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Reusing Peat/Sphagnum (a non-renewable resource)

Joined
Dec 28, 2007
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I have heard that people have methods of reuisng peat moss and sphagnum so I would like this thread to be dedicated to people's methods of reusing this valuable non-renewable resource (there might be a post like this already, but I couldn't find it).

I have a few questions I'd like addressed as well:

1. pH- carnivorous plants like acidic soil and after using the peat mix for a long time, the medium loses its acidity.
How does the reusing process help the peat/sphag regain its acidity?

2. Reusing milled ground sphagnum peat moss (looks like fluffy dirt)
Does anyone have any methods they use? This seems like it would be harder to reuse.

Thank you all for your input.
 
Joined
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I reuse it by dumping dry peat into a big bucket, then pour in water and my other ingredients and stir w/ a broom handle.

Your first question....That's never been a problem for me. If you want it more acidic, adjust it with something.

I don't use sphag or any of its derivatives almost at all. I have some as a topdressing on about 2 pots, and I think one thing I have is potted in sphag because it came like that.

Oh, and peat is renewable if harvested properly. So is sphagnum moss...it's a living thing and can be regrown.
 

Not a Number

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I reuse it by dumping dry peat into a big bucket, then pour in water and my other ingredients and stir w/ a broom handle.

Your first question....That's never been a problem for me. If you want it more acidic, adjust it with something.

I don't use sphag or any of its derivatives almost at all. I have some as a topdressing on about 2 pots, and I think one thing I have is potted in sphag because it came like that.

Oh, and peat is renewable if harvested properly. So is sphagnum moss...it's a living thing and can be regrown.

Peat moss (partially decomposed Sphagnum moss) is considered non-renewable because it takes many decades if not hundreds of years in the proper conditions to decompose.

Live Sphagnum on the average grows 10 cm during the summer. The fastest growing species 40 cm and the slowest about 4 cm.

LFS is just dried (formerly) live Sphagnum moss. I usually toss this out or mix it into the garden. It won't break decompose into peat moss without the proper anaerobic conditions.

When peat moss starts to break down and decompose fully it starts releasing the nutrients held in it, making it useless for CPs. Best to mix stuff that is breaking down into the garden or non-CPs.

Live Sphagnum, just reuse - or throw bits of it in a tub and grow it and re-plant your temperate CPs in pure live Sphagnum. It will renew itself if you keep it wet enough. Most temperate CPs are growing in live Sphagnum (sandy or not) to begin with.
 

nepenthes gracilis

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Define reusing and reusing what type of peat moss? I mean already been planted in or what?

If i reuse peat, I make sure:

Its not decomposed to the point that its natural aggregates are not disintegrated and the structure is destroyed completely.

And that I pasteurize it by steam or microwave heat.
 
Joined
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Yes, by reusing I mean, the carnivorous plant has been sitting in it for around 6 months to a year and the acidity of the soil drops, so you have to transplant it.
I was asking what people do to reuse the old peat the cp had previously been in.
You interepreted my question correctly. Sorry for any confusion
 
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6 months is a bit soon, isn't it?

The stuff that I do not use again (often the moss that a CP comes in if I get it at a local nursery or Lowes) is steadily filling in some low points in my yard.
 
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that's a GREAT idea about filling a designated area in your yard with the discarded sphagnum. I've always wanted to have some cp's planted outside, so I'll have to try digging out a small area in my yard, lining it w/ plastic, and then throwing in the old peat/sphag.

i tend to use really small pots, so i've heard if you have a larger volume of peat/sphag, you will have to worry about changing the soil less often. I am planning to grow my droseras in larger pots this next summer to avoid having to change it that often- i may be overdoing it as well.
 

nepenthes gracilis

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Peat doesn't really loose its acidity too quickly unless you leach your pots an awful lot. Thats why nursery's use peat as an amendment buffer for certain woody plants like Hydrangea. Peat wants to be acidic so it will be and like in our college, our water is limey, we have to use peat as a buffering agent and it works great for a good 2-3 years like phission said. The only real reason to transplant from peat based mixes in CP culture is to restore porosity to the soil and of course to renew the media if its degenerated over time.
 
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Yes, by reusing I mean, the carnivorous plant has been sitting in it for around 6 months to a year and the acidity of the soil drops, so you have to transplant it.

You need a pH probe to determine the acidity of the mix; this information can't be deduced by how long mix has been used. "Acidity" of the mix shouldn't be a concern if you are using peat-based mixes; you should be worried more about compaction of the mix over time.

As a rule of thumb, I usually don't reuse my mix because there was probably a reason why I took the plant out of it! If you reuse it, be sure it's free of pests and that it retains the qualities of a good mix.
 
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In place of peat, I use ground coconut coir (a renewable resource) for growing sundews. I'm sure it could be used for a variety of other carnivorous plants too.

There was a worry about salts in ground coconut coir, but I think that is a problem of the past. The stuff they make for starting seeds and for amphibian use, can't be high on salts or they wouldn't survive.
 
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