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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Alternative to Peat Moss Toplef10Alternative to Peat Moss 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Alternative to Peat Moss I22gcj10Alternative to Peat Moss 14dhcg10

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Post  PaymentMaven 5/3/2010, 11:56 pm

I asked SFG if they have an alternative to peat moss, since some folks say it is harvested and takes a number of years to regrow.

Alan at SFT replied, "We have also experimeted with "Coir" (Coconut fiber) it's environmentally friendly and has almost as good water retention capability as Peat. Hope that helps."

Someone else had some objections to coir.
- Coir is from coconuts which also must be harvested and takes time to regrow. And if enough demand, then there will be plantations of coconut palms instead of food plants.
- Coir is 2-4 times more expensive than peat moss.

So maybe it is six of one, half a dozen of another.

Cheers,
Paul
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PaymentMaven

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Location : Los Angeles - near Olympic & Fairfax

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Post  LaFee 5/4/2010, 1:41 am

There are two kinds of peat, from what I've seen.

The 'old' kind of peat is cut from a bog...it is not a sustainable resource, and is all but impossible to find many places. Bogs are also unique ecosystems, so harvesting peat does all kinds of damage to the ecosystem.

Then there's peat made from sphagnum moss (the same stuff used to line hanging baskets) -- my understanding is that this stuff grows fairly quickly and is grown on farms, so there are very few sustainability issues.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm off-base ....

Coconut palms ARE food crops -- the coir is a byproduct thereof -- the tree produces coir as a waste material.

Remember...compost takes a while to produce, too....nothing that is sustainable appears in infinite quantities for our immediate use...it's finding a balance.
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Post  Retired Member 1 5/4/2010, 8:55 am

The peat I use is spagnum peat moss which is harvested with ecological factors in mind. Here's a link to a site that explains how: http://www.peatmoss.com/pm-harvest.php And this link explains the enviromental impact: http://www.peatmoss.com/concern.php I bought a brick of coir to use in a couple of hanging baskets and didn't like it as much as the peat. It really doesn't hold water as well and the texture is kind of bristley-spongey -- peat is nice and soft.
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