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Peatland Progress: Exploring ways to up-scale moss growing on larger areas

The next phase of sphagnum moss farming trials at the Great Fen continues with the arrival of moss to trial new planting methods. This is the beginning of the next phase of crop testing. In high water table growing beds, ways to up-scale moss growing for use on larger areas are being explored. This will be used in the expansion of paludiculture trials, all part of Peatland Progress.

Lorna Parker,Restoration Manager explains the process.

‘We are very pleased to have welcomed a special delivery of sphagnum moss. It has come all the way from Moorkultur Ramsloh in Lower Saxony (Germany) to our wet-farming trial plots.’

With the generous help and support of Buffaload, two big crates of harvested moss made the journey across Europe and through the Channel Tunnel to the UK, for the first time.’

The fragments of moss were spread by hand over the prepared area. Then, covered with a mulch of local straw, before pressing down to ensure it's in contact with the soil below. Now the soil will be kept moist while the moss settles in. Benefits of using this propagation method are the ability to cover a much larger area than with individual plugs, and the speed of spreading vs digging holes and planting.

We hope that in future, farmers will adopt this method at scale using existing farm machinery. The decades ahead could see home-grown moss replace imported peat compost, reduce the loss of peat soils on lowland farmland and become part of the mosaic of crops and land use across the Fens.

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