growing tomatoes in peat - Knowledgebase Question

Little Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Question by murals4
June 26, 2006
Can I grow tomatoes in a big pot using only sphagnum peat moss? I have 2 cubic compacted feet left over, and I don't have anywhere to get garden soil. Besides, my husband would kill me if I dug up any more of his sod!


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Answer from NGA
June 26, 2006

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Unfortunately I don't think this would work at all as peat moss has no nutrient value. You also would not want to use garden soil for this, as it usually does not drain well enough in a container situation.

Instead, you should use a commercial potting mix formulated for container plants. While these are sometimes based on milled sphagnum peat moss and/or bark products, they also include material to enhance drainage such as perlite or sand, wetting agents to help re-wet any peat moss that dries out, and may also contain fertilizer and a water holding polymer to help keep the soil moister between waterings. They are also usually pH adjusted.

The peat moss can be stored to use next time you plant in the garden. It can be used as a source of organic matter, a soil amendment to help loosen clay soil or it will help sandy soil hold moisture better. But used alone it is not adequate to grow plants.

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