Beats Peat - Peat Moss Alternative / and how much $ to fill bed?

khristleFebruary 14, 2009

With all the controversy about peat moss I'm thinking about using a product called Beats Peat which is recommended by people at my local nursery. It comes in this little tiny square, then you add 10 gallons of water and it expands to 3 cu feet. I am a real stickler for following the "rules" and am nervous about making this substitution. Has anyone used this? Or know if Mel has commented about using this? I have searched his website to no avail!

One other thing...I'm going to have three 4X4 beds...reading the SFG book, I think it looks like this might be enough to fill the beds:

vermiculite 3.5 cu feet $24.49

peat moss 3.8 cu feet $11.49 (or 1 brick of Beats Peat for $15)

3 cu feet $8.99 Garden Bloom Compost soil building (and hopefully supplemented by homemade compost by spring planting. ( Garden Bloom compost was recommended by Mel's associate instead of using 5 mixes of compost on this thread: )

$50 seems like a reasonable start up cost. Am I missing something? I've seen people complain about how much $$ they spend on this, but I'm as cheap as they come and this doesn't seem so bad.

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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I haven't heard of Beat Peat, but if it absorbs like you say, it could work.

I think the reason folks like me said they spent a fortune on Mel's mix is how much we had to buy. To fill my 4 beds totaling 160 SF I needed 6.5 cubic yards of mix (I went 16 inches deep on my beds). So I had to buy 12 huge bags of vermiculite and 12 bales of peat (I got comfortable with Canadian peat but whatever you decide is fine). Even with bulk compost it was a pretty penny.

Have you used a soil calculator to figure out how much you need. There are plenty out there on the web. I'm not a math wiz so I use those to doublecheck my calculations.

Good luck and welcome! Especially if you're from the PNW, hehe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 12:32PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

khristle -'re missing something (alot of mix)
Assuming that your boxes will be 6" deep, each box will require 8 cubic feet of mix to fill. A minimum of 24 cubic feet will be needed for your 3 boxes, consisting of 8 cubic feet of each component. The peat alone will cost you around $35. Realistically, you're looking at around $100 to fill the boxes.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 1:28PM
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dang!! that is alot!! i was thinking, K that does look good figuring, but something looks to good to be true. someone's gota figure what it is. i have never heard of this stuff!! i have to go to the garden show today and see what all they have going on!! :') ~Medo

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 3:17PM
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I'd guess that beats peat is coco coir or shredded coconut husks.

As EG said, you'll need 8 cu ft per bed, now remember that is wet. When dry it is a lot more fluffy, and when you wet it, it will loose some of it's volume. Your $50 is a good per box figure, but not a total.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:46PM
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sinfonian - You are right, it looks like my math was waaaay off. That will teach me to do math before I've had my morning coffee! So yeah, it is looking like it will be about $150 to fill my beds unless I find a cheaper source for vermiculite.

So yeah, I'm here in the PNW. Bothell/Woodinville area. Mclendon's has the vermiculite and Molbak's has everything else. Where did you find your stuff at?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 12:47PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I spend most of my GW time on the container and other forums, but today I'm just bored - roaming around, and stumbled on this post. I'm not sure about what controversy (peat) you're referring to, but in raised beds, you're certainly not relegated to the use of sphagnum peat- especially if you're concerned about the controversy over the supposed 'nonrenewability' of peat. Reed/sedge or Michigan peat is is an excellent product for gardens and raised beds.

I would bet that the "Beats Peat" product is coir, too. That it is or isn't better than sphagnum peat is open to plenty of debate. I don't think there is enough difference between the two, when used in the garden, to bother mounting a 'for' or 'against' argument.

Reed/sedge/Michigan peat is a sludgy mix of partially decomposed - you guessed it - reeds, sedges, and lakeside grasses, and probably enough aquatic animal skeletons/shells to supply a good bit of mineral nutrition as well. Mixed with a healthy amount of composted or partially composted pine bark and some native soil or sand, it will yield an inexpensive, rich, black, free-draining soil that looks like this:

I've grown in this soil for years & find it extremely productive and full of life. If you have more interest & want to discuss it further, let me know - I don't come around the SF forum often.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:19PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Hey Al! It's cool that you dropped by, maybe you can educate us all? Did you have a chance to check out the swc post in this forum?


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:56PM
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Hi, I'm glad someone posted this question. I had it posted on another forum 'cause I'm way up north in zone 2b. The stuff is coir (cocunut husk residue). I used it very successfully last year in my flower containers although it is a little stringy/hairy. It seems to take a long time to absorb the water, I had to fight to break up the little brick swimming in the pool of water in the bottom of my wheeelbarrow. I'm relatively new to SFG but I'm going to use this instead of peat. Of course it is still minus 20 degrees here and our last frost date is May 25 so I have time to figure things out.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 1:41AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

First off, call up Steuber's Distributing in Snohomish. It's about 10 miles north of you up Highway 9. Last year they had 4 c ft bags of vermiculite for $14 and bales of Canadian peat for $12. That's where I went. Good luck.

As for coir. I was just watching the UC Davis master gardener lecture on veggie gardening and they mentioned coconut husk coir. Both the instructor and one of the students had not so good things to say about it. Something about it turning to mush. I don't recall. So much information in those 2 hours hehe.

Of course, there are 100 ways to grow a tomato, so to each their own. Gooc luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 3:30AM
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I don't know if you have a menards near you but in Michigan Menards sells half bales of compressed peat for 5.99.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 10:10AM
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blue_skink(z3 MB Cda)

I've used 2 different brands of this instant coco fiber stuff and I love it. It's way easier to work with than peat. I use it as a seed starting medium. It takes watering beautifully, not like peat.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 6:58PM
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my wife has been using beatspeat for the past week for her whole garden. it is roughly 150 sq ft plus five flower boxes and loves it. she says it takes more work then peat but is much happier using the environmentally friendly product. she has used only two packs which come in three 1 ft by 1 ft each per pack. hope you like it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:57AM
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I have found coir cocnut fiber to not be good replacement for peat since it does not have all the same qualities peat provides. It is also not good replacement when come to seed starting soil either.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:05PM
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