Good Product: Expanding Peat Pellets for Starting Seeds

Peat pucks! How did we not know about these before? In previous seasons we started seeds in little pots of dirt, carefully digging them up when they were ready to transplant. But that was one more bag of dirt to buy and haul up the stairs. This year we got smart and used peat pellets.

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These Jiffy peat pellets come in little sacks of 25 or so.

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Each pellet is just a hard flat disc of compressed peat with netting over it.

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Then you put them in a plastic tray, pour warm water on top, and the pellets expand into soft little pucks of wet peat with the netting holding them together.

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Fun, right? Like those expanding sponge creatures and shapes you blew up in a sink of warm water when you were six years old.

Once the peat has expanded into a tiny sack of what looks black dirt, you press in 2-3 seeds, tamp them down, and put the tray in the sunlight.

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Here are our rows of mesclun lettuces, beets, cucumbers, beans, and radishes - all quietly germinating in their peat pucks.

When the first small sprouts come up we'll pinch off the weaker ones growing in each pellet and gently water what's left as the pucks dry out. Then these can be planted directly in the ground or in larger pots, which minimizes shock to the young plants.

These are highly convenient and rather fun - is anyone else using these to start their garden this year? You can buy these at any garden center; a bag of these runs about $3. You can also buy them from the online store we featured earlier today:

Jiffy Peat Pellets, $0.10 each at GrowOrganic

Related: City Gardening: How Do You Deal With the Mess?

(Images: Faith Hopler)