View Full Version : to use peat pots or not?

05-14-2009, 08:22 AM
i'm new to this and have seedlings started in plastic greenhouses using peat pellets for planting material. i've heard varying opions as to transplanting to larger peat pots before planting in our garden. so i'm not sure if we should or not any suggestions?

05-14-2009, 08:57 AM
Well, it depends on what you have started in those pots and how long before the weather permits them to be planted out safely. I'll give you two examples:

Tomatos - they need to be started early to get big enough that they can then have enough time in the ground to bear and ripen fruit before the first frosts of fall. This means you start them quite a while before you will be able to put them safely into the garden and they are fast growers under good growing conditions. They will quickly out grow their pots but should NOT be rushed outside if the weather is too cold or unstable. So you repot them. Tomatos happen to be one crop that can be placed deeply in their new pots and they will grow more roots along the stem - so the repotting results in a even more sturdy plant ultimately (more developed root system).

Lettuce - is quick growing and can tolerate (cool but not freezing) weather. Since they are fast maturing and cold tolerant - they should be quickly hardened off and just planted out without any further repotting.

That's just two items given as an example - but I hope that gives you a sense of how you make the decision to repot - or not!

05-15-2009, 10:42 AM
Whatever you do, remove the fabric from the pellet before planting. It takes forever to decompose and can hinder root growth. I still find fabric in my garden from 15 months ago.

05-15-2009, 10:46 AM
I used them last year and wasn't very happy with them. It seemed like they dried out too quick and leached the water away from the plants. I agree with Sinfonian that when planting you need to remove the peat pot, at least the bottom.

05-16-2009, 08:15 PM
I've never used the pellets, preferring to make my own potting soil, but as for the peat pots, I crumble mine up as I transplant. (rip up the pot, gentle loosen the roots, then plant it all in the garden). I agree with the others that it doesn't break down well.

05-16-2009, 08:31 PM
I have used the pellets in the past because I found a shopping bag full at a garage sale for $1. I found that they often appeared wet but the center was dry. The key is to water them from the bottom with very warm (almost hot) water. They will then absorb more water. I did have to transplant my tomatoes into something larger since I started them a full 3 months before they could go outside. I recycled lots of 20 oz styrofoam cups from work which worked great. They insulated the roots very well when hardening them off. I poked a hole about 1/2" up the side to allow for drainage but it also allowed for a little water trough at the bottom.

Last year I made my own newspaper pots but found they tended to wick water away from the soil and had to keep the newspaper pretty wet...a balancing act so as not to keep the soil too wet. Again I simply watered well from the bottom with room temperature water.

This year I used peat pots because again I got them on an incredible sale on the clearance rack last year at Lowe's for only .10 per 10 count pack. But I will tear off most of the pot and toss it into the composter when planting.

Next year, who knows? I'll see what I find on sale. Kim

05-16-2009, 09:56 PM
I used peat pots this year and also coco pots made out of fibers. I love the coco pots they're sturdier. I'm using a bunch of different sizes. I'll keep you all posted.