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do peat pots inhibit root growth?  RSS feed

 
Leo Ziebol
Posts: 11
Location: Central Iowa Zone 5a
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Hi everyone! I've been raising seedlings in peat pots this year and then dropping them right into the ground when ready. I've noticed they don't seem to be growing as fast once in the ground as past years. I'm curious how long these pots take to break down once they're in the ground and if they actually inhibit growth of the plant. I figured you guys would probably know for sure whether or not they were worth using.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Leo
I've never used them, but I've come across loads of stories about them not breaking down in the soil and inhibiting root growth.
I scrounge old plastic seedling pots.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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I've only used them a few times and usually they are already really soft and half composted by the time I plant them out, so I haven't notcied a particular problem. Maybe try soaking them very thoroughly in water before planting out and then sort of break them up a bit with your hands to give roots a head start?
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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You have to rip off any part of the peat pot that sticks out above the soil line or it will dry the pot out and keep it from breaking down. I don't like them much.
 
David Hartley
Posts: 258
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I highly recommend The PotMaker Turns old newspapers into lil 2.5" pots!


For larger transplants, I use 24/32 ounce yogurt containers: just punch several holes in the bottom and wah-la! We eat a lot of store-bought yogurt, so we have a LOT. If you're careful, they can be reused multiple times
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 132
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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yes, they are really bad at inhibiting root growth, even here in my climate where they will be gone in a year. the best thing to do is rip the peat pot off the seedlings when you plant. then you can use the peat pot remains as mulch.
 
janet jacobsen
Posts: 45
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I have had better luck with regular pots than peat pots- the concept is good but my seedlings dry out too fast and once I put them in the hugelkultur they just don't do well.
 
Anne Rambling
Posts: 7
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Peat pots- issues that come up are roots still circling, they take quite awhile to break down in arid climates, any of the pot sticking up above ground seems to wick moisture out of the soil, explosion of mold that spreads like wild fire if you are using them in trays, needing to babysit them because they dry out- also so they also aren't too wet. I've had some plants that never could get roots through the pot. Compared to others- we had less root development.

Newspaper pots take awhile to make. If you don't make them right, they fall apart before you even get to move them. Using anything to secure them- then has to be removed (as in tape, staples, paper clips, etc.) Some plants take awhile to break through the pots.. some like tomatillos- send roots not just through their pot, but into the ones next to it (in particular if the pots are started in trays.) You can get a gizmo to make the pots.. but it is not necessary as there are methods and means to make them with things you already probably have around the house. There is even an origami way of folding them into square pots (size varies by size of the paper).. it takes awhile to do, but they can be folded flat for storage. Most of the newspaper will decompose.. but you may still have bits at the end of the season. Also edges of the pot will wick moisture up and out of the soil, but not nearly as bad as the peat pots- easier to tear the tops away or just push them down.

There are (cow) manure pots.. I haven't tried them.

Standard plant cell packs & pots... my neighbors & friends unload these on to us every spring.

Then there is also the SIP pots (self-irrigating planter) you can make from plastic bottles. This I have found works really well for me- and frankly these dang bottles are everywhere even though we never really buy them. They don't really inhibit the root growth, easy to pop the plants out (so it can be used repeatedly- just use another cotton ball), I don't have to worry about the soil moisture for days (no need to babysit them daily.) I'm not a fan of growing anything in plastic- but I haven't found anything yet that is better. I get more vertical root growth- which is something we like because then we seem to have to irrigate a lot less. (Our tomato plants are miserable to pull out at the end of the season.. but it paid off during last year's drought. Same style thing.. add fruit juice or something yeasty to the bottom reservoir and it works well as a fruit fly trap.
 
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