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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Start Seeds in Peat Pots for a Jump on Spring

Lucy Mercer
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Get a jump on your spring vegetable garden by starting your plants indoors. All you need are peat pots, growing medium, seeds and a light source.

Peat pots make quick work of starting seeds. The beauty of using peat pots is that transplanting the seeds into the garden becomes a snap. The pot breaks down and becomes part of the soil. There is no packaging to throw away and no plastic to recycle.

Peat pots are made of a compostable combination of peat and wood and can be used for starting all kinds of vegetables and flowers. They are ideal for fragile seedlings such as cucumbers and okra that may be difficult to transplant because of delicate roots.


Steps to Planting In Peat Pots

  • Fill peat pots with soilless potting mix and place in tray.
  • Place seeds in each pot. Use a pencil eraser to push tiny seeds into the soil.
  • Your growing kit or mini greenhouse may come with a plastic dome to cover the plantings. Otherwise, cover the tray with a length of loose plastic wrap.
  • Look for a warm place in your home, like on top of a refrigerator or radiator. You can also use a heated seed mat. Once the first leaves appear, slightly vent the wrap or dome.
  • Be sure to keep the peat pots consistently moist. Use a plant mister a couple times a day or pour water into the bottom of the tray and let the plants wick it up through their roots. Do not let the pots sit in water.
  • Once the second set of leaves, called true leaves, appear, remove the cover and put the tray near a light source such as a sunny window or grow lights.


When seedlings are mature and the danger of frost is nearly past, the seedlings are ready for the garden.

Harden off seedlings by gradually introducing them to outdoor temperatures. (Learn more about hardening off seedlings.)

When planting seedlings in peat pots, tear away the edges of the pot and make sure none of it is exposed above the soil.

Sometimes roots become so intertwined with the peat pot that it’s difficult to pull the roots away. In that case, moisten the pot so it will decompose quickly and plant the entire pot, being sure to pull away the top part because the peat pot can wick moisture away from the seedling.

Peat pots are also included in growing kits. Learn more about using growing kits to start seedlings here.

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