Can Florida peat be used in Al's 5-1-1 mix?

joewormOctober 21, 2011

Trying to keep the cost down.

Thanks

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's not as desirable as Canadian peat because it breaks down very quickly in soils, and it is also more apt to harbor pathogens than Canadian peat because of a higher pH. Canadian peat can be considered nearly sterile because of its low pH. Used as a small fraction of the soil, as in the 5:1:1 mix, the fact that it breaks down quickly will have minimal impact because it's represented as a low % of the whole. Your call, Joe.

Al

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 5:21PM
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joeworm

How long will the Florida peat last vs the length of time the Canadian peat will last?

Could the 5-1-1 be topped off periodically with additional Florida peat to remedy the problem of it breaking down so fast?

Would less dolomite be used with Florida peat vs the amount recommended with the 5-1-1 mix using Canadian peat?

Could the possible pathogen problem with Florida peat be remedied by first mixing the Florida peat with an acid material for a short period of time (without having to hot compost the Florida peat)?

Thanks

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 4:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

How long will the Florida peat last vs the length of time the Canadian peat will last?

Too many variables - no way to tell. It depends on what you use for fertilizer, how moist you keep the soil, how well-aerated the soil is .....
Could the 5-1-1 be topped off periodically with additional Florida peat to remedy the problem of it breaking down so fast?

Shrinkage isn't the problem, per se. The problem arises from the fact that the FL peat breaks down into tiny particles quickly, particles that tend to clog up the soil's macro-pores, which tends to increase water retention and reduce air retention, air retention being the primary reason for making the 5:1:1 mix to begin with.

Would less dolomite be used with Florida peat vs the amount recommended with the 5-1-1 mix using Canadian peat?
Probably not. Since the peat is only about 1/7 of the o/a mix, the 1 point (or so) difference in 1/7 of the soil's volume isn't going to represent a significant change requiring a significant adjustment in the amount of lime used.

Could the possible pathogen problem with Florida peat be remedied by first mixing the Florida peat with an acid material for a short period of time (without having to hot compost the Florida peat)?
No. I'm not sure how you'd get that to work, or how you'd deal with the acidity afterward. I suppose if a commercial grower was going to use FL peat and needed to purge it of pathogens, he'd do it with a fumigant or by treating with steam (in your case probably, heat).

I'm sure Canadian peat is more expensive in FL than in MI, but it's so inexpensive by the cu ft that it's hard to imagine that you'd save much. I'm guessing there couldn't be much more than about a buck/cu ft difference, at most?

Al

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 8:02PM
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joeworm

Sounds like Canadian peat is the way to go.

Thanks for taking the time to answer those questions Al.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 8:50AM
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