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Mixing and repotting

Filling peat pots

Today’s featured task: potting up tomatoes from plug sheets to 3″ peat pots. As with many things here this season, this is a little later than usual, by a week or so, as the new farm set-up gets squared away. (It should all even out sometime in June.)

This batch of seedling mix is about 50% compost, 25% peat and 25% perlite. Lynn and Andie did the blending on top of a stack of 4×8 plywood, using a shovel, and hand-crumbling clumps of peat and compost. With a little experience, it’s easy to judge a mix by squeezing it (or you can just follow a recipe exactly), but a fairly foolproof test, when using compost or soil, is to water-in a loosely packed pot: if the mix collapses into a muddy muck, you need (lots) more perlite/vermiculite/peat. Water should flow through leaving things still kinda fluffy.

Between tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, we’ll end up with maybe 900 potted-up transplants, aimed for the field in about three weeks. I’d decided to stop using peat pots this year because you have to keep buying them (they’re planted with the seedling). BUT: it’s so busy, there was no time for soil blocks, hadn’t had a chance to find a supplier for reasonably priced, small bulk quantity (reusable!) plastic pots, and we found an inexpensive peat pot supplier in town (they’re usually ordered and delivered), so it’s peat once again this year…

Mixing potting mix



  1. I have also been using peat pots this year.  I hope to get away from them next spring.   My greenhouse should be ready and I hope to purchase a large reusable box of starter pots.  

    I am reusing the failed peat pots today, those that the seeds did not sprout in.   How did this season get away so quickly this year!   So much rain here really kept us from a lot of available work hours.  

    Ah well, 2010 is another spring!   :)


  2. We use a pot we make from newspaper.  We’ve got a little gadget called ‘The Pot Maker’ where you roll up strips of newspaper and then form the bottom.  Lee Valley and Vesey’s have both carried it.  We sit around late winter-early spring and roll up our pots.  Great for things that don’t like transplanting like melons and some winter squash.

  3. Koert Organics

    I did that this weekend as well…I went with soil blocks all the way, so no choice but to make the 4′ blocks to pot on…it really is a lot of work, but hopefully it pays off.  Your mix is almost the same as the blocking mix I use…just add sand and lots of water!

  4. I love peat pots, I bought a big batch from Johnny’s (of the small ones).  I have a soil blocker as well, but I haven’t found the best mix for it yet, or the right trays.  

    I’m currently transitioning to real terracotta pots for my transplants, I figure it will take me a few years.  I have friends buying them up at garage sales and I buy a few every time I got to the greenhouse.  They stay moist so much longer than peat or plastic, but they’re heavy and expensive.  

  5. Anthony

    Hi, the pot maker you use is great however I’ve found a better one: it is called next generation paper pot maker and it is much cheaper. Plus you can add soil without damaging the pot you just made.

  6. very informative post, I have been doing alot of mixing and re-potting of my plants and I have been adding lots of soil amendments as well.

  7. Diana Adkins

    I’ve taken to drilling drainage holes in small clear plastic cups (like the punch cups) for transplanting. It’s working for me! Happy growing!

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