Starting With Peat Pellets

Starting Seeds With Peat Pellets

Download the “Starting With Peat Pellet” guidesheet here.

Peat Pellet Sprouting

If you want to get a head start on your garden, a great way to start is by planting your seeds in peat pellets.  This will help your seeds germinate in ideal conditions and will give you a 1-2 week jump start on those plants in your garden.

Peat pellets use peat and coconut coir as the growing medium that is wrapped in biodegradable netting. In the compressed, dehydrated form, they are easy-to-store pellets that keep all year round. Once you add water, the pellets decompress and become nice little containers for your seedlings.

This method works especially well for vining crops and flowers. Root vegetables, such as carrots and radishes, do best when directly sown into your garden.

Tomatoes, peppers and other long-growing plants, that are typically not direct seeded into your garden, can also be started in peat pellets. However, these plants should be started earlier and grown in a grow light unit so that they reach the ideal transplant size by your recommended outdoor planting date.

Getting Started…

Peat Pellets In Bowl

Find a container, such as bowl or tray, that can hold the peat pellets and add about 1/2 inch of water. Put the pellets flat in the water with the hole in the netting facing up.

Add 1/2 inch of lukewarm water and let them sit for about 5 minutes so they expand.

Peat Pellets

Once they’ve decompressed, drain the water and place the pellets upright in a container (old plastic plant packs work well for this).  Gently pull back a little of the netting at the top so that you have room to plant your seeds.


Using your finger, make a small hole in the peat pellet at the depth recommended on your seed pack for the seed variety you are planting.  Place 2 seeds in each peat pellet (you will need to thin to 1 seed if both sprout).

Peat Pellet

Once the seeds have been placed in the hole, pinch a little of the peat to cover the seed. Pour a small amount of water over the peat pellet and cover tray with plastic wrap or plastic cover.  When peat pellets begin to look dry, pull back plastic cover and water gently. Drain the excess water out of the tray.

Peat Pellet Sprouting

Keep a close eye on your plants for any sign of germination; this typically takes 2-3 days. Once you see any sign of something growing, take the plastic wrap off of the top of the tray and place in a sunny window. You can also put them in a grow light unit, if available or take outside during the warm, sunny days (take back in at night if temperatures drop).

If multiple seeds have germinated in the peat pellets, thin the plants down to one plant per peat pellet.

Peat Pellets in the Ground

Once weather conditions are warm enough for the variety you are growing to be planted outside (see our planting calendar), take the tray of peat pellets outside for a day or two to acclimate them to outdoor weather and wind.

Plant the peat pellets and their seedlings directly in the ground or raised bed in your garden (you do not need to remove the pellet’s netting) and water seedlings after planting.