Peat is an organic compound that is created in the humid areas of the planet, such as lakes and marshes. Plants, fish and dying insects settle on the bottom, where in the absence of oxygen they cannot completely decompose. This creates a particular substance, which is widely used in the production of soil for gardening and agriculture, but also for other purposes. There are different types of peat, as the deposits tend to change their chemical composition over the years. Peat is therefore not a single product: there are different types, very different from each other. In areas where peat is naturally produced, it has been calculated that deposits increase by about one millimeter a year; since there are areas with peat layers of several meters, it is clear that you can find peat that are several hundred years old, or even thousands.
The types of peat
Peat differs with a classification based on its color. In natural deposits, in fact, it is easy to highlight the white peat, with its very light color, the darkest peat, the one found at greater depth. The passing of the centuries tends to strongly modify the composition of peat, both from a chemical point of view and from a physical point of view. In fact, you can find peats with a very low pH, which contain minimal amounts of mineral salts, as well as some peats with a higher pH, rich in nutrients for plants. Among the most appreciated peats there is certainly the so-called sphagnum peat, produced by the decomposition of the sphagnum, in fact, which is a species of moss present in the wetlands of the whole planet. The different types of peat present in a soil are indicated on the packaging by an H, followed by a number: the higher this figure is, the greater the age of the compound.
How to use peat in molds
One of the main uses of peat in gardening is the preparation of soils. Many people believe that the cultivated soils are made almost exclusively of peat, while in reality they generally constitute about half of the material present in the classic universal soil. There are many blends available on the market, and they exploit the different characteristics of the types of peat present on the planet. For example you can find particularly acidic peats rich in mineral salts, suitable for acidophilic plants. Neutral blond peats are also used in nurseries, which are mixed with the soil of the gardens to make it more permeable and draining. In fact, peat can increase the soil's ability to absorb water, can make it softer and more draining, it can add a certain degree of fibrosity to an excessively inconsistent soil.
La Torba: Other uses of peat
Peat is a precious material, exploited by man for many centuries. Today the main use is definitely gardening, as this material allows to greatly improve the growing soils of many different plants. Peat can be used to produce both rich soils for plants that require large amounts of mineral salts, and the cultivation ground for carnivorous plants, practically devoid of any dissolved salt. In addition to this use, peat has been used for centuries as a low-cost fuel; in practice, in the areas where this material is abundant, small blocks were cut that were dried in the sun. During the cold months these cakes were used to feed stoves and fires, for domestic heating. These fires are still produced to smoke some foods, such as salmon, or even in the Scottish whiskey production industry: peat is used to dry the malted barley that enters the production of the precious amber liquid, to which it gives a particular aroma, called peat.