Biodegradable pots—such as Jiffy Pots, other peat pots, Cowpots and pots made from newspaper—offer an easy way to grow plants from seed and transplant seedlings into the garden. Because these pots break down naturally over time, the seedlings can be planted pot and all in the ground. Jiffy Pots, Cowpots and the like are especially great options for plants that do not like having their roots disturbed, such as nasturtiums and cucumbers.
There are two tricks to remember when transplanting seedlings in biodegradable pots:
1. Gently tear off the top half inch of the pot. If you leave this part of the peat pot or Cowpot on, it could wick water away from the soil surface and limit the amount of water that reaches the plant's roots.
2. Gently tear off the bottom of the pot, too, unless roots have already fully penetrated it. Removing the bottom of the peat pot, Cowpot or newspaper pot will make it easier for the seedling to take root and access nutrients and water from the ground.
In summary, when planting biodegradable pots with their seedlings in the ground, tear off the top and the bottom. It's easiest to do this if you soak the pot in water first.
Read about other options of containers for starting seeds.
Learn all about starting plants from seed in the downloadable recorded slideshow It Starts With a Seed.
Shop for special seed mixes from Renee's Garden. Many can be direct sown into the garden after the last frost.
Learn about starting from seed and caring for seedlings with the illustrated Smart Gardening Techniques: Seeds download or The Joy of Seeds, a compilation of seed- and seedling-related Horticulture articles.