Peat and peat bogs.
Peat is one of the largest natural wealth in Latvia.
The richest peat bogs are located in Baltic region, particularly in Latvia. The total area of the bog is 6401 km2 or 9.9% of the country’s territory.
Peat resources are not precisely determined, but they could be about 11.3 billion m3 or 1.7 billion tons. Most of this resource is not usable – they are covered by valuable forest stands, they are located under the agricultural land and also in protected areas. Most peat reserves are concentrated in the eastern and central parts of Latvia. From the total area of bogs, 49.3% are low bogs, 41.7% are high and 9% – transitional bogs. 69.7% of all marshes are intact, 15% are drained and used in agriculture, 8.4% are covered with drained forest stands, only 3.9% are used for peat extraction. Approximately one-seventh of the area of untouched mires (75 thousand ha) is protected and designated as reserves and barriers.
Peat is formed in the process of natural decay.
It is an incomplete decomposition of bog plants, under over current moisture and incomplete supply of oxygen. High bog peat is made up of herbaceous plants, mainly of different mosses. Approximately 95% of moss’s peat volume and pores. The tiny pores are filled with water, but rough – the air, so the peat roots provide ideal water and air treatment. The age of the peat deposits is 6-12 thousand years, and it turns out that 1 mm of the current peat layer was formed during the year. Peat is formed under anaerobic conditions and is sterile. It is sour, with a low content of nutrients, therefore, adding turbid lime material and composting with organic manure, it is a high-quality material for the formation of humus in the soil.
Humus – the basis of soil fertility
Humus is especially important in preserving and improving soil fertility.
It is formed by the decomposition of organic matter. Humus contributes to the formation of soil structure, increases water permeability in clay soils, improves aeration and facilitates soil treatment, as well as reduces soil density and creates favorable conditions for root growth. Organic matter increases the soil’s buffering capacity, especially in sandy soils, making them more resistant to changes in pH. At the same time, it also increases the microbial activity in the soil and promotes the nitrification process.
Organic matter is the most important part of peat for organic farming. Peat is biochemically stable because it contains hard-soluble humic acids. Humic acids are soil-forming and growth promoters that form calcium humates and calcium chelate complexes.
Humus: The organic component of soil, created when microorganisms eat through decaying leaves and other plant materials. Also known as humification.
Humates: Naturally occurring materials that are rich in humic substances, the primary organic components of soil and peat.
Humic substances: The main organic component of soil, contains humic acids, fulvic acids, and humins.
Humic acids: Complex acids that contain groups of ions. These complexes enable humic acids to regulate the bioavailability of metal ions present in a plant’s growing environment. Humic acids are water-soluble in water with a pH higher than two. They give a dark brown to black in color to highly decomposed peat moss well known in advanced substrates.
Fulvic acids: Another type of humic acid with a low molecular weight and oxygen content. It is water-soluble.
Humins: Not water-soluble, black in color. Well presented in black/dark brown peat moss.
Chelates: Chemical compounds that crops absorb easily and dissolve more easily than other types of compounds. Chelates are characterized by their ability to retain and release specific metal ions. That is an important reason to have to use this type of micronutrients as additives in peat moss substrates.
Chelation: That is how ions and molecules bind to metal ions. In crops, chelation makes it possible for nutrients to move within plant bodies more freely, making them more available to the crops.
Bioavailability: The amount of a nutrient that’s absorbed by a plant.
“Humic substances affect soil fertility by making nutrients more readily available to plants. Humic acids also promote plant growth by enabling root penetration in soils. Humic acid also acts in decreasing water evaporation from soils.” USDA Report
In studies throughout the world, humic substances have been shown to increase yields of growing plants.
Humic substances belong to organic fertilizers.
Our extensive research and many years of experience in substrate production confirm that 10-20% of black peat significantly improves fertility and the ability of plants to withstand external influences, including limited or irregular water supply. Areapeat Report