The Pros of Adding Peat Moss into the Potting Soil
Before learning how much peat moss to add to potting soil, it is necessary to understand how this substance might benefit. Let’s take a look at these benefits:
- It helps with moisture retention
The peat moss can retain water that it receives, up to several times its weight. It implies that you do not have to water the plant as much. It is great for hot climates.
- It prevents the development of diseases
Peat moss is sterile, and therefore bad fungi and bacteria will not be able to grow. This sterile quality is crucial to support the plant’s most vulnerable period: seedling.
- It keeps the soil nutrients intact
Nutrients can be displaced by water during watering. Peat moss prevents nutrient leakage. You do not need to fertilize the plant often when adding it to the soil.
The Cons of Adding Peat Moss into the Potting Soil
In your quest to find out how much peat moss to add to potting soil, knowing the disadvantages of adding this substance to your potting soil is also important. Here are some of the cons:
- It lowers the soil’s pH level
This property can either be good or bad. It depends on the kind of plants you are growing in the garden. Plants that require neutral soil may deteriorate and die with the addition of peat moss.
- The price is relatively high
Peat moss is relatively expensive to purchase. The price can be three times as expensive as pine bark. For large-scale farmers, that price difference is very significant.
- It has negative implications for the environment
Another problem with peat moss is its poor implication for the environment. It is known to contribute to climate change. The carbon emissions caused by peat moss are quite high.
How Much Peat Moss to Add to Potting Soil?
Peat moss is a common ingredient in potting mixes because it aids drainage. Waterlogging is an issue when planting in pots (or other containers).
Adding peat moss helps prevent that from happening. Waterlogging is one of the causes of root rotting.
The usual ratio for peat moss and soil is 1:1. This ratio can be adjusted based on the growing plant. You may add more peat moss when the plant requires an acidic environment.
You must rein the peat moss quantity if your soil and plant do not need more acid.
The Steps of Adding Peat Moss to Potting Soil
Once you have learned how much peat moss to add to potting soil, you can learn the proper steps to create your potting mix with the ingredient. Note the following steps:
- Test the pH level of your soil (if it is too acidic, you can mix some limestone pebbles).
- Soak the peat moss in a water-filled bucket for a few minutes.
- Mix the peat moss with soil according to the ratio mentioned above.
- Spray liquid fertilizer into the mix to further improve the nutrients in the potting mix.
- Start using the potting mix as a base for your favorite plants.
Alternatives to Peat Moss
Due to its disadvantages, you can use other materials to amend your soil if you are discouraged from using peat moss for potting mix.
Currently, coconut peat is very popular among gardeners. This eco-friendly material can provide aeration that prevents root rotting, especially during seedling.
Another peat moss alternative is pine needles. This material is widely available worldwide, making it an economical alternative.
The pine needles are acidic, but unlike peat moss, the soil will not get affected by the low pH level. The pine needles must be dried before being used in the potting mix to control the moisture level.
How Do You Maintain the Health of Potting Soil?
Maintaining the health of potting soil is challenging. Despite its convenience, some factors may affect its health as the plant grows. Here are some tips to keep the potting soil healthy:
- Purchase the right pot to keep your soil healthy, with a good drainage system.
- Monitor the soil’s temperature, ensuring it is not too cold or heated.
- The soil you add to the pot and mix with the peat moss should be high quality.
- Watering sufficiently, not too much, and also not too little.
- Place the potted plant in a place that receives a lot of light (most plants thrive in a place with good lighting but not direct exposure to the sun)
- Keep pets and other small animals away from the potted plant.
- Pinch off any dead blossom as soon as you see it.