Home Gardening Tips: Using Peat Moss

As a kid I actually had dreams of having my own vegetable garden and growing all the veggies I love the most. I guess growing up on a farm will do that to you.

Not that I had any clue how to start a garden, that was Dads job, although as I got older I became part of the weed gang.

Once Jenny and I had a plot to grow in we wanted a vegetable garden. We soon found out our backyard was made of concrete. Okay, it was dense clay but when I first tried to put my shovel into it I was sure it was cement.

We soon learned why our lawn wasn’t the best in the neighborhood but I’ll discuss our lawn in another post. Today I’m all about peat moss.

I am thinking the previous owners had experienced just how dense our property is as they didn’t bother digging gardens. Instead the choose to build raised beds and fill them with good topsoil.

Putting Some Organic Matter In Our Soil

Growing up I learned that Dad spent a lot of time preparing our vegetable garden for the seeds. He added a lot of stuff to the garden, including loads of manure in the fall.

He had been vegetable gardening in that garden long before I was around and we had great soil. Our little garden, on the other hand, needed some help and fast.

We had to loosen the soil and add nutrients back into the soil. So we bought some topsoil and peat moss.

Today we create compost to add to the soil and seldom need to buy topsoil. It’s only when we take on a big project that we can’t supply enough compost for the task.

We actually had a Sphagnum peat moss bog just about 5 miles from our farm but back then I had no idea what peat moss was but once we started gardening as adults we learned that it is a natural, organic soil conditioner.

Peat Moss: A Few Useful Points:

  • peat moss will help aerate the roots for better growth;
  • peat moss will sandy soil by giving it a bit of body;
  • peat moss will hold water and save on that water bill.

When Creating New Garden Beds

Mark The New Garden Area

When we plan a new garden we use something as simple as the good old garden hose to mark the area we plan to dig up.

Reuse or Recycle That Sod

Don’t throw away the sod you did up. We use it to patch up other areas or we put into our compost bin and recycle it into some great top soil for the gardens.

Let The Digging Begin

After the sod’s been removed we dig and turn over the garden to at least a foot deep and remove any rocks and other things we don’t want. We actually found three big flower pots while digging up our garden for the first time, very strange.

Amend The Soil With Peat Moss And Compost

After digging up the new garden we add enough peat moss to loosen the clay soil so that it’s useable and also add an inch or two of compost or topsoil. We continue to add compost throughout the season and re-dig it all again once the growing season is done for the year.

Note: I read, somewhere online, that I should dig a hole and fill it with water to see how long it would take to drain. Well the hole I dug in our first garden took about two days to drain.

However, after amending the soil and testing another hole it had gone from taking a couple of days to a little more than a half hour to drain. What a huge difference a little peat moss made to our clay soil.

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