I found out about peat pots and wanted to know whether I can use them for my container garden. This post contains all my research about peat pots and how they can be planted in the ground.
Peat pots can be planted in the ground. They are used to start seeds of plants with fragile roots. You can then transplant the entire peat pot in the ground without the need to remove the fragile roots from the pot. This helps prevent them from getting damaged due to the transplant.
What is a peat pot?
A peat pot is a container made with peat moss and wood fiber. The materials are compressed in the shape of a pot.
The idea behind using such a pot is it will hold its shape till you’re growing seedlings. Once you need to transplant the seedlings, you place the entire pot in the garden soil. The organic pot will decompose over time and add nutrients to the soil.
The peat pot is also known as a Jiffy pot and is made by mixing together sphagnum peat moss and wood fiber. The peat moss has good moisture-retention capabilities while the wood fiber gives the pot a firm structure.
Peat moss is an organic material that takes time to naturally develop. That’s why it’s also good to consider alternative Jiffy pots that are made with coco coir or cow manure.
Because these materials are more sustainable and inexpensive compared to peat moss but you get the same benefits as you would using a peat pot.
When should you use peat pots?
You should only use peat pots for growing plants that have fragile roots. This helps you avoid having to transplant such plants and risk damaging their roots.
Since you place the entire peat pot in the soil, this helps prevent transplant shock. The seedling’s roots are not exposed to air, moisture, or stress that comes as part of the transplant.
You don’t need to use peat pots for plants that don’t have fragile roots. You can transplant them from the seed-starting tray or seedling container to the garden soil without problems.
Peat pots can be expensive and there’s no need for you to buy them for regular plants. You can use plastic trays or containers for such plants. And reuse them later to grow more plants.
Here’s a list of plants that have fragile roots and you can consider growing in a peat pot.
How do you use peat pots?
It’s quite simple to use the peat pots in a way similar to using any other seed-starting tray. You have two stages of using the peat pots.
Use peat pots for starting seeds
The materials you need for starting seeds in a peat pot include: seeds, potting soil, peat pots, watering can, baking tray, newspaper.
Add the potting soil to the peat pot so that it is full. Use the watering can to water the potting soil till it becomes moist and settles in the peat pot.
You can place the seed in the potting soil. How deep you need to put the seed depends on the plant. You should check the seed packet for more information about this. You can use your finger to just push the seed into the potting soil.
Place the peat pots in the tray and add water into it. This will help the peat pot and the potting soil absorb moisture from the bottom.
Once the potting soil is moist, you can take the peat pots out of the tray and place them on the newspaper so it can drain out excess water. You want to keep the soil moist but don’t want to drown it in water.
Place the peat pots on a sunny part of the house like a window sill. Your plants will need sufficient sunlight to germinate.
Remember to put your peat pots in the tray filled with water every day so the potting soil can soak up the moisture.
Transplant the peat pots into the soil
Once the seeds have germinated, you’ll see the first few leaves growing into a seedling. When the seedling has grown 3-4 inches, it’s time to transplant the peat pots.
You can transplant the peat pots in a container that you place indoors or outdoors. Or you can transplant the peat pots outdoors in garden soil.
Before you can transplant the peat pot outdoors, it’s best to harden the seedling. This means you need to familiarize the seedling with the conditions outdoors.
The seedlings can get stressed and not grow well if they don’t get used to the new environment. The hardening process will help prevent the seedlings from facing this problem.
You can keep the seedling outdoors every day for a few hours so they get used to the sunlight, wind, and moisture. After a couple of weeks, the seedlings will be ready for a transplant.
It’s quite easy to transplant the peat pot in a container or garden soil. Just dig a hole that is of a size enough to cover the entire peat pot.
Then place the peat pot in this hole and cover it up with potting soil. You need to then water the peat pots well after the transplant.
If you transplanted to a container, water it till the water comes out from the drainage holes at the bottom. If you transplanted to garden soil, water the soil slowly and thoroughly till the soil is saturated with water.
When transplanting the peat pots, you need to be careful that the entire pot is inside the soil. If any part of the peat pot is above the surface, it will wick the moisture from the soil causing the roots to dry out.
If you find the rim of the pot is above the soil surface, you can tear it off the pot to avoid this problem.
I would also suggest poking some holes in the bottom of the peat pots before the transplant. This will help make it easier for the roots to grow out from the peat pots. After a certain amount of time, the peat pots will decompose and get mixed into the soil.
How often do you water peat pots?
The first time you want to water peat pots is when you have put the potting soil in them. This gives the potting soil good moisture to settle inside the pot.
Once you’ve planted the seeds in the peat pots, you want to place them in a tray filled with water. This will help the peat pots and the potting soil to absorb the moisture from the tray.
You need to remove the peat pots from the water-filled tray when the potting soil has absorbed the required moisture.
You want to water the potting soil with this method every day so you provide sufficient moisture for the seeds to germinate.
The last time you will need to water the peat pots is when you are transplanting them to a container or garden soil.
