Thursday, May 15, 2014

Desert Gardening - Starting seed in Peat Pots

Two weeks ago (May 1), I wrote about the challenges of starting seeds outside in a desert climate.  Although I found ditching to be a very good idea, I wanted to try something different this year—peat pots.

Seed packaging will tell you that you should plant the seeds directly in the ground when all danger of frost is gone.  But with the shorter growing season we experience on the high desert plain, it seems like the weather goes from freezing to scalding in a matter of weeks.  This was a big reason I needed to refine my seed-starting techniques. 
Most plants are put directly in the ground because they don’t do well if their roots are disturbed, which is why I’m trying peat pots this year.  Now, this isn’t anything new.  Gardeners in northern climates use this technique to extend their growing season.  Although we have a short growing season here, getting the plants established because of the lack of water is a bigger motivation to starting plants inside.
So this year I will be trying planting seeds in peat pots that I once had only sown directly into the soil. Peas, Beans, Sunflowers, and Zinnias. It will be a little extra work to “harden” them off before putting the pots into the soil, but if it creates an environment where the seeds can grow before facing the harsh climate, then it may be worth it.
Your turn:  Have you ever planted anything in peat pots?  What success have you had?

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