Pros: ideal for children first gardening, easy to use, plant entire peat pellet into the ground
Cons: these pellets are small and the plants will need to be transplanted
I can remember when my father first introduced me to these Jiffy Peat Pellets. As a child, I was amazed ... it was like watching a science show and a magic trick rolled into one.
These Jiffy Pellets are 1 3/4" in diameter and about 3/8" thick. They are hard round disks that dont like they will do much. But wait! Add water and see them change. These compressed Jiffy Pellets are designed to absorb seven times their weight in water. I have also seen them called Jiffy-7 Pellets or One-Step Seed Starters.
Jiffy Pellets are made from sphagnum peat that is compressed into these disks. The instructions that came with my Jiffy Pellets say: . . . the maximum water holding capacity is 70%, so there is always 30% air available to the root system. Once the pellets expand upward, they form their own container complete with peat growing compound. There is no need to add soil.
The package of Jiffy Pellets I have came in a clear plastic bag with one sheet of instructions inserted inside.
These Jiffy Pellets are a great way to introduce children to the joys of planting seeds. It is fascinating to watch the pellets expand with water. Have you ever seen those flat-as-a-pancake sponges? When water is added, the sponges expand into a rectangular shape. These Jiffy Pellets work on the same principle.
First the pellets need to be placed in a container. I use sturdy plastic Perma-Nest plant trays. If children are using the peat pellets, they might want to place them in an old muffin tray. That way, when the pellets expand, the sides of the muffin tray will hold the pellets upright. When I place the pellets in the Perma-Nest trays, I lay the pellets flat so that they are grouped near each other with a bit of extra space for expansion.
There is a top and bottom to these pellets. If you look closely at the top of the pellet, you will see a circle about 7/8" in diameter centered on the pellet. After the pellet expands, this circle is where the seed will be planted. The bottom of the pellet is solid without any identifying marks.
Once the pellets are in place in a tray or pan, add water. Warm water makes the pellets expand faster. These pellets will drink a lot of water since they expand up to seven times in height. Sometimes a few of the pellets will not reach their full height. I dont know why. There are other times when I think a pellet will never fully expand, and then when I look again, it is perfectly filled out and ready for planting.
As the pellets grow, you will see that an organic netting-like material holds the growing compound together. The small hole in the top of the now expanded pellet is where the seed is placed. Large seeds can be placed 1/4" below the soil surface, and smaller seeds nearer to the top of the soil. Just keep the pellets moist to encourage the seeds to grow.
Since these expanded pellets have air pockets, they are ideal for starting seeds or plant cuttings since there is plenty of room for downward root growth. Unlike peat pots, which have harder sides and bottoms, these pellets are spongy.
These Jiffy Pellets are not meant to indefinitely keep plants. The pellets, even when expanded, are small. They are designed to give seeds a start. Once the seeds are growing and big enough so that they need a different pot, the Jiffy Pellet can be inserted whole inside a larger plant pot. Just add soil to the bigger plant pot, place the Jiffy Pellet with its plant inside the pot, and add more soil around the plant. These Jiffy Pellets can also be planted outdoors in the garden. Since the plant does not have to be removed from this peat container, there is less likelihood of the plant developing root shock. The peat pellets are planted whole ... just dig a hole and plop the pellet (plant and all) into the hole and surround the plant with soil.
I prefer not to use these Jiffy Pellets for the vegetables that I intend to plant in the garden. I start my seeds inside way too early. The plants would fast outgrow the size of these pellets before I am ready to transplant them outside into the garden. The only time I use these pellets is when I know the plants will quickly be able to go outside (for instance, if I start seed later than I had intended).
My local nurseries sell these Jiffy Pellets. I have also seen them in seed catalogs and available online at gardening websites. A set of 10 Jiffy Pellets can be purchased for as little as $1.00 a set if a good sale is found. Its not often that I see them sold in that small a quantity, though. I usually purchase my Jiffy Pellets from Park Seeds, who sells them in bulk. A package of 50 pellets sells for $8.95, and 100 pellets cost $15.95.
Young children are fascinated by these Jiffy Peat Pellets. Using these pellets makes a good project for adults and children to share the experience of starting a garden. The pellets are easy to transplant whole into a flower pot or an outside garden. I always keep some with my gardening supplies.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Please read my other reviews:
Jiffy Square Peat Pots
Jiffy Peat Pot Strips
Upside-Down Tomato Garden
Craftsman Long-Handled Weed Digger
Suncast Easy-Reach Hose Reel Cart
Swan Tuff and Flexible Garden Hose
Gilmour Advanced Variable Oscillating Sprinkler
Step 2 Grass Hopper Wheeled Garden Stool / Cart
Rubbermaid Big Max Storage Shed
Black & Decker Cordless Battery Mulching Lawnmower
Burpee (online store)
Park Seed Company (online store)
Copyright 2006 Dawn L. Stewart