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About Spaghnum Moss, Peat Pots and Pellets

Peat Moss is heralded by gardeners, as a wonderful soil conditioner. It helps to loosen and enrich the soil. Peat holds moisture, yet doesn't allow the soil to be too wet. It's loose nature leaves plenty of room for air, which is vital to healthy plant roots.

This wonderful gardening material is also what peat pots and pellets are made of. Peat pots holds seed starting soil, yet is soft enough for the plant roots to grow right through the walls of the pots. At transplanting time, the plant and pot are planted in the  garden soil. Without having to remove the plant from the pot, transplanting shock is minimized or avoided entirely.

As a rule of thumb - It is time to transplant your seedlings, after the last frost in your area and when the roots of the plant begin to protrude from the sides of the peat pots or pellets. If inclement weather is keeping you from transplanting, and the roots are showing outside of the pot, you can repot the seedling, pot and all, into a larger one.


Where Peat Comes From

Peat comes from Peatlands. A peatland is an ecosystem that develops in a bog. A lake or a pond holds rain and ground water. Vegetation, largely spaghnum moss, grows, slowly filling the bog. As the spaghnum moss dies each year, it partially decays in the bog, creating spaghnum peat moss.

More information on Peatlands


What Peat is Made of:

Peat is natural and organic. Spaghnum moss is by far the largest component. Other major components of peat moss are: sedge, grasses, and other mossy plants. It may also contain a small amount of other plants, trees shrubs, insects and animal remains.  

Dry peat is light-weight, yet holds needed moisture and nutrients. It allows needed oxygen to reach the roots.

It is composed of 96 to 98% organic matter. Other components include: Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Peat moss is acidic. The average pH is 4.0. Limestone, a natural element, may be added, to neutralize the pH.


Benefits of Peat Moss:

  • Adds structure to sandy soil

  • Loosens and aerates heavy clay soil

  • Stores fertilizer and nutrient, reducing leaching of nutrients from the soil

  • Saves and holds water, but not too much in the soil

  • Reduces odors


Uses of Spaghnum Moss:

Spaghnum peat moss has many uses:

  • Growing medium in the horticulture

  • A major component of home gardening seed starting soil

  • Peat pots and pellets

  • A soil conditioner for flowers, vegetables, and herbs

  • A soil conditioner for planting trees and shrubs

  • Conditioning new lawn soil

  • Rejuvenate established lawns

  • A soil amendment for your indoor houseplant pots and containers.

  • Added to compost piles to speed up decomposition, and reduce odors.

Did You Know? Peat moss is used in some beddings for horse and other animals.  For horses, it results in a shinier coat, and helps to keep their hooves healthier. It also reduces odors.


How much peat to use:

For most applications, use one part peat to 2 parts regular garden soil.


Peat pots are naturally organic. Peat is compressed into round or square pots of varying sizes, from 2 -1/2 inches to 5 inches in diameter. The pots are organic and porous, yet strong enough to hold seed starting soil and your  favorite, young seedlings. At planting time, transplant seedling in the pot right into the garden, minimizing transplant shock. Roots will easily grow through the pots.   Buy Peat Pot 

Did You Know? Jiffy was the first company to produce peat pots, beginning in the early 1950's.


Peat pellets - is compressed sphagnum moss, held together in a string-like netting. Add water and it expands. These pellets are popular for their ease of use. They also minimize transplant shock. While it is made from peat, pellets are not completely organic. They have a small charge of fertilizer in them. The netting that holds the pellet together, is made of nylon, cornstarch and cotton.  Buy Peat Pellets


Related Topics

About Peatlands and Bogs

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