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Video: How To Use Peat Correctly
Many gardeners use peat as organic fertilizer. By purchasing it, they immediately spread fertilizer over the beds, under bushes and trees, hoping for high yields next year. However, they will be disappointed: peat will not instantly increase soil fertility. Let us explain why now.
Peat consists mainly of dead plant remains, more or less decomposed. Of the nutrients, it contains only nitrogen in significant quantities (up to 20 kg or more per ton), but it is used very little by plants. As a rule, only 3-5 percent of nitrogen is absorbed, that is, 0.6-1 kg from a ton of peat. The availability of nitrogen and its amount in peat depends on the type of peat (its origin).
Peat is high-moor, low-lying and transitional. It also differs in acidity, content of minerals and plant residues, moisture capacity, degree of decomposition. Lowland peat is the richest in nitrogen, and high-moor peat is the poorest. And the availability of nitrogen in the latter type of peat is the lowest.
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Many freshly mined or poorly ventilated peats can contain a high content of substances toxic to plants. These compounds decompose quickly with good aeration, but the introduction of such peat into the soil immediately before sowing or planting can adversely affect the growth and productivity of plants.
The availability of nitrogen can be increased and accelerated by heating peat at a temperature of 60 ° C, which is what happens during composting. Therefore, take your time to fertilize the soil with the newly acquired peat. It is good to use it for composting with faeces, fresh manure, kitchen waste and plant debris. If the composting mixture dries out, it must be moistened. Peat-fecal compost can be used two years after laying, adding no more than 2-3 kg per 1 square meter to the soil for spring digging. m, since it contains an increased amount of nutrients.
Pure peat as a fertilizer is most effective on poor uncultivated sandy or clay soils with a low organic matter content. Practically without affecting the provision of soil with nutrients for plants, peat still increases the content of organic matter, improves the structure of the soil, it becomes warmer, friable, water and air permeable.
If the soil is well cultivated, contains 4-5 percent of humus, has a favorable mechanical composition for plants (medium and light loamy), then the introduction of peat gives little.
When is it better to apply peat and in what quantities?
Since this is a very stable material (it holds all the substances in it well), you can add it to the soil at any time, even in winter on snow (if the area is flat), and the more, the better. It is impossible to over-fertilize the soil with peat. However, one should take into account the high acidity of peat (pH 2.5-3.0, and for plant growth, acidity of pH 5.5-7.0 is required). To neutralize acidity, add 4-6 kg of lime or dolomite flour per 100 kg of peat.
The introduction of complex mineral fertilizers is also necessary (50-70 g per 1 sq. M). To increase the organic matter content by 1 percent, you need 12-15 kg of peat (2-3 buckets) per 1 sq. m. In its natural state, sod-podzolic soils usually contain 1.5-2 percent of organic matter. Therefore, in order to bring it to 4-5 percent, 40-50 kg of peat per 1 sq. m. In the future, to maintain a constant composition on average per year will require the introduction of only 0.2-0.3 kg per 1 sq. m. m.
On all soils, especially heavy and crumbling, where a dense crust forms after rains, peat gives good results as a mulch.
In combination with humus and sod land, peat is an excellent component of soils for greenhouses (in a ratio of 1: 1: 1 or 1: 1: 2 or 1: 1: 3). Recipes for such mixtures can be found in specialist literature.