Fibre versus peat pots
Talking seedling pots. This season I learned something I never knew in all the years I have been growing Chillies. It would seem that not all” peat” pots are the same. They might look the same, and, in certain instances, carry the same name, but they are not !
This lesson was something I wish I had known about earlier. Much to my dismay, it cost me five of my seedlings. It was a lesson learned too late.
There is a difference
Let me explain. Over and above the pots, I mentioned in my last post ,I also have some seedlings in even smaller ones (about two inches by two inches). I noticed that these smaller pots weren’t behaving in the way I am used to. When I place the bigger pots in a seeding tray and bottom water them, their walls absorb water. They become drenched throughout. In doing so, they keep the soil that the seedlings are planted in moist. These smaller pots, on the other hand, don’t do this. I found that no matter how much water I placed them in, moisture was not getting wicked throughout. Only the bottoms appeared to be getting wet.
At first, I wasn’t too concerned. I believed that water was still getting to the soil. Even if it wasn’t wetting out the whole pot.
Then, a couple of my plants died. They just weren’t getting enough water. It seems these “Fibre compostable pots ” don’t absorb water at all. I might well have been planted them in plastic pots to achieve the same result.
What was the solution?
I cut holes in the bottom of the pots, and it would seem that the problem has been solved. Lesson learned. It appears that just because the product description might say it is a degradable bio pot, it does not mean that they are peat or are all the same.
In looking into it , I found that what I in fact had bought are called biodegradable “fibre” pots. The description didn’t mention peat at all. It would seem that these “compostable “Fibre ” pots can be made of a variety of other materials.
A final note
As can be gathered, I am a fan of peat based growing media for Chillies. Both peat pellets and pots have always given me good results. I am however also aware that there is a growing concern that peat usage is not good for the environment. Thus, next season I will try to stop using peat products. Other alternatives will be investigated and tried out.
There may be a silver lining ! The cutting of holes into the bottom of the ” Fibre pots ” has resulted in their walls gradually becoming damper. It appears that by allowing more water to be sucked up by the soil, the walls begin absorbing moisture. Maybe this whole learning curve hasn’t been such a disaster after all. I am a firm believer in not giving a seedling too much water. There may be an advantage to this reduced ability of the pots to absorb water. Let’s wait and see!