Discover The Risk With Using Peat Pots For Starting Seeds by Hand This Season

Have you seen it?

The gardening aisle lined with a wall of seed starting products, with peat pots front and center.

So you buy your peat pots for starting your seeds and wait…

And voila! You have a seedling in a pot that’s on the verge of falling apart!

Peat pots are known as a solution to reducing transplant shock by decomposing in the soil when repotted. It’s a great alternative to plastic seed starting containers.

However, it’s not as good as it seems. There are many risks to consider before you start using peat pots. Sadly, there is no such thing as a perfect container material for seed starting.

Of course, you could always skip the whole process and buy plants instead.

Now, let me take a bit of your time and go through the risks of using peat pots for starting seeds. Trust me, it’ll save you SO MUCH time and money.

Aerial view of seed starting cells with tiny basil seedlings of different colors

Reasons to Not Use Peat Pots for Starting Seeds

1. Peat Pots Are Not A Good Enviornment for Starting Seeds

From my experience with using peat pots indoors and outdoors, peat pots are terrible in moisture regulation. And I’m not the only one.

Moisture regulation is vital for starting seeds to keep the seedling supported in its most fragile state. If the soil is too dry, your seedling will as well. And if the soil is too wet, your seed could start molding.

With moderate watering, containers need to regulate moisture to keep things balanced. Unfortunately, peat pots are not good at finding that middle ground.

In warm environments, peat pots can lose water in a couple of hours and pull moisture from the soil. Even if you water constantly!

And in wet, cold environments, your peat pot will hold too much water and home to harmful mold.

Wet peat pots don’t hold their structure very well either. Handling wet peat pots is a decaying, soggy mess.

basil seedlings in peat pots for seed starting on window sill

2. Peat Pots Are Not Enviornmentally Friendly

Peat is mined in wet areas like bogs and marshes, growing 1/16th of an inch every year for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. It’s like coal. Companies are mining more peat than what is being replenished. This causes many endangered plants and other species that benefit from peat bog to face the threat of extinction.

The process of peat mining goes as follows. The water from the bog is drained, and the entire area dries out and dies. After, all surface vegetation is scraped away so the top layer of peat is exposed to the sun and wind. Then, it is tilled to speed up the drying time.

This is devastating because peat bogs store a third of the entire world’s soil carbon, when it’s harvested it releases that. It’s so much that peatland fires account for up to 5 percent of human-caused carbon emissions.

To put that tiny percent to scale, that’s 1.65 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced yearly, as of 2019.

basil seeds in peat pots for seed starting on window sill

3. The Price Isn’t Worth It Year After Year

Once a peat pot decomposes, that’s it. It’s done its job, and you can’t use it again.

I don’t like increasing my yearly gardening expenses more than I have to. This is why I often refer to terracotta or plastic [gasp!] because it can be recycled year after year for zero cost.

Besides, if I wanted a decomposable seed starting container, I would use either coconut coir pots or eggshells.

Yes, eggshells.

Eggshells are excellent fertilizer and help your seedlings gain strength with their pure calcium, which strengthens your plant’s “bones”. All you need to do is prepare your eggshells correctly and use them as a tiny pot to plant your seeds. Then, you can bury the entire thing whole without disturbing the roots.

If you’re amazed by that, check out other uses for eggshells here!

So What Now, Sarika?

Now that I’ve educated you a bit on peat pots for starting seeds, how about growing some plants yourself? 5 Vegetables That Grow Quickly In Pots is a perfect starter post for plants that grow in 2 months or less!

If you’re already blown away by the value of this post, check out my book,  “You are a Gardener: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Gardening”. I talk about my specific process of going from a black thumb to supporting 2 guinea pigs with a garden alone!

Still on the fence? You can join my book email list to get even more announcements and info.

That’s all for now, Happy Gardening! Till we meet again.

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My name is Sarika, and I am the founder of “The Blossoming Gardener”! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…Read more

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