Peat is a mineral, sedimentary loose rock, a type of fossil fuel, formed during the decay of plants in a swampy area. Peat outwardly resembles a loose, earthy mass, gray, yellow, brown, brown, brown-black or black. The botanical composition of peat contains the remains of wood, bark and roots of trees and shrubs, various parts of herbaceous plants, as well as hypnum and sphagnum mosses. Peat is a renewable mineral and a renewable source of energy.
This substance- is the result of thousands of years of work of microorganisms containing valuable humic acids and mineral components.
In nature, there are three types of deposits that differ in their qualities:
– upper peat;
– low-lying peat
The upper peat is red. It is a porous long-fiber substance that decomposes for a long time in ordinary soil. The upper peat is also called sphagnum, because sphagnum moss prevails in its composition. Its distinctive features are a strongly acidic reaction of the medium (pH 2.6-3.2), a low degree of decomposition, and a low content of mineral elements. The upper peat is a durable and effective filter. It can be an excellent basis for greenhouse soil.
This is a very acidic substrate, certain types of crops can grow on it, so most often it is mixed with soil to give it friability.
Transitional peat is similar to low-lying peat: it has a medium- and weakly acid reaction (pH 3.2-4.6), it contains a lot of nutrients and microelements. Only organic substances decompose in it less actively.
Low-lying peat as a fertilizer is a more valuable substance. It differs in color – darker, almost black. The degree of decomposition of organics is much higher. The most versatile and most popular is low-lying peat. It is used both in pure form and in the form of various soil mixtures.
It has a slightly acidic or close to neutral reaction (pH 5.5-7.0), it contains a lot of organic matter (about 70%) and enough basic nutrients.
Low-lying peat is used to improve a wide variety of soils – from sand to heavy loam and clay. It saturates the mineral part of the soil with organic matter and nutrients, helps to improve the physical properties of soils (binds sands and loosens clay), does not acidify the reaction of soil solution, etc.
Useful properties include:
– in hygroscopicity – lowland deposits absorb water well and give it poorly;
– a large number of useful mineral components, especially calcium;
– the presence of humates of natural origin.
The last point is especially important, because humic acids are a real storehouse of useful substances. Thanks to them, plants synthesize vitamins and other beneficial components. The nutritional value of vegetables and fruits grown on humates cannot be compared with “mineral” products. The cost of such vegetables is almost three times higher than usual.
Peat in terms of nutrient ratio is almost identical to manure, but more prepared for introduction into the soil. The fact is that in order to prepare animal organics, it takes time for the excess ammonia and methane to weather. In the case of peat, this happens faster – just dry it.
Depending on the type of soil, its condition, determine the amount of peat to be applied. The minimum is a layer of 0.5 cm, the maximum 30 – 40 kg per square meter. Then the soil is dug up for mixing, it can be watered to speed up decomposition.
Peat is good for plants. It contributes to their better development, preventing the accumulation of heavy metals in them, reduces the content of nitrates in the grown products.
On peaty soil, you can successfully grow berry crops, plant traditional crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and many others, which will give a large crop, as well as grow ornamental plants.
The use of peat on the site allows you to get a cheaper crop, while not ruining the soil with mineral fertilizers.
Peat is needed as a litter for animals , because it can absorb moisture and odors well. It also has bactericidal properties, which helps protect livestock from disease.
Peat baths are very beneficial for human health.
Peat is useful for enriching the land. Due to the fibrous porous structure significantly improves the physiological properties of soils of different composition. The soil, well fertilized with peat, becomes water-and air-permeable, “breathes” easily and freely, and the root system of plants feels more than comfortable in it.
The greatest positive effect when using peat on the site is achieved on sandy or clay soils. When applied to light soil, the substance decomposes for a long time, but retains moisture. Thanks to this, crops can be watered less often.
Clay becomes looser when mixed with peat. The combination of clay and peat is one of the most successful, since a large amount of potassium in the loams compensates for its absence in peat deposits.
The nutrient medium created by peat is the best suited for arranging an elegant lawn. Grass, flowers, trees and shrubs grown on the ground with peat composition will live for many years, delighting their owners and guests with their appearance.