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Synthesizing peat?

curtisconners

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Good morning, people of terraforums.

I have a theory that I will most likely test soon, but I would like to discuss it here first. This March, when I repotted my deathbox vft's, I found that the long fiber sphagnum that they were originally planted in had decayed to the point of looking like peat. The only part of the moss that had not decayed were the little round growth tips. They had been in there for about a year. Do you believe that it would be possible to create a sort of "synthetic peat" by keeping moist lfs in a container for an extended amount of time and allowing it to break down? If I recall correctly, that's how peat is formed naturally. Any advice, theoretical or otherwise, is greatly appreciated.
 
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I wouldn't call it synthetic - that implies that you are creating it with non-natural materials. I really doubt that making peat at home is a feasible process though. In nature it is an extremely slow process and likely relies on the specific natural conditions in peat bogs that would be very difficult to replicate at home. If you tried it yourself I suspect you'd more likely end up with a pile of moldy LFS.
 
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I suppose you could get moist LFS to break down over time, but I doubt it would look like peat, which has thousands of years to degrade while exposed to the elements, in nature. I wouldn't call it "synthetic" tho, since it's still made from sphagnum. That said, even if you were able to in a reasonable amount of time, why would you want to turn LFS into peat? It seems like you'd just be wasting money and time, and you wouldn't really be helping conserve natural peat, either, because the LFS used could've turned to peat in nature.
 
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LFS is supposed to be sustainably harvested, at least the stuff from New Zealand. It's pretty easily farmed so I wouldn't worry about impacting natural peat formation by using it. Still, it's likely a futile effort to attempt to do this yourself though I'd love to be able to.
 

Zath

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When peat is so cheap in bales, one wonders why you'd even consider going to the trouble to make inferior, insignificant batches. Sphagnum requires more exacting conditions than "kept moist in a box" to turn into peat. You'd be better off composting it and using the product for non-cp plants.

If you want to help the peat conservation effort, look into companies / products like Organix RePeet or sustainable alternatives like coir.
 
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LFS is supposed to be sustainably harvested, at least the stuff from New Zealand. It's pretty easily farmed so I wouldn't worry about impacting natural peat formation by using it. Still, it's likely a futile effort to attempt to do this yourself though I'd love to be able to.

Sustainable because the sphagnum will repopulate but the removed moss isn't there to make peat. it's a sort of "you can't have your cake and eat it".
 

curtisconners

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It's just an experiment to satisfy my own curiosity. I really just want to see if I can replicate what happened in the death box vft's. I have no intentions of making money or doing this on a large scale. The odds are that this will fail, but I thought that some people on here would be interested.
 
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If the VFT looks like it has peat in it, it's probably just peat, or peat mixed with LFS. It would take far too long for LFS to decay to that point to be able to occur in a death cube.
 

curtisconners

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The vft wasn't being kept in a death cube. I took the specimen out of the death cube the day I obtained it. It grew outside for the entire season and still resides in my backyard. Maybe it was just a mixture of peat and lfs, but it didn't look like it.
 

Zath

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Could've just been that the lfs was getting kinda "grody". I've unpotted store-bought plants that I kept in the original pots after being left outside for a year, and the lfs was nearly black.
 
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If you never repotted the plants from the soil in the original "deathbox" then what was underneath was just peat moss; they only pot them with a little bit of sphagnum on top to make it look nicer. Everything else underneath is straight peat anyway.
And, theoretically you could end up with peat if you let sphagnum grow in a large enough tub for a long enough time, but this would require a very large tub, a lot of sphagnum and at minimum a few decades with the bottom turning anaerobic in order to produce something similar to wild peat moss.
 
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