Pros: easy to use, time-saver when transplanting, helps prevent root shock
Cons: biodegradable except the peat pots may not decompose in a timely fashion
I enjoy gardening and start most of my plants from seed. While I raise some flowers, I mostly plant vegetable seeds. My father introduced me to the Jiffy line of products, and I have been using Jiffy Square Peat Pots for about 20 years.
A peat pot is made from compressed peat formed into the shape of a pot. Jiffy peat pots are made from sphagnum peat and a combination of recycled wood fiber. They are organic, containing no chemicals. The peat pots are soft to the touch, yet the compressed material produces a sturdy pot with stiff sides. Since these pots are uniform in shape, they fit well inside one another, and are usually sold in a stacked sleeve or in bulk.
Most of the peat pots are square with no holes in them. Some square pots have slits in the side for drainage.
Jiffy produces a line of square peat pots in various sizes. Usually, the larger the peat pot, the more expensive the cost.
2 1/4" square (no slits)
3" square (no slits)
3 1/2" square (no slits)
3 1/2" square x 4" deep (with slits)
The most common sizes are the 2 1/4" size and the 3" size. I usually see these pots sold as square pots without slits.
Jiffy peat pots are easy to use. I use the smaller 2 1/4" peat pots when planting flowers, such as marigolds, or vegetables like cucumbers. The larger 3" peat pots are great for growing tomatoes, peppers, and squash.
One great benefit of the square pots is that they neatly fit into the green Perma-Nest plastic plant trays that I use to start my seeds indoors. I set out the large Perma-Nest trays (22" x 11") on a table in a warm part of the house.
After setting the peat pots into the tray, I fill the pots most of the way with soil. Then I add water to the bottom of the tray and also sprinkle water across the top of the peat pots. After the water is absorbed into the peat, I plant my seeds. I place the seeds on top of the soil and sprinkle more soil on top of the seeds. After tamping the top of the soil lightly with my knuckles, I then sprinkle more water atop the soil. When the planting is finished, I drape plastic wrap across the top of the tray.
Once the seeds begin to germinate, I remove the plastic wrap and move the plant trays to my basement where I have tables set up under fluorescent lights. I use regular florescent tube lights and not special grow lights. I make sure the light source is close to the plants. My fluorescent lights are attached to the beams in my basement via chains. The chains are height adjustable, so that I can lift the lights higher as the plants grow.
When the temperature outdoors is warm enough, I harden off my plants by placing the trays outside in a shaded area for the day. I bring them indoors before night falls and the temperature cools. The plants do the indoor/outdoor routine for about a week before I plant the peat pots in the soil.
A great feature of peat pots is that the entire pot is planted in the soil. There is no messy transplanting. Some plants dont do well with being transplanted, so the peat pots are a great way to see the plant safely into the ground without risking root shock. If the rim of the pot is an inch or so above the soil inside the pot, I will rip the peat pot edge so that it is equal with the soil level. When planting peat pots in the ground, I always make sure the rim of the pot is planted beneath the soil line.
Since the peat pots are designed so that the roots can penetrate through the walls of the pot, I dont worry about the plants becoming root bound. During their growing time indoors, the roots usually break through the sides of the pot. Sometimes the roots will travel along the bottom of the plastic tray, or the roots may be content to curl around the peat pot. If, by chance, the roots have not penetrated any portion of the peat pot, then before planting the pot outside in the garden, I break away the bottom of the pot to allow the roots easier access to the garden soil.
Peat pots are made from organic material, and therefore, are designed to breakdown in the soil. I live in New England. My growing season goes roughly from May/June through September/October. Sometimes these peat pots dont decompose during the growing season. Ill turn over the soil at the end of the season and find little peat-pot treasures throughout the garden. When I find these gems, I turn them back under the soil. Eventually, the pots will decompose.
Another benefit to these peat pots is that they make it simple for me to share my leftover plants. I always plant more seeds than I have room in the garden. If I plant the plants in peat pots, I can easily transport the plants into work to share them with my coworkers. Not all my coworkers are savvy gardeners, so giving them the plants in peat pots ensures that the plants have a greater chance of success in their gardens.
Do you have to own peat pots to start seeds indoors? The answer is no. I save my plastic yogurt containers (and beg them from coworkers). Using an awl, I poke three or four holes into the bottom of each plastic yogurt cup. I fill the containers with soil, and plant the seeds. The yogurt cups work well. However, one has to remove the plant from the cup to plant it. If a plant is prone to root shock during transplanting, then yogurt cups might not be a good solution. As a rule, I have had good luck with using yogurt cups for planting when I dont have peat pots on hand.
My local nurseries sell these Jiffy peat pots, and so do the seed catalogs and online gardening stores. When I last ordered these from a seed catalog, they came loose in a cardboard carton. Here is a sample of the pricing, though prices vary depending upon where the Jiffy pots are purchased. Cost per pot is also less expensive when the peat pots are purchased in larger quantities.
2 1/4" square (no slits) 25 pots/$2.50, 100 pots/$7.95, 1000 pots/$50.00
3" square (no slits) 25 pots/$3.75, 100 pots/$12.95, 500 pots/$45.00
3 1/2" square (no slits) 25 pots/$4.50, 100 pots/$14.00, 500 pots/$55.00
3 1/2" square x 4" deep (with slits) 1000 pots/$82.04
I enjoy the convenience of using Jiffy Square Peat Pots. They are easy to use, and its a time-saver being able to plant the entire peat pot into the garden. Since some plants are prone to root shock from transplanting, these peat pots also help me safely move the plants I started from seed indoors into my outdoor garden. If you havent tried using Jiffy Peat Pots, you might want to give them a try.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Please read my other reviews:
Upside-Down Tomato Garden
Craftsman Long-Handled Weed Digger
Fiskars Power-Lever Bypass Lopper
Ames ReelEasy Work Center Hose Reel Cart with Auto-Track
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