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Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment)

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Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) Empty Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment)

Post  landarch on 3/13/2014, 10:40 pm

Can you tell the clear winner?

Tomatillo and Tomato seedlings in Jiffy Peat Pellets on the left...tomato seedlings in NK Seed Starting Mix.

Had the same results last year.  My only complaint about Jiffy is that the refill pellets are just as expensive as buying a whole new kit (pellets, tray, clear lid)...doesn't make sense.

Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) Seed_d10


Also trying 16 oz clear cups from Walmart to pot-up seedlings this year (holes drilled in bottom).
Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) Tomati10
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Post  Rick Seeger on 3/16/2014, 4:20 pm

Very interesting results!  I did a similar experiment using Burpee 'Super seed growing pellets' and vermiculite.  With my Salvia and Petunias it was a dead heat - all plants have germinated (in 4 1/2 days from planting with light and bottom heat).  My tomatoes also seem to prefer the pellets Sweet Baby Girl cherry, Seedless Hybrid, and Wisconsin 55.  So far no call as to what my peppers prefer - only one sprout at this point.  I think next year I will run the same side by side and maybe try Mel's Mix vs. pellets.  I also like the idea of the clear plastic cups for potting up transplants - much less expensive than plant pots!
   Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) 3170584802
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Post  donnainzone5 on 3/16/2014, 5:03 pm

I've tried peat pellets in the past.  In my experience, they don't degrade in the garden, leaving the roots [size=12.727272033691406]snarled up and reluctant to grow.  [/size]


On the other hand, starting seeds in vermiculite (even coarse) has been successful for me.  

See what works for you!
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Post  Marc Iverson on 3/16/2014, 7:41 pm

I had very poor results with Jiffy pellets last year. And I guess pretty much universally, the wrapping around the outside of the pellets did not biodegrade. Generally that didn't do good things for the root balls, keeping them small and the plant small too. Just today I dug up another pellet in the garden from last year. Still intact, the undegraded wrapping binding it thoroughly.
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Post  jimmy cee on 3/16/2014, 10:30 pm

Mel's Mix for me wins
I tried it with everything and it sure is a winner IMO
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Post  camprn on 3/16/2014, 10:31 pm

Nice Jimmy!
 okay 

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Post  GloriaG on 3/16/2014, 11:38 pm

Hi landarch,

I use Jiffy Peat Pellets all the time because I've had really good results with them. 

To the cost of replacement pellets down, I shop eBay.  Last year, I splurged and bought 1,000 pellets for about $95 ($0.095 each).  But they're available in any volume you need.  Usually at a good price. 

FWIW, to prevent the roots from "circling" and avoid having non-biodegradable mesh in the garden, I remove the little covering before planting.  It's really easy to do, and if the pellets are handled carefully the peat stays together so the roots don't get disturbed at all.  (Much like planting soil blocks.)

Hope this helps,
Gloria
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Post  Marc Iverson on 3/16/2014, 11:42 pm

I'm glad you had better results than I did. When I tore off the binding prior to planting, it tended to tear off some roots while I was trying to preserve some others. When I left it on, it never went away. Maybe I'm just cursed with the things.
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Post  GloriaG on 3/17/2014, 2:44 am

Hi Marc,

Sorry to hear you've had so much trouble. 

FWIW: I pot-up into 3" peat pots of MM when the seedlings are fairly small.  To remove the mesh binding, I use a small pair of scissors to clip the mesh near roots that have worked their way through.  Haven't really had too much trouble with it.  Its a very quick job and the plants seem to handle the transplant well.  (BTW: I also purchase peat pots on Bay at under $0.10 each, so my total cost is very low per plant.)

I haven't tried transplanting the pellets directly into the garden, so I don't know if that would make a difference.

Good luck,
Gloria
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Post  landarch on 3/18/2014, 10:48 am

My experience has been that the peat pellets are packed full of wonderful roots...and I transplant into 3" pots or plastic cups right when the roots reach the fabric.  If the moisture content is spot on, the pellet stays in tact while pulling off the fabric (I pull apart at the seam).

In addition, if I need to consolidate seedlings into a single tray, the pellets with seedlings can be easily moved around.
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Post  Jenn-NOLA on 3/29/2018, 2:24 pm

Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) 2018-011
Do these tomato plants look stunted from the roots being all balled up? Just remove the netting before planting, as instructed. I've had great results with the Jiffy Peat Pots. Nearly 100% germination on tomatoes at 70% on peppers (but the pepper germination suffered once I opened the top to let the tomatoes grow).


