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Gardener warns against major mistake that cost her 'so much time and money': 'It's best to skip these'

"I almost bought these last night and went a different route!"

"I almost bought these last night and went a different route!”

Photo Credit: TikTok

A gardening expert revealed a serious downside to those seemingly convenient peat pellets often advertised for starting seeds: They may not be as plant-friendly as they seem. Instead, she suggested using soil mixes and trays.


"Here's a mistake I made when starting seeds for the first time that I wish I would've known about because it would've saved me so much time and money," TikToker Sabrina (@sabrina.sustainable.life) began in her video. "And that is starting seeds in these peat pellets."

The pellets are made of compressed peat pucks individually wrapped in mesh. When watered, they expand into cylinders, which gardeners can use as a seed-planting vessel.

The issue is the mesh. "It's been advertised that you can leave this meshing on, and when you plant, the roots will go through it, and the meshing will degrade," Sabrina said. But that's not the case.

While the mesh is advertised as breaking down in 1-2 years, it doesn't actually decompose in that time — or seemingly at all. 

"Gardeners have found them in their gardens years after planting," she wrote. And instead of breaking down, the mesh entangles young roots and leaves seedlings grasping for purchase in the soil.

@sabrina.sustainable.life just my personal experience, but i know these do work for some people! starting seeds can be intimidating, and while I'm not an expert, I'be learned a lot along the way! #gardening #beginninggardener #seedstarting #gardening101 #gardentok #garden #seedstartingtips #seedstartingkit #ecotok #sustainableliving #growfood ♬ original sound - Sabrina

"It's best to skip these overall," she noted in the video.

"Those mesh will live longer than any of my children," someone wrote. "Just dealt with ripping roots off my seedlings because I used these pods," another commented.

One solution is to cut the mesh off the pellets, though Sabrina recommended skipping them altogether and using seed starting mix and reusable plastic trays. "I use the plastic containers that strawberries come in. I just save them over time," another person commented.


Damaging seedlings is every gardener's nightmare, and the costs add up. Besides wasted seeds, the pellets are more expensive than potting mix, and the effort required to remove the mesh wastes time.

Skipping the peat pellets is also better for the planet. Jiffy states on their website that they're switching to PLA netting, which is "biodegradable and compostable under controlled, industrial conditions." But for the everyday gardener, conditions are neither controlled nor industrial, calling into question whether or not the netting will ever break down.

The benefits of a healthy garden are multifold. Growing your own food can help save money on produce, as well as reduce the demand for fruit and vegetables that are mass-produced, industrially farmed, and globally shipped — all of which have an environmental cost. In fact, up to 30% of the average household's carbon footprint comes from food. 

Finally, on a personal level, building a deeper connection to nature via gardening has been shown repeatedly to decrease stress and increase optimism


Many commenters had also struggled with the pellets. "Girl my first year doing this and I used alllll these on my seeds and they are so compact that my roots didn't grow," a frustrated commenter wrote. 

"I tried these this year and only my corn actually sprouted. Such a waste," said another.

"New gardener here! I almost bought these last night and went a different route!" someone wrote. "So happy I did."

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