My soil seems to be a little hard. It's not clay or sand but something in between. Should I add peat moss to it? I've read that the moss will make the soil more loose for better drainage and root growth. Also,for the last two years my carrots have come out stumpy. They taste good but look real funny. Do you think the peat moss will help that?
Some say "yes" and some say "no."
The negatives of peat would be that it doesn't add anything in the way of nutrients, plus some say it can lower the PH. For this I have used it sparingly.
In situations like yours, I have used it in combination with compost and had good results.
Now my neighbor, on the other hand, uses it religiously in here vegetable garden and last year her tomatoes kicked my tomatoes butts.
My final word is that it won't hurt, but I think you will be happier adding compost or a mixture of humus.
I would definitely look into amending your soil, but I would also suggest adding compost instead of peat moss. The other issue with peat moss is that it is very hard to wet--many potting mixes for containers have a lot of peat and that's why once you let them dry out completely you can have a really hard time getting the soil re-wetted all the way through. Too much peat mixed in your garden bed could cause a similar problem. Also peat is also not a very renewable resource whereas compost is, so if you worry about things like that compost would be a "greener" choice as well.
I started out with very poor clay "soil" in my garden spot. Each year we till in lots of leaves and I add Black Kow manure to the planting holes of things like tomatoes, cukes, etc. I also mulch with wheat straw which is tilled in at the end of summer. It's made a huge difference in the soil which now looks so much better and grows a much better garden. At first when we tilled the garden there were huge unmanageable clumps of clay but now it's soft and MUCH easier to work with. Another thing you can do is plant clover (I use red clover) in the fall, let it grow and then till it in before it has a chance to go to seed--it's great green manure.
I was looking at adding it to my garden soil. Tilling it in of course. pH level is around 7.5 and need about a 6 for what my wife plants. (tomatos, corn, cucumbers, Zukini, pumpkins, green beans, halapeanio bell & bannana peppers, carrots)
It would take so much peat to change that alkalinity! and moisture control is absolute with peat. Your compost - I realize Utah soil is a lot of hard sand (always wondered why it wasn't pure salt to be honest) many many plants can be used to make your compost and this can also contribute to your ph... have you looked into a raised bed or lasagna style area? After all, peat was once upon a time the same plants that make up compost, more so than just leaves, but small shredded pieces of wood, adjusted by fertilizers to allow the nitrogen into the soil that wood uses...carrots- you need loam for pretty carrots and they take forever to grow! try straw bale gardening for carrots up there-you can always then turn the straw bales into the garden soil I believe. Careful that the straw is safe for gardening or it could have growth restrictors in the form of previous spraying for pest and weed control...Adding peat isn't an instant answer either, it can take several years to accomplish the ph change...