What is Peat Moss?
Peat Moss in the truest sense is actually a family of wild-growing mosses of the Sphagnum kind or family of mosses as it is scientifically known. Peat Moss, as used in gardening, is a fibrous, decomposed remains of these certain types of moss, which are found in very wet areas of the country. It is a highly prized natural plant food and can be used as a covering or mulch like substance for seeded areas.
Where do you get Peat Moss?
Your local farm supply, outdoor or gardening section of most department stores will have a healthy store of Peat Moss for sale through the planting season or at least around the beginning of planting season, namely the spring and early summer.
You may also be fortunate enough to find Peat Moss out in wet wilderness areas such as found in Pennsylvania. There you may find Peat Moss available in large bogs though you will certainly want to have permission from property owners or the local government to retrieve any.
How do you tell Peat Moss when you see it?
Peat Moss will have a combination of a clay like texture and a fibrous texture. It will be gray, wet, and seedy and appear quite rich. Refined Peat Moss will be much less clay like.
How can you use Peat Moss?
You will first need to prepare Peat Moss for use. Bought at the store you will want to break it apart with your hands or grind it with a mulcher or grinder. Finding it in the wild you will want to separate the more fibrous, richer portions and grind or mulch them. You can certainly mix them with some hummus, another gardening soil, or any number of other fertilizers or topsoils or even sands.
Once prepared, Peat Moss can be planted with flowers, plants, or edible crops, spread over the same or used to cover planted grass as with hay or straw.
Planting Peat Moss with flowers: spread some in the bottom of the hole before you place the flower in and add water to it before planting the flower as well. You may want to cover with humus. Make sure the Peat Moss is fairly fine for flowers and other plants that may not produce strong roots.
For crops, you may want to more generally prepare the whole of the soil with Peat Moss and fertilizer such as lime by covering the whole area and tilling it under. Dig your holes, lightly moisten, and then plant your seed or potatoes or other crops.
Whether covering gardens or grass, Peat Moss makes a beautiful covering and provides growing plants with an additional source of the appropriately rich nutrients when pounded into the ground by rain, watering, or traffic from people and animals in the case of grasses and lawns.
Peat Moss will also give a natural effect to less attractive or lively looking bushes or shrubs as well as fake plants or dying or fruitless trees.
You can certainly add to your Peat Moss repertoire by visiting home and garden shows and examining picture books delineating its use.