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Question about peat moss

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Question about peat moss

Post  momvet on 2/17/2015, 12:56 pm

Everything's ready and I am about to mix my Mel's Mix. I am a little confused about the peat moss, because I read on the MM Sticky that it should be watered before adding to the mix (something about it repelling water initially?) but also a discussion because it is supposed to be measured by dry volume. I know I read this discussion on this forum but my search hasn't found it. It's not windy today - so measure dry by volume and thoroughly wet the entire mixture as I add it? TIA

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  yolos on 2/17/2015, 1:02 pm

That is the way I do it.  I measure it dry.  Dump it in a wheel barrow or tub, then start adding water until it thoroughly absorbs the water.  Then mix it with the other ingredients.  Many gardeners measure it dry, then mix it in with the other MM ingredients and then thoroughly soak it all.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/17/2015, 2:00 pm

Same here!

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  CWJones on 2/17/2015, 3:39 pm

I mix it all dry, then water as I fill the bed.  That way the whole mix is lighter, more easily mixed and much easier to shovel into the bed.  Just water and stir as you fill.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  llama momma on 2/17/2015, 3:53 pm

It is compressed so you want to fluff it up first. Then measure it out. It does take some mixing to moisten it all up so be patient.  Or you can use warm water and it will absorb quicker.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  sanderson on 2/17/2015, 6:33 pm

@llama momma wrote:It is compressed so you want to fluff it up first. Then measure it out.


Fluff first, then measure!

This is how I do it to keep both the peat moss fibers and vermiculite dust to a minimum. It also is also an easy way to soak the vermiculite and peat moss. I use a cement mixing tub. A measure of vermiculite covered with a measure of fluffed peat moss. Add lots of water and slowly mix till you have a wet mass. Then add a measure of mixed compost and mix well, and the MM should be nice and moist. Dump into flower bed and repeat.

Because of my back, I set the cement mixing tub on the picnic table to work, and dump the moist MM into a rolling 33-gallon garbage bin. Leverage the bin over the edge of the box and dump.

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Peat Moss?

Post  CNida89 on 2/14/2016, 1:12 pm

So I am preparing to make my Mel's Mix for my 4x8 beds.

I have calculated that I will need roughly 10.6666 cubic feet of each item for the mix, but I had read somewhere that peat moss actually doubles in volume when it is wet.

Is that true? I know it will get much heavier but will it really double in size? If so, should I just cut it half and use only about 6 cubic feet for both beds?

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  Kelejan on 2/14/2016, 1:28 pm

One has to FLUFF it up to make it increase in size as it in compressed while in the bale.. Then measure it as does not quite double in size but certainly it does increase a lot.

Mix it with your vermiculite and compost, one third each in volume, then wet it when all is thoroughly mixed.

Do you have MEL's book? That will tell you how to do it.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  CNida89 on 2/15/2016, 1:07 am

I do have the book! I've just been reading it page by page to absorb the information, haven't gotten to the part about Mel's Mix.

I will skip ahead to that part and read it. Thank you.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/15/2016, 8:06 am

And there's SO much there to absorb....! I learn every time I read thru it!

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  Zmoore on 2/15/2016, 10:39 am

My 2 cents.
I agree with your computation of 10.6666 c.f. (you must be an engineer to take units out to the 10-thousandths Smile)  Assuming that's for 2 4x8 beds 6" deep.

As mentioned fluff peat moss first, which is frustrating to me because the amount is marked on the bag, what is the volume fluffed and why can't they sell in bale sizes that are already the size I need and "fluff volume" given.

Anyway, not really that bad.  You'll need a separate area or tarp to "unload" you peat moss to, fluff it with a rake.  MY choice of tool for remeasuring the fluff volume is a standard 5 gal. bucket.  A 5 gal. bucket if .67 c.f., so for 10.6666 c.f. you need about 16- 5 gallon buckets of "fluffed" peat moss.

I use a tarp to dump my "ingredients" on, mixing as I add ingredients and just lightly watering during the mixing process to keep dust down.  I only do that to keep weight down for the next step, which is after I have it all mixed (generally) dry on the tarp., I drag it over to a box, start raking some material from the tarp into the box and roughly spread out, stop after I have a couple inch layer, thoroughly soak inside box, repeat until I have all the material in the box.  

IMO, watering before or after putting in the box will work.  Heck, you can even mix directly in the box, there's pros and cons to each situation.  For me I like to mix outside the box because I like to use a yard rake to mix and I don't want to "snag" my weed cloth in the bottom as I'm mixing.  Mixing on a tarp works well for me.  I wet as I put it in the box because water is heavy and it makes maneuvering the tarp after it's all mixed easier.  Of course I could just mix right next to the box and scoop it in afterwards and not have to drag the tarp, that'll work, I just like to mix my stuff near my garage where I have all the supplies and not have to haul the supplies out to the boxes.  It's kind of the same, but that's what works for me, work either way.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  camprn on 2/15/2016, 11:43 am

Sphagnum peat will almost double in volume after loosening and wetting. It will keep if you don't use it all this year. Just get a close-ish figure for purchasing purposes, then use a small scoop to measure when you make the mix in small batches at a time (painters bucket or 5 gal bucket). If you buy too little, you can always buy more components or just the compost. If you but too much, well Mel's mix settles pretty quickly and you can use the extra to top off the boxes.

It's really not worth over thinking how much, because it is starter mix it's more important to find the quality composts that go in. And because then you have to figure your seed, and space, and water, and weather and.. so on. Wink

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/15/2016, 2:07 pm

I'm one of Mel's assistants.

He says to fluff it and measure it dry and make the Mel's Mix. As you are adding the finished Mel's Mix to the raised bed, you will fill it 2" and water very well, 2 more inches of MM and water well then the final 2" of MM and . . . water well.

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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/15/2016, 2:29 pm

@sfg4uKim wrote: As you are adding the finished Mel's Mix to the raised bed, you will fill it 2" and water very well, 2 more inches of MM and water well then the final 2" of MM and . . . water well.

HA...learn something new every day.  I've been spritzing on the tarp to keep the dust down.  Dang thing gets so heavy that way.
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Re: Question about peat moss

Post  sfg4uKim on 2/15/2016, 3:52 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@sfg4uKim wrote: As you are adding the finished Mel's Mix to the raised bed, you will fill it 2" and water very well, 2 more inches of MM and water well then the final 2" of MM and . . . water well.

HA...learn something new every day.  I've been spritzing on the tarp to keep the dust down.  Dang thing gets so heavy that way.
Rolling Eyes
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Because both vermiculite and peat are dusty Mel suggests using a particle mask or a fine mist to keep the dust down.

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