Last edited by Jenn-NOLA on 3/29/2018, 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Photo didn't upload)
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Post  sanderson on 3/30/2018, 3:19 am

Jenn, They look good to me. Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) 3170584802

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/30/2018, 7:36 am

Hi Jenn-NOLA. Welcome from Atlanta, GA.

I agree with Sanderson - they look fine.

I have used peat pellets with good success. I just hate spending the $ on them when I have MM around. So I'm using MM in red solo cups at this point.
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Post  countrynaturals on 3/30/2018, 11:09 am

I plant everything in Jiffy Pellets. Sometimes the plants outgrow them before time to plant outside, so I transplant them into peat pots. I hate transplanting, so I don't use plastic. I want to be able to plant the whole thing without digging out the plant. I don't mind finding old Jiffy Pellets in the dirt -- I reuse them -- cuts the expense by about 50%.  Cool
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Post  jim022659 on 5/7/2018, 8:07 pm

I'm getting away from those pellets this yaer. I always remove the netting because it seems to root bound them. this year I tried peat pots. yaaaa no. they dry out super wuick. gonna look into those soil blocks you make at home.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/7/2018, 9:27 pm

Peat pots here.  And if I start things in there, it is melons, squash, cukes.  They are expensive.

  I up-pot maters and peppers in re-useable plastin4 inch pots...just did that today.

Never used the pellets.
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Post  Turan on 5/7/2018, 9:35 pm

@jim022659 wrote:I'm getting away from those pellets this yaer. I always remove the netting because it seems to root bound them. this year I tried peat pots. yaaaa no. they dry out super wuick. gonna look into those soil blocks you make at home.
I prefer soil blocks.  Really you are making a jiffy pellet, but with nutrients in it, with no outer mesh.  Transplanting is easy, no root circling or binding or mesh.  But I still have some pellets around, I keep forgetting to use them up.

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Post  Kelejan on 5/8/2018, 7:42 am

@Turan wrote:
@jim022659 wrote:I'm getting away from those pellets this yaer. I always remove the netting because it seems to root bound them. this year I tried peat pots. yaaaa no. they dry out super wuick. gonna look into those soil blocks you make at home.
I prefer soil blocks.  Really you are making a jiffy pellet, but with nutrients in it, with no outer mesh.  Transplanting is easy, no root circling or binding or mesh.  But I still have some pellets around, I keep forgetting to use them up.

Turan, I have a couple of those soil block tools but I can never get my soil block to stay in one piece.  I tried making the mixture but I know there is something missing that I cannot seem to locate and I think it may be greensand.
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Post  Turan on 5/8/2018, 11:00 am

Kelejan, green sand is a fertilizer of trace minerals, as a sand it would make the soil blocks more likely to fall apart.  If the mix is not holding well, I add more peat.  Make sure the peat is fully hydrated before you start squeezing blocks.  Make sure the form is very full of mix and packed in tightly, I squish it with my hand to make sure.  What you want is that block to be compressed fairly tightly against the pan when you push the form off it.  You are basically making Jiffy pellets with out the mesh and not nearly as compressed as even a hydrated pellet is, so it is going to be more fragile. 
I press them out directly onto the pan and then seed them and put the pan on the heat pad.
Good luck  Seed Starting Mix vs. Jiffy Peat Pellets (experiment) 3170584802

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Post  Kelejan on 5/8/2018, 12:34 pm

Thank you, Turan.  I will give it another go. I know the two blockmakers are around somewhere.
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Post  landarch on 5/11/2018, 12:52 pm

Green sand is an ingredient in the "official" soil block recipe...it's too expensive for my liking so I skip it.

This year I tried to save money and buy a cheaper peat pellet...100% fail...I let a tray of them soak overnight and they did not hydrate and expand...I had to "expand" them by hand...later, all seedlings died like there was something toxic in the pellet.

Anyway, had snow what seems like just a few weeks ago...and now 90 degree + heat with wind...sugar snap peas drooping a bit during the day.
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Post  Nikko on 5/13/2018, 7:35 pm

Your seed starting medium that works best for you will maintain proper moisture. All seeds need is water to begin life. Temperature plays a big roll in the process. I used jiffy pellets this year and they worked well. Just follow the directions and you’ll sprout seeds. 

You can easily sprout seeds in paper towels too
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