Why is Peat Moss Important In Vegetable Gardens?

peat moss
Photo by Priya Jaishanker

Treading lightly with peat moss

Peat or peat moss has to be the most controversial wild growing moss in the world. Its reputation is known by many, but some just don’t understand the many facets of the things it can really be used for. Many gardeners are actually afraid of it because of its acidity, and then there are those who totally can’t live without it. We can see it mostly used around acid-loving plants like blueberries and azaleas. Derived from the sphagnum species of mosses, it acts as a sponge to hold more moisture. It also can be very beneficial to plant growth. Its reaction to the soil is to continue to decompose, and if used with heavy soil it can loosen it up to aerate the roots of plants. So many people ask why is peat moss important in vegetable gardens and the answer is pretty simple.

The benefits of peat moss in the garden

Peat moss is a wonderful natural organic way to condition the soil and give it nutrients, but knowing how to mix it well with other ingredients to get the proper growth from your specific vegetables and plants is very important. Don’t just go crazy throwing peat moss all over the garden and think it will do the job on its own. You have to put some thought into it and do the research first. When used alone, peat moss can destroy a healthy garden, but with additives, it can be your friend. Most gardeners play it safe and only use it for seed starting. Or to give a single seed a head start on its journey to grow strong. Use equal parts peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and compost to create small little mounds for your seeds. A bit of wood ash should be thrown into the mix to counteract the acidity.

Know how much to use

Depending on how big your batch is, you only need a few tablespoons of the wood ash. I would say two tablespoons for a big batch and for a barrel full use a quarter of a cup.  I use old egg cartons to store each individual mound, but you can even use ice trays as well. When using peat moss in the garden, it would help if you tested your soil first, because depending on what area you live in, your soil may be more acidic and using peat moss would be disastrous. If you live in an area where your soil is more alkaline, then peat moss could balance the PH and enhance your garden.

No matter where you live in the world, you can create the unique kind of atmosphere. One that your plants need and create a special soil mixture for plant beds. You can make raised flower beds or have your vegetables grow in a special place inside your home. We have so many options now, thanks to businesses like Aerogarden and hydroponics. Costco even sells greenhouses for various prices. Find something that fits your lifestyle and budget.