(HIT) – What’s the key to a garden full of healthy plants? Garden experts say the secret is in the soil.
“Most homeowners don’t have great garden soil in their yards,” said Melinda Myers, author of more than 20 gardening books and host of Melinda’s Garden Moment, which airs on 125 TV and radio stations. “The soil in most suburban yards has been damaged during the construction process. Typically it was scraped away and sold, or it was compacted during building.”
Because gardening often involves dealing with poor soil, improving the soil structure and adding soil amendments before you plant will save a lot of time and hassle in the long run. Healthy plants require the right growing conditions and healthy, fertile soil.
“The best way to improve soil is to add amendments such as compost and peat moss,” said Myers. “Peat moss improves water drainage in clay soil, and peat moss helps lean, sandy soil retain water.”
Most of the peat moss used in the USA and Canada for horticultural purposes is Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss—a natural, organic soil amendment that helps loosen compacted soil. Peat moss naturally absorbs water, slowly releasing it to plants. In addition to helping to balance the soil’s water retention and drainage, peat moss also improves soil aeration that improves plant health.
According to Melinda Myers, investing in your soil is the key to successful gardening. In new gardens, she recommends adding 2-3 inches of organic matter to the top 12 inches of soil. “That’s the basic root zone of most plants,” said Myers. “Organic matter such as peat moss breaks down and improves the soil texture. Top dressing existing perennial gardens with peat moss or compost will also help build healthy soil.”
Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss is responsibly harvested, and the Canadian peat moss industry is recognized as an international leader in sustainable practices. Canada’s overall peatlands are estimated at 280.7 million acres, but only 0.02% of that area has ever been used for peat moss production. After harvesting, a peatlands site is restored by re-establishing the biodiversity and ecosystem processes so the peat can once again begin to accumulate.
For more tips on how to use peat moss in home gardening, visit the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association’s website at www.peatmoss.com.
Information about peatlands restoration certifications and policies is available at http://tourbehorticole.com/en/responsible-production/index.php.