Mixing in Peat Moss

Dallas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi Everyone -

We are prepping several beds for acid loving plants and/or plants that need good drainage. We've purchased peat moss and sandy loam and I need to know what ratio you would blend the two together.

The peat moss is far less expensive than the soil so I'm hoping I can push for a high ration of peat moss.

Tracey

CREZIERES, France(Zone 8a)

I'd say you would be safe with 2:1 in favour of peat, but I would also add in some grit as that will give better drainage than sand.

You should be able to ascertain that the grit hasn't significant amounts of lime in it...

Good luck...

Mike :o)

Dallas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks cinemike!

Tracey :)

McKinney, TX(Zone 8a)

Tracey,

Make sure to add back in a little bit of your own soil to introduce microorganisms, if you are completely backfilling. Also, I might trade out about half of that peat for shredded hardwood bark mulch or shredded pine bark mulch. It is much easier to water and it is what many experts are now recommending instead of peat for planting Azalea, Dogwood, and Camellia's in our Texas clay. When I recently planted a Camellia I used half cotton burr compost and half shredded hardwood mulch, with some sulfur and epsom salts. It is really thriving. It is doing much better than the Camellia I previously planted with store bought garden soil and peat at our old house.

CREZIERES, France(Zone 8a)

Also, think of doing what Terry recommended in the thread about soil in flowerbeds (http://davesgarden.com/t/429575/)...
Just fill the planting holes with the 'improved' soil (make them really big, of course for large shrubs)...
Mike

Dallas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi sweezel:

The soil we purchased is part sandly loam, part mulch and part compost, but I'm not sure how much of each. It has good sized mulch in it for drainage. I know very little about soil but this is supposed to be blended for acid loving plants like Azaleas and Camellias.

I didn't think about needing to add some of the original soil back for microorganisms and that's seems like a good idea (hopefully more of my worms will be put back as well). Also, what does the Epson salt do? I usually add aluminum sulfate to my beds for my gardenias and hydranges (to keep them blue). I've seen people mentioning Epson salt but I'm not sure if I need it. Where are you getting the cotton burr compost?

Cinimike: That's an excellent link to Terry's post and I'm definitely adding it to my watched list.

I really appreciate everyones help on this. For me, maintaining good soil is one of the most difficult and challenging parts of gardening and landscape.

Tracey

McKinney, TX(Zone 8a)

Epsom Salts is Magnesium Sulfate. It is around 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur. You use it mostly for the Magnesium and the Sulfur is a bonus in this case. From a website: "Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants' uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur."

As far as Cotton Boll Compost, I know North Haven Garden's and Rohde's Nursery carry bags of it. Calloway's carries it, but they charge a couple dollars more a bag. I bought the "Acidified" for my Camellia and I buy the regular for other beds. The companies that produce it are Back to Nature and Back to Earth and they might be able to tell you how to get it in bulk, if you needed it.

Dallas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank you sweezel, this is alot of helpful information. I don't know why I tend to pick acid loving plants...maybe they make the best flowers are something.

Tracey

McKinney, TX(Zone 8a)

I try to stay away from them. Too much trouble for me. :) And I don't mind pink blooms on my hydrangea.

I had to have the espeliered camellia though. I do have a tiger lily that I got at a swap that needs to be planted though. I just have not gotten a chance to amend an area for it yet. That is why I stick with stuff that likes my alkaline soil. The stuff that needs acid soil just sits around because I am too darn busy to prepare a bed for it.

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