rdback

Peat Pellet users, you might want to look... (pics)

rdback
11 years ago

Hi folks,

I posted this last year and, since it's that time again, thought I'd post again.

If you use peat pellets and they have the "netting" around them, you should remove the netting prior to transplanting.

A few years ago, I had a pepper plant that was very disappointing. It didn't perform well at all - kinda dwarf and very low fruit production. When I pulled it in the Fall, I found out why.

This was a Jiffy-7 pellet.

Just an FYI -- Rick

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Comments (52)

  • aubade
    11 years ago

    Yep, I used them for the first time last year and found the same thing. Even this spring, when I was cleaning out my raised beds I pulled up the remains of a couple beets I had mistakenly started in them last August, and it looked just like that! Obviously, the beets never grew right and sure enough, even after being in the soil all winter the peat pot was still completely intact. In fact, I just found a pic.

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • aubade
    11 years ago

    Or rather, sorry - I'm calling it a peat pot in my above post but I meant peat pellet! The expanding type with the netting.

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  • lilion
    11 years ago

    Too bad - I already have mine in the ground! Well, here's hoping the brussels sprouts get big enough to bust out. I had already decided that this was my last year for using them anyway, they are a pain and just don't have enough room to suit me.

  • seamommy
    11 years ago

    Another issue I have with them is that sometimes they may appear to have expanded and filled with moisture, but they have a dry spot in the middle. I had a whole flat of them and they never germinated any seeds. When I pulled them apart to find out why, they were hollow inside. I've switched to potting mix in individual cell flats. This way, I fill 'em up and I know what's in 'em. I haven't lost a single seed since I switched. Cheryl

  • jimster
    11 years ago

    Has anyone EVER had good results with peat pellets? I suspect not. Please speak up if you have.

    Jim

  • shebear
    11 years ago

    Actually I have had good luck but I knew what to do. I generally rough up the roots on all my transplants so the netting was sure to go.

    As for watering I know peat is a bear to get wet so I make sure they are wet all the way through and then only water when they are almost dry.

    I do find I like seed starting mix better and use it most of the time but if the peat pellets are free, I'll take them.

  • ruthieg__tx
    11 years ago

    Someone posted a thread a year or so ago and I mentioned that I have used them. I have never had a complaint with using them but I quit after reading that thread. I do occasionally still find one of the expended pellets mesh and all in my beds...I don't even leave the peat pots on my plants..I have removed the peat pots and found the roots just circling and wrapping inside so now I just take them off or most of the time I have plenty of cell packs to use.

  • digdirt2
    11 years ago

    rdback - do everyone a BIG favor and post these pics over on the Growing from Seed forum too. All the newbies there need to see these. ;)

    Dave

  • eaglesgarden
    11 years ago

    I found this out the hard way last year. I did all my herbs from seed indoors last year, and while the basil did great, the roots were all bound up in the pellet netting. I swore right then that I wouldn't leave the netting on again.

    I've been potting up some tomatoes that I started in peat pellets, and have CAREFULLY removed the netting. I've lost a root hair or two in the process, but I don't think that it has been a problem, they look just as good as the ones started in seed starting mix "soil blocks" I made.

  • bagardens (Ohio, Zone 5b)
    11 years ago

    Just wondering if you are going to remove the netting then why not just use cell packs or regular pots? It seems to me that if you remove the netting you would disturb the roots more than when you remove them from regular pots, so I do not see a benefit there. Cell packs are cheaper because you can reuse them every year. Plus I think they are much easier to control the wetness of the dirt. It could be just me, but I don't see what the benefit of using peat pots or peat pellets over regular pots is.

  • anney
    11 years ago

    hoosiercherokee
    Pictures in original post indicate misuse of peat pellets.

    Not according to Jiffy directions for their use. Users are NEVER advised to remove the netting but are instead told that the roots will grow right through the netting. Most people have to learn through trial and error that things ain't always what the hype says.

  • naturalstuff
    11 years ago

    peat pellets are a waste of money! I hate them, will never use them again.

