First, let’s understand where Peat Moss comes from and why we should find the Best Alternative to Peat Moss.
Peat Moss comes from Peatbogs that grow in Canada and the UK, the U.S. gets its Peat mainly from Canada where it grows and is harvested.
It takes thousands of years to regenerate naturally so it is not a renewable resource. Peat is a moss that is submerged in wet conditions known as bogs where over thousands of years the plant material decays creating these bogs.
To harvest peat the bogs must be drained of all the water to allow the peat to be collected which destroys the bog from growing back to be regenerated.
To be fair our usage of Peat is very small when compared to its growth so we are not depleting Peat at the current rates the world is using it.
In the past, Peat was used for heating in the UK and other parts of the world and was depleting the bogs to the point of no return. Many countries have reduced or even banned harvesting to stop the decline of the bogs.
In Canada, the harvesting of Peat is much less, and with current usage, the bogs are not impacted as much as they were in the UK.
The question becomes are there other alternatives that can be used in place of Peat that is renewable, sustainable, and can deliver the same or better results for use in the garden?
Best Alternative to Peat Moss
This is made from unripened coconuts using the outer husk of the coconut fibers to make this renewable resource as a replacement for Peat Moss.
Since it is a natural product that can be harvested and grown back rather quickly it is a great substitute for Peat Moss.
To use Cocoa Coir for planting directly in the garden you need to soak the coco coir and then mix in the soil using 1 part coir and 3 parts compost or garden soil.
If you are potting plants with it or using it to start seedlings you need to soak it in water, and mix it with compost or you can use it alone to plant seedlings.
This is another great substitute for Peat Moss, it is loaded with beneficial microbes and you can actually make this at home using your food and garden wastes keeping it out of the dump.
Black Gold is one of my favorite packaged compost materials to use, there are several varieties from starting seedlings to mixing into your garden soil to add rich nutrients that will benefit your plants.
Compost Making Process
One of the best ways to replace using Peat Moss is to make your own natural compost using one of the new bins. This allows you to use all-natural products to know it is organic and takes your waste to make a useful product for your potted plants, seedlings, and garden. Food waste can be added as well.
Recipe for Compost
Green, Bown, Water, Air-Mix and allow to decompose and make compost.
To make your own compost all you need is green materials such as leaves, grass clippings, flower tops, trimming from pruning your plants, coffee grounds, and paper without color or other additives. Next add small branches, wood chips, egg shells, brown leaves, or straw.
Add an activator to help the decomposition process such as dog food, alfalfa meal, bone meal, and blood meal.
To mix the product you need to turn it every 7-10 days, your ideal temperature of the material is 140 degrees to allow the compost to break down.
To know your compost is ready for use the compost should be dark brown and not produce any heat. Once it is ready you can mix it into the soil for planting.
You may need to add water to give you the correct blend for compost it should hold together when pressed in your hand.
What not to put in your compost bins
Human waste, Evergreen clippings, bones, meat, pet waste, anything sprayed with pesticides, any poisonous plants, and large branches or processed wood.
By using these bins that are sealed with handles for turning the compost you can keep pests from getting into them and also eliminates the smell that can be produced from the compost. It makes the job much easier to mix the compost by having a bin that can spin mixing the compost.
This is also a way to save a huge amount of money after your initial investment in a composting bin.
Best Bins for Composting
To keep animals and pests from getting in your compost bins, eliminate odors from the compost, and for ease of use here are the bins I would recomm
Final Thoughts for Best Alternative to Peat Moss
Since there are many alternatives to using Peat Moss I would recommend using one of these other materials to pot plants, start seedlings or mix in your garden beds for planting.
For those that want to make your own, I applaud you to take the steps to help our environment and produce compost that is all-natural and organic.