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100% peat moss?

Posted by TheMasterGardener1 none (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 8, 11 at 17:26

Can it be done? I have 3 Cu Ft of peat moss and no perlite. I currently looked at my local stores and HD and there is no perlite worth the money. I have a garden that uses the 5-1-1 but I was just interested if pure peat would work if I added lime. Would the peat hold too much water? Should I add 25%-50% perlite like I normaly do?
Has anyone grown in pure peat moss?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 100% peat moss?

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure using 100% peat would be a bad thing. The particle size is so small with peat that the perched water would be immense. I don't think adding perlite would help much either, because it would be like adding marbles to a bowl of oatmeal. Sure, you'd have big particles in it, but they'd be surrounded with the thick oatmeal yet. Likewise, adding perlite to a thick soupy mess of peat would just be adding large particles to the soupy mess, while not actually changing the drainage. But, as we all have probably witnessed, some plants actually come in nursery pots filled with peat. So, with all that said, technically you can grow in just peat, but you aren't going to get the best results.

Joe


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RE: 100% peat moss?

what is a simple peat recipe? like hopefully 3-4 ingredients? for herbs?


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RE: 100% peat moss?

50%-60% peat/ the rest perlite and about a tb sp of lime per gal of mix.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Good luck with that "recipe for disaster".

Peat, in any form, is not good when used as the major portion in any container medium mix... for reasons we've already discussed ad nauseum, on this forum and others.

The science held up against it is valid, and my own personal experience shows the science to be solid. Peat is only useful as a small, small portion of any medium. It's simply too water retentive, and if used as the major portion, and allowed to completely dry out, it becomes a block of floating concrete in a pot.

I'll pass. I like using ingredients such as fir bark, granite chips, coarse perlite, turface, pumice, crushed brick, and other useful items that allow for free drainage, plenty of aeration, plenty of allowable oxygen/gas exchange to the root zone, etc...

I've dumped my peat bales out into the clay soil of my gardens... where it's hoped it will help turn the poor soil into a workable soil. But for containers, I pass.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

I am with Jodik on this and add this to the mix.

Not only will the peat dry to a brick that repels water, but once you get to that point and you try and rewater the poor roots that have been deprived of water and dried out, once you finally get that soild mass of peat to absorb water, that is if you do so that it gets evenly moist, it will take days to dry out since most of the fine roots that would take up the water that are damged will just rot off in the meantime.

I will pass too. I just dunped my last bale of peat into my shrub beds.

Mike


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Aside from the results that others can amazingly foresee and predict, being something they might not want for there plant(S) Growing in a higher percentage of a peat based soil can be done and with success.

Certainly as long as there is a manner of proper drainage, proper watering and other growing factors fertilizer ect.... may need adjusting to a degree that several might not know or can suggest.

As well there are several things that can replace perlite if you really cant find it at ANY STORE ?

Some fair examples are a course grain or rocky type sand finer pieces of mulch (if need be you can simply mow them over just to shred them into something finner.) Leaf mold, broken twigs and such type debris that can even replace the so claimed death bed peat that does at times make those who don't use it cringe.

Try not let some words words come accost wrongly as some may say peat based soils doesn't really cause some strange illness amongst ALL the readers just because you choose or have to grow in peat based soil but handle your growing manner as a challenge for you and them.

Keep in mind that it isn't there happiness you need to worry about but your own, it's not the end of the world because you optioned for a different base of soil.

If your plants are long term growing then I would agree that you should certainly keep an eye out for a more ideal type of soil, as suggested by the several readers who may already have relied upon this and many other threads.



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RE: 100% peat moss?

It's not a prediction... it's a reality.

It's all from real life experience... where we can see it and feel it, and consequently, know it to be detrimental to containerized plantings.

And not only is it reality, it's also supported by science and physics.

How do you figure it's a prediction?


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RE: 100% peat moss?

hey...im a beginner...this activity has a HUGE learning curve...i am playing w peat now, and will prolly play w the bark next year. it is not like im being graded lol! ppl shouldnt expect 0-65 in one second


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RE: 100% peat moss?

When I look at the main ingredient of most potting soils like MG soil I see that it is almost all peat then manuar then some perlite ect...Most pro soilless mixs that are sold are peatmoss and coarse perlite. I have been growing in pure peat/perlite with good results. I have tryed the 5-1-1 with even better results. Somtimes The bark fines are not around though.