    I dont care if you have to cut it, rough up the roots or pull it out of the peat pellet.

    Horrible invention

  • tn_veggie_gardner
    11 years ago

    I've never had any problems with peat pellets because I always remove the netting. It tears off quite easily.

  • bcskye
    11 years ago

    I've never had any problems with peat pellets, either. When originally wetting them, I water some from the top to soften them up and the rest in whatever I'm using to hold them. When I pot up the first time, I cut the netting from top to bottom in three to four sides - from upper hole to lower hole. Guess I've been extremely lucky.

  • HoosierCheroKee
    11 years ago

    Anney says: "Users are NEVER advised to remove the netting but are instead told that the roots will grow right through the netting. Most people have to learn through trial and error that things ain't always what the hype says."

    Well, for those of us who seldom follow directions, refer to what I said above: "Use your head and use your fingers. Works every time."

  • eloquinn
    11 years ago

    I've never had much luck with peat pellets either. Last year I tried them for the first time with tomatoes. I planted about 10 different varieties in peat pots and after nearly 2 weeks I didn't have any sprouts so I went ahead and replanted in flats with MG potting soil and had germination in about 3 days. The seeds in the peat pellets eventually did germinate but grew much slower.

    On the plus side I had so many extra plants by spring that I was able to sell quite a few of them on Craig's List.

    I do always remove the netting since only a few roots seem to manage to get through it. This typically tears off a few roots but once they're potted up they seem to recover quickly and grow much faster.

    I still have quite a few peat pellets left. They are convenient for handling extra sprouts in a cell. I just gently pull out the extra and poke it into a peat pellet. Hopefully I'll be able to sell the extras again this year.

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
    11 years ago

    I've had mixed results when leaving the netting on. If plants are set out before they get too big for the pellets and if the soil and pellet are on the wet side for the first week after planting out it seems to go okay. Since that's alot of ifs I've taken to pulling the netting off all the time now, plus I don't end up finding it in the soil a year or two later.

    Why do I bother using them? If I want to quickly plant a half dozen seeds I can pop 6 of them in an empty Wendy's salad container and add some warm water. Come back an hour later and tuck in 6 seeds and put the clear lid on. No big bag of seed starter mix in the house, no dust flying from the dry mix and getting in my eyes and lungs and no need to find out if I still have clean cell packs anywhere. But mostly I try to avoid using them.

  • clumsygrdner
    11 years ago

    I never use peat pellets because of the drying out issue. I still find the pictures very educational.

    I also find it educational that people will use any sort of helpful post as an opportunity to post offensive messages.

  • linchat
    11 years ago

    I am going to ask the dumb question here cuz maybe someone else (I hope) is wandering the same thing and I am curious.

    What exactly am I seeing and what is the problem in the opening photos? I have never seen netting like this on a plant before.

    Is it that the roots never broke out?

  • anney
    11 years ago

    Rick

    You know what I'd do?

    I'd also send those pictures to the Jiffy-7 people and advise them that this is why many gardeners won't use them. In your shoes, I'd suggest that they develop a safe biodegradable netting or perforated cup to replace the plastic netting, maybe even a perforated gel of some kind that will disintegrate in a few weeks with moisture.

    I think the "idea" of Jiffy-7s is great because they take up so little room under inside lights and they're self-contained. You can either buy little greenhouses to house them or use plastic containers with lids that some grocery items come in. As I say, I don't see them as a bad idea, just a lousy use of plastic.

    If they don't do it, somebody else will and people will continue to refuse to buy them except in a pinch.

  • archerb
    11 years ago

    Strange. Maybe I'm doing something right because I've had no problems. I've planted over 100 plants this year using peat pellets. My most recent plants, Nasturtiums, not only grew their roots through the netting, but through the netting of the pellets next to them! OK, so I've had one problem; pulling the root systems apart before planting in the ground.

    Maybe I just haven't grown the wrong stuff in peat pellets yet. But so far, I've had near 100 percent germination rate and no dampening off. The only plants I've had die after going into the ground have been the victims of cutworms.

