Re: Sphagnum Peat from Home Depot

From: Rand Nicholson (
Date: Mon Feb 22 1999 - 05:33:01 PST

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 08:33:01 -0500
From: Rand Nicholson <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg530$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Sphagnum Peat from Home Depot

Hi All:

Ted A. Hadley wrote:

>Hi USA members, > >I recently purchased a large block of
"Compressed pure sphagnum peat" from >Home Depot, the popular
low-budget home improvement & building supply >retailer. The source
of the peat is Canada, and since the printing on the >bag is
half-French, I would assume probably from... Quebec?

Not necessarily. New Brunswick and other provinces have major
commercial peat bogs. Canada has two national languages, English
and French and all products are labeled in those languages. Some,
specifically for export to the States may only have english.

>Well, the appearance is very much like Pete D'Amato's description
in "The >Savage Garden": light brown, consistency of sawdust, etc.
However, when I >grabbed a handfull and crumbled a bit, I found
small chips of wood. Is this >normal? It really looks like it is
at least in part really just sawdust. I >added it to water and let
it soak. I though peat would sink, but this stuff >floats.

Milled peat often contains small pieces of stems and twigs that have
not completely decomposed. This stuff _is_ taken from bogs where a
variety of things used to grow. Peat bogs are great preservers of
things. Dried peat will, indeed, float on water and needs to be
mixed in by hand. This is because the water content is "compressed"
out of it and dry peat is difficult to rehydrate. Never use the
stuff in a potting mix until you have thoroughly soaked and mixed it
with water. You will be amazed at just how much liquid the stuff
will soak up. It can be mixed into a garden "as is", but care
should be taken to mix it well (break up those large clumps) with
the soil and it should be heavily watered afterwards several times.
It is not advisable to try to spread it on a windy day. > >Does
anyone have experience with this stuff? BTW: It was really cheap.
>Something like a couple of dollars for about 2-3 cubic feet.

As you are buying by weight, you are getting a great deal because
you are not paying for water content. When you buy bagged compost
or plant soil it is always a good idea to check how moist the stuff
is and how heavy. The heavier the mix the more water you are
buying. It makes a terrific acidic soil amendment, but breaks down
after a year or two in the garden. Seasonal applications, along
with compost, etc, can help build up a wonderfully organic soil. In
pots, it can last for two-three years depending on the conditions.
Once wet, it is great for your CP's as is, or for use in a soiless
CP mix.

Kind Regards,


Rand Nicholson <> Maritime New Brunswick,
Canada, Zone 5, now ... The Great Cold Brown North (no snow cover)

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