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karmachelle
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Location: Boston, MA

Problems with Peat Pots?

Hi All,

As this is my first attempt ever at any kind of gardening, I hope my question doesn't sound too ignorant! :oops:

So I'm trying my hand at container gardening and started all my seeds in little peat pots. The seeds sprouted and began growing wonderfully! The time came for me to harden off the plants and move them to their more permanent homes (in various containers) on my deck. So I did what the peat pot manufacturer said to do - I planted everything - peat pot and all! Again, all seemed to be going well... until my plants all (except oregano) seemed to stop growing. :? They didn't die, the just stopped growing.

I didn't pay much mind, but did keep a close eye on them. Then, maybe two months later, I decided to move some plants to a larger container and put some in container to give away. When I dug them out of their current home I noticed that all the peat pots still seemed to be in tact - they didn't appear to have degraded at all! Not only that, but there seemed to be a yellowish-greenish fuzz growing on the outside of the peat pots! So I'm freaking out a little thinking that it's mold... Also, there were very few roots poking through the little pots, so I'm thinking that the pots are stunting the plant's growth - could this be correct?

Anyhoo, this seems to be the case for my jalapenos, chives, cherry tomatos, and scallions. Can anyone help me understand what's happening here?

Sorry for such a long post! And thank you for ANY info you can give!

Karmachelle
Trying to get back to nature!

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Kisal
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All I can say is that I've never, not once in all the years I've gardened, had success using peat pots. I do best just using ordinary containers and potting soil. JMO. :)

butterflysuziq
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Peat Pots

I had a problem with peat pots last year. I didn't put enough soil over the edges of the pots, and so the tops were continually dry, which wicked moisture out of the soil and quickly dried out my plants.

What I found was that the soil needs to be packed tightly around the peat pots, and needs to be kept quite moist so that the pot can degrade. It will do so quickly if you keep it wet enough.

Also, if you have the soil packed tightly enough, there shouldn't be any room for mold to grow on the outside of the container.

GardenRetreat
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peat pots

I think that you are exceptionally brave to make your first attempt at container growing with seeds..
Do you think it might be better to start with established plants from your gardening center?
When I started gardening for the first time.. I started with seeds and was discouraged when I lost most of my plants..
Take the advantage of established plants from your garden center. Then all you will have to be concerned with is container size, type of soil and correct watering and sun exposure.. that seems like enough to deal with huh?
God made rainy days so gardeners could get their housework done
GardenRetreat
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rainbowgardener
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peat pots

I don't know why peat pots are so popular... They are plant killers! They are very hard to start seeds in because they hold too much water and stay wet all the time, so they tend to get moldy and the seedlings tend to get damped off (fungal infection). If you do get a seedling grown in it, they absolutely do not break down in the ground in any reasonable amount of time, so they do keep the roots from spreading and still keep too much water in. For the future start your seeds in little plastic pots (I order mine on-line because they are hard to find in stores) and then transplant them directly in to the ground. The plastic pots are a little more expensive to start with, but a much better investment because you can use them over and over -- I have some that I've been using more than a decade now!

The Helpful Gardener
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Let's not forget that only 5% of fungus is pathogenic (damaging);, many of them just do stuff like eat detritus, that is break things down into soil and many do amazing things to help plants...

[url]https://www.mycorrhizae.com/index.php?cid=391[/url]

Bacteria cannot break down high carbon sources like peat or wood, which is why the pots hold together for as long as they do. If we introduce the beneficial fungii that actually assist plants in uptaking nutrition, and the ones that make carbon and nitrogen and phosphorus available from the wood or peat, then there is not room for the more airborne badguys. There are even fungii that attack fungii...

[url]https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_119200.htm[/url]


I agree with RG that you shouldn't use peat pots, as they use a mined substance in a less than efficient way, but I planted some veggies this year that came in peat pots, and yes, Karmachelle, I had white and yellow "mold" on mine too. Just remember that some good growers are starting to figure out that not all fungus is bad, and some is really necessary...

HG
Scott Reil

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Earl K
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The peat pots i get when i purchase plants in my area from(bonnie plants) say to tear the bottom half of the pot off,throw that into hole,place plant into hole and cover with soil.I still have a couple where the top is just sticking out of the soil so it hasnt broken down after 2 months.

The Helpful Gardener
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Dry peat is a water excluder and dry anything is no place for soil biology, so exposed spots won't break down... a longish process anyway. And leaving the pots on adds a soil interface, which has been shown to slow plants from moving into the native soil. I take 'em off and compost them...

HG
Scott Reil

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