I agree that the bark fines are far more effective and economical.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

I believe that potting soils' main ingredient is soil,not peat. Potting MIX is bark based (FORREST PRODUCTS) with peat and perlite. dont remember seeing manure listed.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

True, it's a hobby for most gardeners... but let's quell one myth right now... there's no such thing as a "green thumb"; it's all applied knowledge.

There's no secret formula, no luck involved, no magic bullet... growing plants to their full potential is all about making the effort, and learning a few basics about soil, water, and the plants we want to grow... learning what their needs are. It's very helpful to learn the basics of how the different factors in a container planting interact.

Growing in the ground is vastly different than growing within the confined space of a container, so certain things will be different. Throughout the course of my life, my experiences and what I've learned tell me that organic methods work best for growing in the ground... while a more inorganic approach serves container growing much better.

It's helpful to learn the basics of how plants grow, and the importance of providing a healthy environment for healthy roots. In nature, in the garden, Mother Nature takes care of things like aeration, drainage (to a certain extent), a balance of good and bad bacterias, fungi, and other populations which work to break down matter into available nutrition for plants, etc. But we don't have those same populations within containers, and it's not really feasible to try to maintain them. In a pot, the balances can quickly become skewed, which is detrimental to the plant.

This is why a more inorganic approach works better, in my opinion, for growing in containers. It's important that we choose a durable medium which will drain well, allow for moisture to evaporate or be used in a timely manner, and one that will allow us to water thoroughly when the plant requires more moisture. Through proper watering, fresh oxygen enters the medium, and gases produced by the roots exit... which is very important for root health. Roots must be able to "breathe", so to speak, so it's important to use a medium that doesn't compact and lose its capacity to hold a certain amount of air pockets.

The finer the particles in a medium, the closer together they are, negating the necessary air pockets. Finer materials also hold onto more moisture, which might sound like a good thing, but roots can't remain saturated for long periods of time... they literally drown and die.

In order to maintain decent aeration, and allow for the all important exchange of oxygen and gases to and from the root zone, it's more helpful to utilize mediums that are built of larger particles.

Most of us have heard of amending soils with things like perlite or other items of larger particulate, but basic physics tells us that if the larger particulate isn't the majority of a mix, adding that coarser material is a waste of time. It would be like adding some marbles to a container of sand... the sand just fills in around the marbles, leaving no air pockets, no aeration.

Although it's fun to experiment, a gardener can bypass a lot of frustration, disappointment, and wasted funds by learning the basics beforehand. The link below contains a lot of very important information on soils, watering, and other basics... explained in such a way that anyone new to growing can understand. Al's writings put to rest a lot of myths and old wive's tales, and give a basic scientific view of growing in containers.

After having learned quite a bit, and having decades of experience under my belt, I leave the finely cut peat off my shopping list. It serves no purpose in my own environment of indoor container growing. I mix my own container mediums, using a larger particulate and adjusting the ratios of ingredients for the plant involved, based on its needs.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Basics...


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RE: 100% peat moss?

It's no surprise that I agree with Jodi ;-)

I am strongly biased against peat products, in general, so I'll place that on the table up front.

While growing in pure peat *can* be done, so can growing in a container of pure glass shards.....
as long as one is willing to make the concessions to carefully attend the planting. In the case of peat,
you'll be fighting to eliminate water - and in the case of glass, you'll be fighting to maintain enough water.

If your options are so radically limited that you *must* grow in peat, then it's a moot point.


Josh


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Can it be done?

Sure, for a day or two maybe. Maybe you can stretch it to a day or week, maybe even an entire one season. Just don't forget not to let your mix ever dry out to the point it repels water, and certainly watch out you don't over water.
Make sure the plants you grow in all peat like wet feet, and if not, remove them from the rain if it gets to cool and goes on for days. Do not use a water drip system either. Don't forget to flush your mix of acclimated salts which build up very quickly over time and watch for fungus gnats.
Just some helpful hints.:-)

It is no surprise that I too am biased towards peat. But I don't frown upon it. In fact, I use a small pinch myself in some of my mixes. In fact a fraction of it is suggested by Al himself in the 5.1.1. mix for very important reasons.
In some of my pots, I even use just about all peat when I run out of perlite, but of curse on plants I don't care to loose over a season.

As Jodik pointed out, there are many more reasons I have left peaty mixes out of my pots and they ARE taboo to the roots of my special plants. Some of them too expensive to loose. That is why my gardenias and citrus are thriving after 20 years of trying. In fact, the mixes with very little peat are recommended for most of my plants that hate wet feet my the local nursery growers themselves. My friend that runs a Bonsia shop amends his mixes too in which peat is a just another fraction for his plants. Not taboo, just a fraction of many other added amendments to encourage a fast draining and porous mix.

