bog to harvest. They do suggest that perhaps we should consider using peat in growing mixes for starting seeds and cuttings but use compost and manure as soil amendments.
University of Vermont Extension – Peat moss or compost?
Do NOT just lay peat moss on top as a mulch, it will absorb moisture and block it from getting to your plants roots.