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Peat moss question

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camprn
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Post  brainchasm 3/4/2013, 4:13 pm

So I was making my first Mel's Mix, working to keep to the formula religiously.

I bought compressed peat moss 3cuft bales, expecting it to fluff out/expand as I added it to the mix...

I ran out of peat moss from the first bale before I finished the 16cuft I needed for the first bed.

Did I do something wrong? I know my math was right, but I think the peat didn't double in volume.

Now my 16cuft bed has 3cuft (supposedly compressed) of peat moss in it, and I am worried about my mix.
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Post  plantoid 3/4/2013, 4:32 pm

hi this is a variable with compressed volumes of air fill things like peat.


The heavier & more dense the bale the more it will have been compressed volume for volume
I had the same prob as you last year, three compressed bags were supposed to give be 40 litres per bag costing 3 for £ 10 litres , a compressed bale was 125 litres & cost £ 11

When I tried to calculate things and got someone to weight the bags it turned out that the bale was far heavier than the three bags by about 15 Kg.
On buying 6 bags and six bales , I found that the two compressed bales gave the volume of fluffed up peat as would have filled eight bags when fluffed up .
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Post  walshevak 3/4/2013, 4:39 pm

@brainchasm wrote:So I was making my first Mel's Mix, working to keep to the formula religiously.

I bought compressed peat moss 3cuft bales, expecting it to fluff out/expand as I added it to the mix...

I ran out of peat moss from the first bale before I finished the 16cuft I needed for the first bed.

Did I do something wrong? I know my math was right, but I think the peat didn't double in volume.

Now my 16cuft bed has 3cuft (supposedly compressed) of peat moss in it, and I am worried about my mix.

3 cu ft of compressed peat will fluff to 6 cu ft. 1 bale mixed 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 should have produced 18 cu ft of MM. Did you fluff before mixing?

I have noticed that the 3.8 cu ft bale I bought 2 years ago is now 3.2 cu ft. and 2.2 cu ft bales are out there.

Kay
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Post  brainchasm 3/4/2013, 4:46 pm

@walshevak wrote:
@brainchasm wrote:So I was making my first Mel's Mix, working to keep to the formula religiously.

I bought compressed peat moss 3cuft bales, expecting it to fluff out/expand as I added it to the mix...

I ran out of peat moss from the first bale before I finished the 16cuft I needed for the first bed.

Did I do something wrong? I know my math was right, but I think the peat didn't double in volume.

Now my 16cuft bed has 3cuft (supposedly compressed) of peat moss in it, and I am worried about my mix.

3 cu ft of compressed peat will fluff to 6 cu ft. 1 bale mixed 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 should have produced 18 cu ft of MM. Did you fluff before mixing?

I have noticed that the 3.8 cu ft bale I bought 2 years ago is now 3.2 cu ft. and 2.2 cu ft bales are out there.

Kay
Kay
Yes, I broke up the bale by hand, and made sure not to compress it when I was scooping. It was very light and definitely broken up when I was measuring, it just didn't double up. I was thinking/hoping that maybe it needed water to get to full expansion, but then I noticed that my volume measurements (to get to 16cuft) worked out perfectly (raised bed is full to the top), so I'm guessing it just didn't double up as expected.

C'est la guerre...it's not rocket surgery I suppose.
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Post  walshevak 3/4/2013, 4:53 pm

My take on it is if you wind up a little short on anything make sure it's not the compost. Razz

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Post  camprn 3/4/2013, 4:53 pm

At this point, if you don't have any more sphagnum peat and you are limited on funds, go ahead and add more blended compost to fill the bed then stir it up a bit. Compost is the ingredient that gives nutrition to the mix.

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Post  greengrass 3/4/2013, 4:56 pm

well the 100litre bales i got were heavy, so i thought they were
compressed.(though the bag didn't state it was compressed)

i emptied one 100l bag to measure it, and i got it to around 75 litres!
so i've emptied all my peat bales and wet them, and will leave them
open to the air for a few days.
though nothing much is happening- it's not fluffing up or uncompressing yet.
i may have to get more if it stays the same!
gg
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Post  dvelten 3/4/2013, 5:46 pm

The rule of thumb that compressed peat expands to double the compressed volume is only a guideline to be used in making MM calculations. If you want to be precise, the only way to do that is to use a container to measure out equal volumes of each component. The problem is not limited to peat but also bagged compost. Does that 40 lb. bag really contain one cubic foot?

I have 11 raised beds and despite the calculations, not once has the MM I mixed based on the formulas succeeded in filling the beds. My last attempt was filling my 4x6 8 inch beds (16 cubic feet each). Since my vermiculite came in 6 cu. ft. bags, I bought materials to make 18 cu. ft. of MM (1 bag vermiculite, a 3.8 cu. ft. bale and a 2 cu ft. bale of peat, and 6 cu. ft. bags of assorted compost). That's 18 cu ft. but the MM did not come up to the top edge of the boxes.