If one wants to take the challenge of growing in mostly peat, then be mny guest. I certainly won't be affected by that. But I will be happy for your success, because I am genuine about it.
That is why I am here quite often. I am done with those days and the dead and anything but vibrant plants in my case and I would love to see as many people as I can avoid the same disappointment.
Am I safe to say we are all here to help each one other and see others succeed?
Yes, I think so:-)

Well put Jodik: "Peat, in any form, is not good when used as the MAJOR portion in any container medium mix"

Hi Wes, Jodik, Josh, Masstergarndener and all the new faces:-)

Mike


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Yup I watered it and it is heavy mud now. I used half of it to condition some soil in the garden that I will plant my fall crop in. I am not going to bother even adding perlite and using my reg perlite/peat soiless mix. I will leave it around for the 1part in the 5-1-1. I will only grow in potting soil or the 5-1-1 for now. I have peppers that are growing in longfiber peat and perlite but they got hit w rain and the peat hold way too much water. They ar doing good but I am going to transplant them into soil then they will really take off. Just like experimenting and seeing what I can get away with. Thanks alot guys.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

"Just don't forget not to let your mix ever dry out to the point it repels water, and certainly watch out you don't over water."

With peat, that's easier said than done. As a pot filled with peat dries out, the outer/top layer might appear to be bone dry, but the center area of the peat, where the roots of the plant are located, will still remain saturated for a while. If we water too soon, and don't allow the center of the root ball to dry out to a certain extent, we kill the roots by drowning them. And if we wait too long, the peat turns into a water-repellent ball of concrete-like material.

More plants are killed by improper watering than by any one other thing. That's a fact. So, it would seem important to choose a medium that allows for proper watering, and gives a much wider margin for error.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

In response to Jodi: A result that you wouldn't want for your plant is easy to predict as you said yourself, in short growing in peat based VS the soils you use now is the same as asking which results are you be happier with. My prediction is and should be rather obvious. None of us can predict what results the OP would get in a peat based soil and agree we who don't use a peat based soil can suggest that our results are better to a higher degree.

As a second reading I also saw and again see most of the info to the OP are strong suggestions on HOW TO AMEND his pure peat soil into something more viable for the plant(s) he grows.
My self as a gardener would agree that growing in a HIGH peat based soil is, more difficult, can work for the short growth, does require more attention than a free draining soil, and will admit not a choice I would make either but not impossible to the point where a plant will only live for 2 days to a week.

Some ( even on this thread) have indeed grown in high peat based soil for a while ( longer than several weeks) knowing none the better until they found information on a better and more reliable growing manner including a better draining soil of which the original poster was able to receive reasonable responses on how to help plants grow more productively than in the 100 % peat he /she had planed

On the other side of life; Hello Mike thought for the season one who gardens/grows a plant in one soil will limit there plants, one who grows in many soils can limit many plants.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

I didn't say anything about predictions... you did.

I mentioned reality, experience, fact, logic, science... take your pick.

I don't have to make predictions because I've experienced firsthand both growing with peat, and growing without it... and I can tell you, without a doubt, that using a fine particulate will not help you grow healthy plants with healthy roots... especially if you're a novice.

If I've ALREADY EXPERIENCED the uselessness of using a peat based soil, and I learn the basic science and physics of why it's not working, I am then able to offer better, more viable, vetted information to other growers who may wish to grow their plants to the fullest genetic potential, as well.

The link I included above is chock full of good, valid information for anyone who wants the truth about what happens inside a pot, under the soil, with regards to roots. It will help you choose the medium that's right for you.

What if I told you that I spent many years trying various peat or coir based products, only to lose several very precious bulbs to rot and fungal issues. I was doing everything I was supposed to do, using the industry standards, but those bulbs still developed rot issues and died as a result.

Then, after much frustration, I went looking for a better way. I went looking for real information. I wanted to learn how soils worked in a container environment, and how the soil, water, and the plants all related to one another.

Enter a bit of science, a bit of basic physics, and a little bit on how roots grow and what they require to be healthy. We have to grow plants from the roots up in order to experience such healthy, positive results.

What we have to remember is that the gardening industry is no different than any other; it thrives on profit. That is it's goal. It doesn't care about gardeners, the customers. It only cares that we give repeat business. In order to get that repeat business, it must offer products that keep us coming back for more.