    Note: I have heard that peppers do not do well in peat pellets, which is what the original poster was growing. Although I had heard was a germination problem, not a netting one.

    Also, I'm not saying the original poster didn't have a problem or that anyone else didn't have any problems. Someone asked if anyone had good luck with peat pellets so I'm answering; I've had a GREAT experience with peat pellets.

  • greenmulberry
    11 years ago

    linchat, you are correct, the issue is that the roots didn't bust out and instead were bound up inside the netting. Ideally the plant would have been sending roots down deeper, but it couldn't because of the netting.

  • rawb
    11 years ago

    First time this year with jiffy pellets. Have Roma tomatos in the big tomato pellets,peppers and some beaf steaks in the medium 25 pellet starter and some big momma's in a small 12 pellet starter.

    This is my first yr with pellets checked them the 2nd or 3rd day ( I know, just antsy ) didn't check till the 6th day. Wow 1/2 to 2/3 sprang up and were bending over at the dome! So I hope I can pot up and plant them deep to keep them from getting leggy..

    Point is everything seemed to germinate just fine for me, in the jiffy pellets. Thanks to the OP and others for the heads up or I would have just followed directions and planted the netting in the ground. Will be removing the netting... Thanks

  • bdobs
    11 years ago

    I had wonderful results with the Jiffy Peet Pellets this year. Was my frist year growing from seed, and I will do the same next year.
    I had 100% germination from 72 Tomatoes and 72 Peppers.
    I ripped off the netting when I potted up to 10oz cups.
    There were quite a few roots that ripped, but it didnt seem to matter.
    They are now in 20oz cups about ready to go outside.

    Here are some pics of the progression up to 6 weeks

    {{gwi:31511}}
    {{gwi:31513}}
    {{gwi:31515}}
    {{gwi:31517}}

    Yes, rip off the netting!!!!

  • ryan_tree
    11 years ago

    I use them to grow ALL of my trees from seed, and they seem to work great, so long as you keep 'em wet. And also as mentioned take off the netting.

  • ragtimegal
    11 years ago

    I, too, had success with the pellets. I sowed 34 seeds, and 32 germinated (the two that did not were of the same variety). I made sure they were plenty plumped up with water when I sowed the seeds and was actually worried that I had added too much water initially. I removed the netting when I potted up the seedlings, which was at roughly one week. A few roots ripped, but all of the plants are healthy and growing strong (think almost as good as bdobs!). This is my first year to grow from seed, and I am quite pleased with the results.

    I will definitely use them again, but as is with much of gardening...to each his own! :)

  • gardener_sandy
    11 years ago

    Rick, thanks for taking the time to dig this plant up and find out what was going on to cause it's problem. And thanks for letting us know what you found. All too often we see something that is not doing well in our garden but don't find out the cause and then it gets repeated year after year, or we just give up on that particular plant. Posts like this help all of us learn and become better gardeners.

    I've used peat pellets successfully but I'm not especially gentle when I plant things out so I have always torn the netting off or at least torn it in places so the roots could expand.

    I agree with anney that you should send these pictures to Jiffy. And we would be interested to hear their response, if any!

    Sandy

  • larenatc
    11 years ago

    I used Ferry Morse starter pellets from Lowe's this year and some Jiffy pellets. The FM ones held their moisture much longer and seedlings seem to do better in them in comparison to the Jiffy pellets. Just like anything else, you get what you pay for. The netting on the FM pods seem to have less of a death-grip than the Jiffy cement pellets.

  • wild_forager
    11 years ago

    I use them for tomatoes and last year I did a trial where I left some on and took some off. I saw no difference. Perhaps it's because tomatoes are planted deep and new roots grow from the stems. But just in case I will remove the netting this year.

    By the way, what plant is that in the picture? Could it be that some plants just handle it better than others?