This will help you tear some portion of the peat pot if it’s sticking above the surface of the soil. And it will help the roots get sufficient moisture after the transplant.
Where can you buy peat pots?
You can buy peat pots at your local gardening center but they can be a little expensive. The better option is to buy at some online stores like Amazon. You can choose from several options in different quantities.
Here are some of the peat pot options you can choose from.
What are the different variants of peat pots available?
You can get the peat pots in varieties known as peat strips, peat pots, and peat pellets.
The peat strips are small, thin containers that you can use to start seeds. You can get them as a seed-starting tray that is made with peat.
Once you need to transplant the seedlings, you can tear each of the individual peat trays and plant it in your garden or container soil.
These peat pellets have a small size and a thin wall. They are just to be used for starting seeds but as soon as the seedlings have germinated, you need to move them either to another container or the garden soil.
The peat pots are the bigger sized containers with thicker walls. You can start seeds in these containers and continue to grow the seedlings even for a month.
When you want to transplant the seedlings, make a hole in the garden soil. Rip off a part of the rim to avoid the peat from wicking moisture that the roots needs. Place the peat pot in the hole and cover it with garden soil.
These are compact discs made with peat and covered with a biodegradable mesh. When you pour hot water on the disc, it expands into a loosely formed container surrounded by the mesh.
The material contains only peat and does not have the wood fiber that you would find in a peat pot. This makes it resemble a fabric pot rather than a firm container.
It’s best to just start seeds in these peat pellets and place them in the garden soil as soon as the seedlings have germinated.
Can you make your own peat pots?
You can make your own peat pots with peat, water, and a small plastic or metal container as a mold. You need to put the peat and water in the container and mix them well to form a slurry.
Then you need to press down on this mixture to remove the excess water. You can use the base of a smaller metal container to do this.
Once the excess water comes out from the mix, the peat will take the form of the container it was in.
There are alternatives you can use instead of peat to create such biodegradable pots. These are materials like newspaper, toilet paper chutes, and egg trays that you find at home.
Using such materials will help you create good seed starting pots without spending a lot of money on them.
All you need to create such a pot is newspaper, a pair of scissors, and a glass jar. Make sure to use regular newspaper and not magazine paper as that can contain toxic heavy metals.
Cut the newspaper into strips that are about 1 inch taller than the length of the glass jar. Fold and unfold a small portion on one side of the newspaper that we will use later as a rim.
You need to wrap the newspaper strip around the glass jar so it takes the form of a container.
Fold the extra inch of the newspaper at the bottom of the jar so that it forms a stable base that will hold the potting soil. Fold the other end of the newspaper to create the rim that we had earlier left space for.
Now you have the newspaper pot ready to add your potting soil. The pot may look wobbly but becomes more stable when you add potting soil.
You can also place a group of such pots in a tray so that they can hold for longer even after watering the pots.
Once you need to transplant the pots, you can dig a hole in the garden or container soil and place the newspaper pot. They decompose quickly in the soil so the plant’s roots won’t have any problem spreading into the soil.
You can make newspaper pots of multiple sizes depending on the requirements of the seeds and seedlings you want to grow.
Toilet paper chute pots
You can use toilet paper chutes as a seed starting container as it already has a form to hold the potting soil.
You just need to cover the base of the chutes. You can make 1 inch cuts at one end of the chutes and fold them for a stable base. You can then add potting soil in the chute and plant your seeds in it.
You can also place a group of such pots in a tray so that they can hold for longer even after watering the pots.
When you want to transplant the seedlings in the pots, you can dig a hole in the soil and place the chutes. The cardboard in the chutes is more difficult for the plant’s roots to break through than something like newspaper.
So, you can unfold the base of the chutes before transplanting them into the soil. The other option is to tear away the cardboard chutes and only plant the seedlings in the soil.
You can even use kitchen paper chutes as long as you cut them to the right length. The length you use depends on the seeds and seedlings you want to grow in them.
Egg tray pots
Using an egg tray is the easiest method to create a biodegradable seed starting pot. You just need to tear off the lid of the egg tray.
Add the potting soil to the cells of the egg tray and you’ll be able to plant your seeds in them. The egg tray does have a limited depth so check the requirements of the seeds on the seed packets.
When you want to transplant the seedlings in the garden soil or container, just wet the egg tray. This will help you easily separate each cell with the seedling growing in it. You can then dig a hole in the soil and place the entire cell in it.
Another option is to just use the eggshells as a pot for starting seeds. You can take a few eggs and just cut open a portion from the top.
Take out the egg from the shell and wash the eggshell well with water. You can then leave the eggshells to dry on the egg tray itself.
Once the eggshells have dried out, you can fill them with potting soil. Plant the seed in the eggshell to the required depth.
Use a plant mister to water the top of the potting soil every day. This will help the seeds get the required moisture for germination.
Once the seedlings have germinated, you can dig a hole in the garden or container soil and plant the eggshell in it. Make sure to crush the eggshell a little bit before placing it in the hole.
The eggshell will decompose over time and add beneficial calcium to your garden or container soil.