The Q&A Archives: Peat Pots Versus Other Seed Starting Methods

Question: I am considering using peat pots for my seed starting this year. Based on this winter's weather and my yield of some crops (both time and amount) from last year, I would like to start early in the house and try to let the plants mature a bit more. Rather than transplanting into plastic pots before transplanting into the ground, I would like to use peat pots. Keeping them moist should not be a problem. I am most concerned about how long they last before decaying. Will they survive for several months in the house without decaying, and will they then decay quickly when planted in the garden? Do I expect any different growth rates or yields because of the peat pots presence in the garden?

Thank you for your response in advance,

Answer: The peat pots will probably last several months in the house, but that is a long time for vegetable seedlings to be indoors, unless you are providing grow lights. There usually isn't enough light for seedlings and they get weak and spindly "stretching" for more light. Four to eight weeks is sufficient for most veggies, although peppers can go 8-12 weeks. Peat pots don't always decay quickly in the soil and a plant's roots can be confined within them. They can also dry out quickly and be more difficult to rewet after planted. Plunge the entire pot into water and let it get a good soaking before planting. It's also helpful to remove the bottom to let the roots free. As long as the roots can get out and get established, peat pots should not affect yields. Good luck with your garden this year!

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