  • skatcon
    11 years ago

    I've used peat pellets for many years(20?) I always pot up the seedlings the day I see the first white root coming through the netting. I have never had problems and in order to double check I went out and pulled up some plants from last year. The peat and netting were still there,it's true the netting is a nuisance, but all of the root systems were very well developed and had easily pierced the netting.
    I do know that if I let the plants stay in the peat pellets too long before potting up, the roots leaving the pellet will get air pruned and the roots in the pellet will start circling. Once they start circling they won't grow straight out again. This condition is much worse if I get negligent in watering and the peat dries even slightly.
    It would be fantastic if they would use a biodegradable substance.
    Every surface in my house has seedlings on it, and we had 15 inches of new snow. :(

  • rdback
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Folks, please keep in mind the intent of the original post.

    If you use peat pellets, I suggest you remove the netting.

    If you don't, the photos show what can happen.

    Just that simple. I'm not recommending or condemning peat pellet use. I'm simply sharing an experience in the hopes others can learn from it.

    To those who expressed appreciation - you're welcome.

    To those who chose to attack - well, some things (and people) just never change.

    Have a great growing season!

    Rick

  • skagit_goat_man_
    11 years ago

    The product discussed in this posting is a Jiffy 7 peat pellet. The Jiffy 9 doens't have the netting and buying them is a lot easier than removing the Jiffy 7's netting. Tom

  • anney
    11 years ago

    SGM

    The binder for the smaller "netless" Jiffy-9 must be bitumen, "a black, oily, viscous material that is a naturally-occurring organic byproduct of decomposed organic materials. Also known as asphalt or tar..."

    It may be fine if small bits of it end up in your garden, better than small pieces of plastic netting, but I think I'd hunt around for another binder!

  • tomakers
    11 years ago

    I have been using jiffy7 pellets since they have been available. The 1st year I saw a problem with the netting and since have always removed it when I pot up or plant and NEVER have a problem.
    You are advised to SOAK the pellets before using. This eliminates any dry centers. I have NEVER had a germination issue.
    I LOVE Jiffy pellets.
    JMO,
    Tom

  • rdback
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    ...just a bump for this years' plants. *smile*

    Rick

  • rdback
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    ...bump one more time. Not sure it worked last time.

  • luvahydrangea
    8 years ago

    wish I could bump this to the seed starting forum :)

  • gardener_sandy
    7 years ago

    Bumping this to the front page for anyone planning next year's garden. I don't know if the pellets are different now but it's a lesson that needs repeating for any newcomers.

    Sandy

  • cheapheap
    7 years ago

    I have had problems with netted peat pellets as well. Peat cell packs (filled with bagged seed starter) were even worse for me - they dry far too quickly and create a barrier to roots. I know that these are the options that major retailers are pushing and it is definitely possible to have a successful garden using these methods. I would suggest to those who have not tried it to use (somewhat reusable) plastic cell packs filled with a bagged seed starting media. The price is comparable the first time, better in the long run (they can be cleaned), without the problems of the other products. The alternate products under perform.

  • rdback
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    ...'tis time for the reminder.

    Rick

  • Natures_Nature
    6 years ago

    "rdback - do everyone a BIG favor and post these pics over on the Growing from Seed forum too. All the newbies there need to see these. ;)"

    How about we all do eachother a favor and take that picture and post it next to peat pellets in everystore that sells it.

    I know some people actually root cutting in these peat pellets, they transplant them to medium when the roots protrude the netting. I never seen nor experienced what the picture shows, but i just find them an overall poor seed medium choice. They are too small, nearly all peat, prone to overwatering, and not enough aeration.

  • CaraRose
    6 years ago

    Peat pellets are on my never again list. Ugh

  • JoppaRich
    6 years ago

    I see this bumped every year, and I have the same conclusion.

    This isn't a problem with the netting, its a problem with that peat pellet not being wetted properly. You'll see the same sort of root system in top watered peat where parts of the soil are allowed to become hydrophobic.

    " the issue is that the roots didn't bust out and instead were bound up inside the netting"

    Its very clear looking at the picture that this is NOT the issue. The issue is that the plant never GREW into peat, most likely because it was allowed to become hydrophobic. Notice that there really isn't any root mass inside?