It wouldn't be good for business if they offered us products that would help our plants live a long time, or that were created so we'd have an easy time caring for them. And the myths surrounding growing and gardening work to their advantage.

What I'm saying is... the industry offers very little variety in soils, and very little evidential information based in science. Most bagged soils are peat based, made of a silty or fine particulate, created to retain too much moisture, and most are not healthy for roots, OR easy to work with for the novice.

There are no real valid bits of information floating around to help gardeners, either. Just like the bit about having a "green thumb", most common knowledge about gardening either isn't valid or isn't complete.

If we want to grow on a more serious level, we have to dig deeper, no pun intended, into the science of what plants require, and we have to adjust some things so they work in our individual environments.

If we learn what happens to roots in different environments, using various products, we don't have make predictions on what will happen. We'll already know. And we can then use that knowledge to choose a better medium so we don't have to experiment... we'll already have the information necessary to grow healthy plants the first time.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

IS a bag of miracle grow peat based soil scientifically formulated ? if so then ( as they do say it is ) Science now provides two solutions plants do grow in peat and plants don't grow in peat.

Informing the poster as said by some there plants wont grow and will fail in a peat based soil IS A PREDICTION until the poster tells us of there results being of any results such a prediction is as valid as are the cautions to not use a peat based soil.

Granted the less chance of error is the easier manner of growing BUT ONLY for those who have the tools and the ingredients to do as such for all I know the only thing garden master can get is PEAT If this is true then.

Why would I or anyone else tell him his plants are doomed unless he has the certain tools that they may not be able to obtain why cant I/we just inform them of how to use the peat based soil he already has in a more plant productive goal.

Also (said by the other scientist who made the peat based soil) has now got to read THERE IS ALSO NO SCIENTIFIC PROFF THAT PLANTS WONT GROW in peat but this statement it's as equal to the plants that rotted and died in peat under some people with there growing habits doesn't mean yours will.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

i have read almost all the posts here and i have see nowhere that says "your plants will die in peat" what i do see is that in using 100% you will fins that it reatains LOTS of mousture and needs to not dry out 100% or it will be VERY difficult to get wet again as it repells water when dry. so all on here are suggesting that he uses a "faster draining, less retentive" soil as quite a few people on here are just speaking from years of experience. i have only been growing plants for 2 years and last year i used miricle grow and because i like to spend time and look at my plants i tend to "over water" and i killed quiteafew plants last year. and this year i chose a few different options to see which workd best for my climate. and so far the much faster, less water rententive soil i made has better looking plants. but that is just me.

Eric


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RE: 100% peat moss?

I was going to stay out of this boondoggle, but I'll just add a bit. This topic sure seems to get a lot of people arguing though...man. Anyway, the bottom line is this: Plants can indeed grow in peat moss, and at varying percentages, including 100%. However, that's not to say that it's the best thing for them. It all boils down to what you are looking to achieve....do you want your plants to simply survive, or to outright thrive? If you chose the latter, then stay away from the peat based soil. I am another one who is giving advice against peat based soil, because I know first hand, because I used to use MG bagged soil. Since switching to 5-1-1 and gritty mix, my plants are absolutely thriving. So, myself and others gave our opinions and advice about why peat isn't the best choice. Whether a person chooses to take that advice or not is up to them. So, if one chooses to grow in peat based soil, or all peat moss for that matter, then you cannot be baffled and upset when you don't get the results you want. I would also not start a thread asking why your plants are failing if you choose peat moss, because this whole boondoggle will start up again.

Joe


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RE: 100% peat moss?

I don't really see any argument what I see is plants can grow in peat and slight confessions of those who grew in peat and how there plants failed. Which could indicate they dont know how to grow in peat. Regardless plants can and do grow in peat based soils . Happily they find better ingredients to make soils that are as said ALLOWING FOR MORE ERROR provide a better draining and easier to manage and provide a healthier plant as said.

Point being there is no ONE SOIL grows all solution. Fairly someone can suggest HYDROTRON would be the more ideal growing media and there would be pros and cons about this manner too yet plants do grow in hydrotron pellets just as well and under the same manners (or sciences to make it all sound fancy) as said by the costume mix that is being proposed.

At the end of the day the person in question isn't asking what is an ideal soil to grow a plant but they ask do plants grow in peat THE answer is yes plants do grow in peat and with success. HOW EVER it is a challenge for the users of peat and to the readers who will make certain predictions of the questioning persons results having they experiences with growing in peat.

DO I grow in peat based soils Yes What are my results The plants in a peat based soil are doing well.

