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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Of Peat pots and watering Toplef10Of Peat pots and watering 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Of Peat pots and watering I22gcj10Of Peat pots and watering 14dhcg10

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Of Peat pots and watering

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acara
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Post  dizzygardener 3/4/2011, 9:45 am

This is my first time ever using peat pots. I have 2 inch pots, 3 inch pots, and the seedling trays.

I've noticed that these pots dry out very VERY quickly. I find myself watering my plants once and sometimes twice a day. Is this normal? I've also noticed that bottom watering doesn't seems to be very effective. Anyone else have this experience?

What can I do to keep the pots moist for longer periods of time?

Thanks
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Post  Lavender Debs 3/4/2011, 10:08 am

I don't have the same problem so much BUT like clay pots, sometimes I like to presoak peat pots before I use them.
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Post  acara 3/4/2011, 10:47 am

I'm a "seed rookie" .... so take this with a grain of salt

Not positive that this is the problem, but I've noticed;


  • The problem tends to be with the MM or media (more than the pot itself)
  • The problem is much worse with commercial "seed starting mix" (some of the commercial stuff almost requires a blender or mixing bowl to get it wet the first time).
  • Excessive watering creates problems with the pots falling apart when you finally transplant them. It's a nightmare extricating "over-soaked" pots if your using the plastic pot holders
  • The surface of the media dries out and keeps the water from pentrating the mix below the surface ....and it makes a big mess (overflow) on sucessive waterings.

I've found that if you saturate the pot/media with warm/hot water first (allow to cool before inserting seeds), then it's easier to maintain hydration.

I've also found that poking a coupe holes or fluffing the surface with a plastic fork, prior to watering, helps the water go all the way through the media. The other trick that seems to work is to apply a little water, wait a minute or so, then apply a little more ..... wash/rinse/repeat until all the media in the pot is saturated.
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Post  dizzygardener 3/4/2011, 11:42 am

I definitely did presoak the pots and the seed starting mix before I planted the seeds. Still, Sometimes I get up in the morning to check my seeds and find that the pots and the mix are dry as the Sahara desert!

This morning I did a combination of top and bottom watering. I think I've got them mostly saturated (it only took about an hour!).

This is frustrating. This might be my last go at peat pots...
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Post  Lavender Debs 3/4/2011, 12:07 pm

dizzygardener wrote:This is frustrating. This might be my last go at peat pots...


Ya, that is why I have switched to roll your own newspaper pots. My sweet husband is looking for the least expensive way to get quiltbea's cube things for me. (shipping cross country is the $$ issue)

I see that TSC makes pots from Cow Pucky.
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Post  acara 3/4/2011, 12:18 pm

Something else that may be contributing (if you growing indoors) is the dry heat indoors, soaking the moisture out of the plant & into the air. A/C units remove humidity by design and dry heat is even worse.

I see it all the time when I bring my plants indoors during cold spells (especially my orchids, because they are exposed root or spaghnum moss planted). My water requirement almost doubles vs. when they are outdoors. I also have to be careful not to put the plants near vents/ducts, as the increased air flow accelerates the "wicking" from plant to atmosphere.

I've noticed the same effect while starting seeds indoors this year.
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Post  cuppajava 3/8/2011, 10:43 am

I'm new here, but just wanted to say that I've had the same problem with the peat pots. They dry out in less than half a day, and I cannot get seeds to germinate and stay alive. Those that germinated died in a few days because I couldn't keep them from drying out.

I took some regular dirt from my front garden and mixed it half and half with the contents of the peat pots (I have the peat pots that are like peat wrapped in a plastic-y mesh stuff, and you soak the pellets until they expand into a "pot") and planted my seeds. Those sprouted and have done very well.
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Post  dizzygardener 3/8/2011, 10:54 am

I don't have germination problems with the peat pots. They just get dry very quickly. I find if I saturate the pots I can get away with resoaking them every other day. Sometimes I spritz them with a green tea chamomile solution in between waterings.

The peat pellets I still have to water everyday. I've decided though, that I don't like the peat pellets. I will not use them again. My germination rate with them have been horrible (less than 50%) whereas, the things I've planted in the peat pots have all come right on up.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 3/8/2011, 1:35 pm

Late to the party, but my two cents...

My peat pots/pellets dried quickly, too. Not that it was a big deal to me. I had more trouble with transplanting and uppotting.

So, I reread Mel's seed starting section and decided to give his technique a try.....seed starting in vermiculite. And, I am much happier right now.

Of Peat pots and watering 5509999344_c8ac84c09f_z

This is lettuce that will go directly in the garden when they sprout their first two "ears." However, I have already transplanted broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and carrots this way, too. Yes, spinach and carrots. Both are doing fine in the garden after about 5-6 days or cool temps....no hardening off.....just straight in to the MM. The vermiculite gets reused. So, a 4 cu.ft. bag will likely last forever.

I am now working on the lettuce. Next will go peas. I have some tomatoes and peppers started right now....that are staying inside for awhile. The toms and pepps are sitting under grow lights and came from my last forray with peat pellets. I dropped them into potting mix and they are doing fine. But, I wish I had started them in the vermiculite, too.

I know this doesn't directly answer the topic, but I thought it worth mentioning because the vermiculite is easy as pie to keep moist. And, once the seeds sprout, they can go right into MM or potting mix cups. No more straight peat. And, with a little additional soil.....or vermiculite added into the uppots, you can keep things moist much easier, imho.

Hope that helps a little.
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Post  Kabaju42 3/9/2011, 12:05 am

Dizzy have you had problems with other kinds of pots? I really wonder if you're right next to a heat or AC vent that's drying it out too fast. Also what soil do you use? I've used straight Mel's mix and had great results (one of the things about the mix is it's ability to hold water.) Of course in the end if you don't like the peat pots then don't use them (not that you need our permission either way Wink ). I was in the garden center the other day and I found that you can just buy the little plastic six pack pots that they sell plants in. If nothing else you might try those.
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Post  FarmerValerie 3/9/2011, 8:20 am

Kabaju42, which store were you in? I have several trays of the 6 pot planters for seed starting, but would love some larger options. I have yet to see any for sale with out the plants.
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