Bottom line, I wouldn't worry too much. If you have it, just add some extra compost as camprn suggests and get ready to plant! It's almost spring, even up here in NE!
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Post  plantoid 3/4/2013, 6:22 pm

@greengrass wrote:well the 100litre bales i got were heavy, so i thought they were
compressed.(though the bag didn't state it was compressed)

i emptied one 100l bag to measure it, and i got it to around 75 litres!
so i've emptied all my peat bales and wet them, and will leave them
open to the air for a few days.
though nothing much is happening- it's not fluffing up or uncompressing yet.
i may have to get more if it stays the same!
gg


Ding a ling ....Ding a ling..... the bells ring..
Perhaps 75 litres fluffs to 100 litres when well wetted and fluffed up ...... does that help ?
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Post  greengrass 3/4/2013, 7:03 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@greengrass wrote:well the 100litre bales i got were heavy, so i thought they were
compressed.(though the bag didn't state it was compressed)

i emptied one 100l bag to measure it, and i got it to around 75 litres!
so i've emptied all my peat bales and wet them, and will leave them
open to the air for a few days.
though nothing much is happening- it's not fluffing up or uncompressing yet.
i may have to get more if it stays the same!
gg


Ding a ling ....Ding a ling..... the bells ring..
Perhaps 75 litres fluffs to 100 litres when well wetted and fluffed up ...... does that help ?

well it's 2 days and counting, and still looks the same to me Smile
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Post  plantoid 3/4/2013, 8:05 pm

Ah well ....


Psssst ........go and buy another bag when you can afford it ???? Laughing
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Post  brainchasm 3/5/2013, 1:39 pm

@camprn wrote:At this point, if you don't have any more sphagnum peat and you are limited on funds, go ahead and add more blended compost to fill the bed then stir it up a bit. Compost is the ingredient that gives nutrition to the mix.
This is what I ended up doing; the last batch that topped off the bed with pretty much just compost and vermiculite.
I have two more bales (I had expected to end up with extra, hah!) so for my peace of mind I'll just make sure that the bale is evenly used amongst my batches for the next bed.
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Peat moss question Empty Uh ohhh... I miscalculated this too, now what...?

Post  ASlatzer 5/4/2013, 5:23 pm

I needed 13.5 Cubic Ft. of each of my 3 ingredients for MM. I bought 3 compressed bales of Peat Moss that were each 3 Cubic Ft compressed... if it will fluff to roughly 2x the size then I actually have about 18 Cubic Ft. of Peat Moss... what can I do to my mix at this point? Will it be okay?
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Post  camprn 5/4/2013, 5:30 pm

If you have extra peat after mixing per the instructions that is ok BUT... this is a big but... DO NOT add more than the recommended 1/3 of peat. If you need to add filler to have the level of the mix to the top of the box, add compost instead.

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Post  ASlatzer 5/4/2013, 5:48 pm

Okay... well, I definitely have more than a 1/3 of the prescribed Peat Moss if it's going to fluff to 2x the compressed size... so I am over by 5 cubic feet... should I just add 5 cubic feet of compost? I just finished mixing everything and it's in our 8x4 garden box but nothing planted yet.
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Post  camprn 5/4/2013, 5:56 pm

The compressed bale of sphagnum will not truly double. Maybe I am missing something....Did you use a bucket to measure? Did you mix it according to the directions of 1/3 peat, 1/3 vermiculite/perlite, 1/3 mixed compost? If you have extra peat, do not add that in. If you have extra compost, you can add that in.

Did I answer your question?

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Post  ASlatzer 5/4/2013, 6:06 pm

I really only measured by what the bag said... thinking I knew I needed 13.5 cubic feet of each of the 3 ingredients and I knew that the peat would expand but didn't read about the doubling somewhere until after I did my mixing..... I only bought 9 cubic feet of the compressed peat to allow for expanding...

I think I am fine but will be working in some more compost since I do have a little room left after I watered it and it settled a bit. The mix looks and feels great but I'd feel better with more compost. Thank you so much for your help, yes you did answer my question thanks

I'm new to SFG so just trying to learn as much as I can!
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Post  camprn 5/4/2013, 6:30 pm

Oki doki. Don't forget to water your mix in the boxes WELL. Stilck your hand to the bottom and make sure it's moist. If your plants are slow to grow in the next few weeks, top dress the bed with compost.

Good luck!

What are you using for a grid?

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Post  ASlatzer 5/4/2013, 10:55 pm

So basically soak the box down? I sprayed it but I know it's not moist all the way through...

We decided on nylon line for now... I was torn with the lath... We have knots tied through U-shaped nails so I can take everything off later if I decide I want to switch over to lath
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Post  Triciasgarden 5/5/2013, 1:33 am

Yes soak the whole box down and as Camprn says stick your hand down to the bottom to see if it is moist. The peat has a hard time absorbing water the first time but it is important to do it or you will have pockets of dry MM and your plants will be affected. After the first soaking of the peat, you only need to water normally after that.
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