By chance if the person isn't asking on the thread but wants to know I also grow in several other medias as well such as standing water, circulating waters, hydro-tron containers, costume mixes, and other odd growing medias that go out of the usual mix that some suggest on this thread.

Results some plants do better than others but none of them are as bad off as suggested by the comments that are read.
In a different manner of speaking
I don't deep sea dive either, but this fact doesn't mean other people cant. Maybe as a suggestion those who grow with good results in peat based soil shouldn't give advice on how to deep sea dive ?




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RE: 100% peat moss?

Hey Wes:

You loose me every time I start reading your post's. No punt intended, but everyone here is lost once they get past your first sentence. Are you deliberately writing in alien terms?:-)

Hope your well

Mike


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RE: 1100% peat moss?

This is what I meant to say..lol

I have no idea how the above posted when I never submitted it!
...................

Hey Wes:
You loose me every time I start reading your post's. No punt intended, but everyone here is lost once they get past your first sentence. Are you deliberately writing in alien language or trying to loose your audience??:-)
I must admit that talking to you face to face is easier to understand.

Hope your well

Mike


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RE: 100% peat moss?

The bottom line in any debate, people, is that when it comes down to actual science, physics, proven conclusions based on evidence - versus - somebody's opinions... I'm terribly sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but science and fact will take the upper hand every time. That's just reality.

No one said you CAN'T do what you want to do... that's entirely in your hands. The choice is up to you. You can try to grow plants in anything you want... from pure liquid to pure solid. We've discussed it here to the point of regurgitation.

But the facts, the science, the evidence all point to a more aerated, more free draining, larger particulate as the healthier, scientifically vetted choice for growing root systems, and therefore the plants above the medium, to a better genetic potential within the confines of containers, with a much wider margin for error. That's fact. There's no getting around it.

If your choice is pure peat, that's your choice. It would never be my choice due to what I've learned about the science and physics of growing, but if that's what smokes your shorts, more power to ya.

As far as I'm concerned... and as far as the science is concerned... it's a pure waste of time, effort, and funds to use a fine particulate in a container environment. The margin for error is much slimmer, and most novices will end up with problems in the long run.

No, Miracle Gro soils aren't "scientifically formulated". They're not much more than a waste product from another industry... similar to pet feeds, which are a waste product from the human food industry. When profit is the driving force, any industry will always try to find a use for a waste product. It brings two incomes, and less waste to dispose of, which usually costs money.

Industry always places profit before people. That's the way of the world. They take advantage of our weaknesses, our gullibility, our ignorance, and our child-like excitement for new products with shiny packaging and bright colors. The general public has a short attention span, an even shorter memory, and we're easily distracted. It's not very hard to sell us things we think we need.

It's really simple... due to how roots grow and what they need when grown in a confined environment, a larger particulate will net better, easier, healthier results with a wider margin for error. That bit of evidence leaves fine cut peat out of the picture.

There's no argument... facts are facts. And opinions are many. Let's not confuse the novice population with opinions. What they need are facts.


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Drill extra holes in the bottom of your bucket.(do not use screen over the holes,)Make a pile of soil a little larger around then your pot bottom and about 2-3 inches tall,now put your full bucket on the spot you made ,With the soils in the bucket and below the bucket touching your excess water will continue to move thru the bucket and into the ground


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Hey Mike no pun here either but lost is me too. I'm still Wondering if the perlite that got left behind would of been the better soil at 100 % over peat 100%. Unfortunate is that Miracle grow does distribute PERLITE too.
Hi Jodi you seem to have a good bead on keeping in tract what where you saying about Miracle products again ? Opps Not to annoy anyone or be misunderstood but was the words MIRACLE GROW the reason why they didn't get perlite when they had the chance ?

Pros and cons are indeed realistic and in agreement to some I wouldn't want to grow nor would I choose to grow ANY plant in 100 % peat either unless it was amended heavily Yes drainage is drainage as long as there is a hole or better yet some holes on the BOTTOM of the container(s)an extra step to make bigger holes isn't going to make to much of a difference but a step you could take as a caution. HOPEFULLY the person asking the questions will take or already took these steps


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RE: 100% peat moss?

If you're gonna try to wick into the earth itself, you might as well just bury a small portion of the container in the ground, no?


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Lastly You don't have to believe Charles Darwin but you will not be able to prove him wrong


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RE: 100% peat moss?

Instead of trying to figure out ways to make peat moss work, why not just use something better, such as the 5-1-1, or whatever else people have time tested? No sense in trying to fix the effect without fixing the cause.

Joe


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