The Q&A Archives: Mulching with peat moss

Question: A friend of mine told me that I could safely mulch my garden with peat moss and then just till it in at the end of the year. Is this true or will it make my soil like a squishey mess? I have sandy soil in the garden and plan to add 2 bales of peat each year and till in.

Answer: Peat moss is one of those organic materials with attributes that make it more useful for certain purposes than others. It's a good idea to mulch your garden; mulch helps soil retain moisture, and helps suppress weeds. At the end of the season organic mulch can be tilled into the soil to improve soil texture and structure. Peat moss tends to be acidic, so if your soil tests high, peat can help lower the pH. Peat moss, because of its structure, can be a problem if it's allowed to dry out completely. Peat will shed water until it's thoroughly wet, so if you use it on top of the soil where it can dry out, you may have a real problem getting it wet again. A better choice for mulch would be compost or leaf mold. If you've already acquired the peat, you can till it into the soil and it will improve your sandy bed. But if you're still shopping around, purchase compost or leaf mold instead.

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