What is peat moss and peat moss alternatives?

Updated: Apr 26

Peat Moss is a substrate harvested from peat bogs and used as a soil amendment or potting mix. It has a stable structure and a low pH level, with the ability to hold air and moisture. Peat moss also contains beneficial microbes for soil.

However, just like fossil fuels, peat moss is unsustainable. It takes hundreds of years for peat moss to regrow. This is why lots of people are using peat moss alternative products.

Peat Moss Alternatives

Finding an alternative for peat moss is easier said than done. At the very least, the alternative has to meet most of the qualities of peat moss, if not all of them.

Here is a list of some substances that could be used as an alternative to peat moss.

1. Compost

Compost is a widely used soil fertilizer made from decayed organic material. Like peat moss, it has good drainage.

It also attracts earthworms which help in increasing the amount of air and water the soil gets. Moreover, compost provides nutritional value to the soil.

If you do use compost as an alternative to peat moss, make sure to replenish it regularly. This is because compost happens to lose its nutritional value over time and may end up becoming a little compacted.

2. Coconut Coir

This happens to be one of the best alternatives to peat moss that is being used around the world. I use it by adding it to the worm bin and harvesting the finished compost.

The shorter fibers of the husks of coconut are used in soils due to their great pH level of 6. This pH level happens to be the closest pH level to the standard 6.5 used in gardening.

The pH level can be easily adjusted for plants that require a lower or higher pH level. In addition to that, coconut coir also has an amazing ability to hold water.

3. Woody Materials

Sawdust, composted bark, wood fiber, and other such materials made from local wood waste happen to be another alternative to peat moss.

They have a low pH level that is great for acid-loving plants. The pH level is easily adjustable for plants that need a higher pH level. They also have good drainage.

The drawback is that they need a fertilizer that has higher nitrogen when compared to peat moss. Moreover, the woody material might not be consistent in every batch, which is yet another concern to consider before using this as an alternative.

Now that you know what peat moss and its alternatives are, you are now free to choose accordingly.


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