Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cow Pots vs. Peat Pots

(See February 1 and May 9, 2007 posts.)

The cow pot versus peat pot experiment this summer showed no advantage to cow pots (at least in my garden).

I planted 4 cuttings of the same variety of coleus - 2 in cow pots and 2 in peat pots. I tried to keep the size of the plants similar - about 2” - and planted in the garden on May 14. I planted the peat pot on the left and the cow pot on the right. I tore the bottom out of the peat pot and put a few holes on the side with my thumb nail and broke off anything above soil level. The cow pot top was broken off to the soil line. Both plants received the same amount of water and fertilizer during the summer.

I did this in two areas. During the summer, all plants grew fairly well. But, by September, the peat-potted plant was slightly larger in both instances. (peat pot left – cow pot right)

When I dug out the plants last week, the peat pot was still more or less intact. The cow pot had completely degraded. Although the cow pots served the purpose well for cuttings and are a great recycling effort, there was no noticeable contribution to the growth of the plant. I would use them again if I can find them locally at a competitive price.

I reuse small plastic pots for most of my cuttings. I use peat pots for cuttings taken late in the winter so I don’t have to disturb the roots when planting the young plants in the garden. I have a friend who reuses empty yogurt containers for cuttings. Now that’s recycling.

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