Seeking the best gardening options
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” — Janet Kilburn Phillips
It sounded like a good idea. Biodegradable peat pots. As I pulled out some of the fall herbs from my raised bed I took out the clump of Thyme and out came almost the exact pot I planted in the late summer. The pot had not broken down, nor had the roots been able to escape the pot. In theory, biodegradable sounds good and probably works given the right conditions and length of time but in a home garden for annual herbs, veggies, flowers and single season crops, it leaves the plant root bound and unable to fully extend to reach water and nutrients.
For the home gardener, there are better options. Some of the more creative ones have been to plant a cutting/seed or division in a half egg shell. I’ve tried that and it works. I simply crushed the shell before planting. The shell breaks down and provides calcium for the growing plant. I’ve never seen egg shells remaining after the season. I use a method called soil blocking here on our farm. Last year we planted over 15,000 seeds and transplanted as many seedlings into the long rows on our farm. It is a great method. Once you buy the tools, they’ll last for years. Smaller blocks can be moved up to larger blocks for those seedlings that need more time to grow. When roots reach the edges, the exposure to air makes them stop, turn or head down. This is called air pruning.
A good idea on paper isn’t necessarily a practical idea in practice.
Editor’s note: Mechel Wall is owner and operator of both The Cottage Flower Shop and Wallflower Farm. She can be contacted at blooms@ wallflowerfarm.net.