Testing Seed Starters for Spring Seedlings

MOTHER tests eight spring seedling seed starters kits for the garden. Includes information on durability, ease of use, access to buy, and overall rating.

| March/April 1988

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    The standard depth is three inches for seedlings that will stay in the starter for up to a month and six inches for those that will remain from four to six weeks.

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A close look at eight home gardening seed starters for your spring garden.  

Testing Seed Starters for Spring Seedlings

Peat Pot

Description: Individual square or round pots made of pressed peat moss and plant nutrients. A popular brand called Jiffy Pots can be bought in connected groups of 12, called Jiffy Strips. They are used with standard plastic flats or specially sized Jiffy Set flats.

Durability: One-time use. Peat pots are meant to break down in the soil.

Ease of use: These plant-it-all containers have been popular with home gardeners for a good while, but I noticed a few potential drawbacks. Round pots seem a waste of space when compared to square ones. Individual pots are a pain to keep standing when you're filling them (sets are easier). And the peat walls tend to wick water away from the soil. Granted, this does promote good drainage and root aeration, but the extra waterings thus required promote algae growth, as well. You also need to tear peat pots when transplanting (they don't always break down readily), and you should bury them completely—any edge left above the surface will wick moisture away from the root zone.

Access: Local garden nurseries and many seed and garden supply catalogues, including Park Seeds (Greenwood, SC7). Eight Jiffy Strips (a total of 96 pots) cost $5.95 plus $1 shipping and handling.

Rating: * * Peat pots require too much watering and can be inconvenient to use.

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