    I'm not a big fan of peat pellets (or peat as a starting medium as a whole), but this is clearly a moisture issue and not a netting issue.

  • LullabyF360
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the info everyone. I have a friend who is trying peat pellets this year. I have NEVER had any luck with them. The seeds had a low germination rate. Those that did sprout rarely saw it to their fourth leaf. I never thought to remove the netting. That doesn't matter really, since I have found better luck with other methods (which involves the noisy server in my laundry room HAHA!). I told my friend about my experiences with peat pellets. She may have better luck with them than I did, Everyone's magical touch is different. I will be passing along the link to this thread to her to help better the survival of her seedlings.

  • Alexis Kenny
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi we've found this extremely helpful. We have used the pellets since buying a 48 cell propagator kit with the pellets already in 5 years ago.

    Since then we now buy them on-line in 2000 unit boxes and have found propagator boxes, lids and inserts suitable for the 3 sizes of pellet. It suits us because only a percentage of seeds germinate and we don't want to left with 1/2 empty propagators on our limited windowsills. Also the cleanliness suits us in our kitchen with a toddler running about.

    I'm open to all suggestions and haven't historically checked whether rooting has been ideal after growing. We will definitely be making a number of incisions top to bottom before planting on, and will do this early on before the roots grow excessively out of the pellet.

    I would say this though the germination success varies depending on what's to be grown, tomatoes, chillies and peppers seem to love the Jiffy 7C, Kale, Cabbage, Brussels all seem to be growing too fast and are leggy (is this bolting?) And so my question is has anyone actually noticed whether the Jiffy7C (which contains 20% peat and not just coconut coir) may be too rich for certain veg? The Jiffy7 seems much better for certain veg thus accounting possibly for some of the irregularities described above?

    I also note that John Inne's potting composts get stronger as you go up through the range 1, 2, 3 etc. to feed larger plants. Clearly potting compost is less rich for a reason?

    I would welcome any input and and wish everyone the best for the coming season xx

  • booberry85
    5 years ago

    I've had good germination rates with the peat pellets. I too, learned from trial and error. What I do now is after the peat pellets are good and wet and have expanded, I cut off the bottom netting before planting the seeds. Once the seeds have germinated and I'm ready to pot up, I cut off as much of the netting as I can without disturbing the roots.

    Also keep in mind that peat does not have any nutrients for the seedlings. You're either going to need to give them plant food and or repot them in potting soil.


  • Lee James
    5 years ago

    Thank you the information. I wasn't happy when I see the white fuzz on the top on some of the pellets. If a seed didn't sprout and stay vigorous, the next thing I see is the white fuzz. Maybe the white fuzz is why it didn't continue growing. Hummm, I work too hard to have issues like this using such a small short cut. I have the individual cells...I will use them next year. Thanks..

  • Butchered Gardens ON CA
    4 years ago

    Wow, this has been a very interesting and informative read! I've been using Jiffy-7 peat pellets for a few years now and have always had fairly good success with germination but I've experienced the same problem as the original poster and many of you, the netting does not break and the roots do not grow through it. I'm also having a problem with using the pellets for perennials. During the following year's spring thaw the pellets are working their way back out of the ground - on their own and also with the help of the squirrels. Also, the pellets always seem to be a little too soggy for my liking in the spring.

    I'll now go out and cut the netting off of any I can that are exposed in the garden and also off of any of the new ones that I use this year during transplanting. I'll likely not use peat pellets again after this year.

    Thankyou everyone for your input on this thread.

    Good gardening!

  • bcskye
    4 years ago

    I've used peat pellets for many years to start seeds. I've known right from the start that you do not leave the netting intact. When I pot up my tomatoes, peppers, etc. into larger containers or plant outside, I strip the netting down at least three sides or more and across the bottom. To me, the pellets are very convenient and I keep using them without any hesitation, but you have to make sure you take care of the netting before planting up or out.

    Madonna