I am not sure if I have been the only one who has experienced this, but I would strongly recommend people stop using the expandable peat pellets. I am not someone who likes to sugar coat things, and let me tell you. They are easy and that is about it. The numerous companies that sell the expandable peat pellet (one being jiffy obviously) does not realize what a detriment to your plants health they are causing. I recently used some of these peat pellets last year just to try them out, I am always looking for new ways to garden, and show people how to grow food easier with less effort. When I stumbled appon these, I had seen them before, but always figured they were to good to be true. Turns out, they really where… why? I will tell you. So I placed them in water, and just as advertised they swelled up to 4 times their size. I noticed the nylonish cover holding the entire thing together, but after doing a bit of looking around the companies stated the roots would grow right through them, and they would brake down over time… So I planted the seeds, and had plants growing before I knew it. Then it came to planting, some roots had begun to push through the nylonish cover and I thought to myself, "WOW.. this was way to easy!"
Later that summer After a few months I began noticing that the plant was stunted, and not very sturdy. I figured it was just the plant. But then as I began looking at the other pepper plants I had planted, I noticed that they were all very top heavy, and stunted. I let them grow obliviously.
This Spring I was cleaning out my beds and I came across those pepper plants that had died last summer without producing more than a few small peppers, and just did not do so well. I decided, "oh well they have been dead now for a year, might as well see what the covering did."…….. and to my shock, this is what I found.
There on the bottom of the roots was a completely in tact nylonish covering of the jiffy peat pellet. Nothing had broken down, and although the roots HAD indeed pushed through, you could see clearly the problem was caused from a totally suffocated root ball. The plants had no root structure, and actually were forced to root out from the stem to form adequate roots to sustain life.
I Want everyone to know these things, because nothing beats a good ol' solo cup and soil. No matter how easy things seam to get, they can always lead to failure, frustration, and ultimately more people quitting their gardens.