TURBA: what is it, types and how to use it - Gardening guide

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Peat is one of the most used materials as a substrate in both gardening and agriculture. We have all heard of this type of soil so widely used on most occasions, but fewer people know it in depth and know where it comes from and what its properties are.

Do you want to know more about peat for plants and how it is used? Join us in this practical Green Ecologist article in which you will see a gardening guide on what is peat for plants, its types and how to use it.

What is peat for plants

We use the word peat to refer, in a generic way, to a whole range of materials whose origin is in the partial decomposition of vegetables and whose specific characteristics depend on the exact circumstances of its formation.

For an area to be considered a peatbog, that is to say, a place from which to extract peat, it is necessary to fulfill two basic conditions: little oxygenation and an excess of humidity. When organic matter accumulates under these circumstances, at a rate greater than that microorganisms can degrade it, it cannot be fully decomposed and consequently accumulates in what is called a peat bog. These bogs, however, produce the peat very slowly and it is estimated that organic matter only accumulates at about 10 cm per 100 years in them.

Mobs are one of the most commonly used plant substrates and is that, despite being very poor in nutrients such as nitrogen, their properties are ideal for the development and growth of the vast majority of plant species.

Types of peat for plants

There are two big types of mobs according to its origin and characteristics:

Black peat

The black peat has its origin in low-lying areas, with a high content of bases, so its pH is much higher, normally between 7.5 and 8. They are peat in which the organic matter is quite decomposed, so they are very poor in nutrients, but they are also ideal for the development of all types of plants if they are provided with the necessary nutrients.

Blond peat

The blond or white peat, also called peat moss or tall peat, is formed in areas of mild temperatures with a high rate of precipitation. The large amount of rain carries out an intense wash of calcium and other minerals from the material, leaving a high content of spagnol, a substance present in mosses that no known microorganism can decompose.

In reality, it is not peat as such, but a plant mantle that is thousands of years old that forms on top of black peat. Its pH is much more acidic, between 3 and 4.

What plants need peat

Practically all the plants can benefit from a peat-based substrate, although depending on your specific needs we will use black or blonde peat or a mixture of both, the latter being the most common option.

Horticultural plants, flowering plants and trees appreciate the use of black peat, as long as more nutrients are provided in the form of compost.

Acidophilic plants, that is, those that need acid soils for their correct development, will find in the blond peat its best ally, since it adapts the pH of the soil to its needs in addition to providing a substrate with high moisture retention. Acidophilic plants will also need an extra supply of nutrients, except in cases such as carnivorous plants or cacti, which need soils poor in organic matter. When we use peat moss to acidify the soil, it is usual to mix it 50% or 40% with black peat.

How to use peat for plants

If what you want to know is how to use peat When it comes to applying it in your garden, pots or orchard, it will depend on the exact environment in which you are going to plant.

  • To know how to make peat for seedlings, it is best to take black peat and mix it in equal parts with coconut fiber and worm humus, which make the substrate lighter and with even better moisture retention properties. You can add vermiculite and perlite to the mix to further enhance its properties.
  • If it's about how to make a good potting soilYou can imitate the seedbed formula if the pots are going to be in the sun, or simply use peat moss and worm castings if they are going to be located indoors, since they will not suffer severe heatstroke that can over-dry the substrate. Again, perlite and vermiculite are always a contribution that the earth will appreciate.

Remember that, even if you use earthworm humus in your substrate, the plants will deplete the nutrients in the soil sooner or later, so it is important to renew the supply of organic matter and transplant the plants whenever necessary.

If you want to read more articles similar to Peat: what is it, types and how to use it, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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