Square Foot Gardening Forum
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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.

Non "fluffy" peat... I22gcj10Non "fluffy" peat... 14dhcg10

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
[table bgcolor=#000000 height=275][tr][td]
Non "fluffy" peat... Toplef10Non "fluffy" peat... 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.

Non "fluffy" peat... I22gcj10Non "fluffy" peat... 14dhcg10

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Non "fluffy" peat...

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Non "fluffy" peat... Empty Non "fluffy" peat...

Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 11/29/2022, 9:55 pm

I finally managed to find the time to buy my MM ingredients recently, and took a first look at the peat.  It seems that it's not as dried out as the stuff you folks talk about, since I had no problem wetting it.  (I actually had an old bowl on the kitchen bench for about a week, adding water gradually and waiting to see what happened - hubby got a bit sick of it! Laughing )

I was expecting the peat to be kind of like compressed moss, and that decompressing it would yield something that is kinda fluffy.  But this stuff is just like dirt, very easy to crumble.  Not at all like the solid blocks I've read about here and elsewhere.  Here's my best attempt at a picture:

Non "fluffy" peat... Img_2613

What do you folks think?  Does this peat need fluffing and if so what should I do?  Also, given that I had no problem increasing its moisture content, I'm wondering if it's not as dry as what you folks buy and therefore I need to buy more of it to get the volume right.  The stuff in my test didn't really seem to increase in volume although it must have to some extent, since I was adding water.  But it wasn't obvious.

If anyone needs any more details please ask away!  I'm not sure what else I can say and this newbie is pretty stumped... pale
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Non "fluffy" peat... Empty Humidity, for Peat's sake

Post  markqz 11/29/2022, 10:47 pm

I don't know what everyone else does, but I count by volume after the material has been fluffed.

A quick glance at Auckland weather tells me that you've been having 80 to 95 percent humidity. Maybe the material had already wetted itself?

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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 11/29/2022, 11:10 pm

markqz wrote:I don't know what everyone else does, but I count by volume after the material has been fluffed.

A quick glance at Auckland weather tells me that you've been having 80 to 95 percent humidity. Maybe the material had already wetted itself?

Thanks, Mark, but what is fluffing??  Is it simply the crumbling up that I've been doing? (to produce what's in the photo)  This doesn't seem to be changing the volume at all, so I figure there's something else I should be doing.  Or, it's not nearly as compressed as the stuff Stateside.
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Post  markqz 11/30/2022, 12:04 am

KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: Or, it's not nearly as compressed as the stuff Stateside.
That's a distinct possibility. In the U.S., the peat is pretty solid. Kind of like a soft brick. It needs to be broken up in order to mix with the other materials. If your peat is sourced locally, they might not bother with the compression.
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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 11/30/2022, 12:15 am

markqz wrote:
KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: Or, it's not nearly as compressed as the stuff Stateside.
That's a distinct possibility. In the U.S., the peat is pretty solid. Kind of like a soft brick. It needs to be broken up in order to mix with the other materials. If your peat is sourced locally, they might not bother with the compression.
Hmmm, "soft brick" does sort of describe what I have here, but crumbling it is really easy.  I don't need any implements at all to get pieces off it.  What do you do to "fluff" it up?  Do you simply crumble it in your hands, or something more than that?  I'm really trying to understand what I need to do, esp since its state will determine whether I need more of it.  I cannot imagine that what I have will expand to 80-100% its current volume.
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Post  OhioGardener 11/30/2022, 7:20 am

KiwiSFGnewbie wrote:
markqz wrote:
KiwiSFGnewbie wrote: Or, it's not nearly as compressed as the stuff Stateside.
That's a distinct possibility. In the U.S., the peat is pretty solid. Kind of like a soft brick. It needs to be broken up in order to mix with the other materials. If your peat is sourced locally, they might not bother with the compression.
Hmmm, "soft brick" does sort of describe what I have here, but crumbling it is really easy.  I don't need any implements at all to get pieces off it.  What do you do to "fluff" it up?  Do you simply crumble it in your hands, or something more than that?  I'm really trying to understand what I need to do, esp since its state will determine whether I need more of it.  I cannot imagine that what I have will expand to 80-100% its current volume.

The bulk bags of peat that I buy from the local big box store is 85L (2 cu ft) in the bag, and it expands to 3 cu ft when it  is fluffed up.  So, it expands approximately 50%.

It is easy to fluff up.  As soon as the bag is opened and I start dumping the peat out onto a tarp, it started expanding.  A simple toss or two with a fork fully fluffs it.

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Post  sanderson 11/30/2022, 2:14 pm

Kiwi, The peat moss in the photo looks perfect. Hand crumbling should be all it takes to "fluff" it.

Measure while dry and fluffed. You can wet it when mixing batches of MM or wet the measured-dry material separately. Either way. I soak it in a cement mixing pan along with the measure of coarse vermiculite to prevent breathing flying particles of either. Then I add the measure of blended composts. The result is quite wet (more than moist) but MM drains so well that I just wait a day after dumping and leveling in the beds to plant.

Expansion of compressed peat moss varies by brand. Somewhere between 50% to 70%. My last bale was good quality and it only expanded about 50%. And, it was really easy to fluff.


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Post  KiwiSFGnewbie 11/30/2022, 4:37 pm

Awesome, thanks so much OG and sanderson, I feel confident I'm on the right track here Smile  And indeed Mark, the peat is locally sourced so perhaps that's why it's not fully compressed.  That bale of 100 litres (~3.5 cu ft) sure was heavy!  I could only just get it into the car.
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