Fibre pots are a clever way of starting tender carrot and other root crops indoors early in spring. The advantages of this are obvious; Early crops, better germination rates, better use of space in the vegetable garden and no need for thining out crops later , hence avoidance of the carrot fly pest.
Transplanting carrots and other root crops wouldn’t be possible without the use of fibre pots. Other less effective ways such as growing seedlings in cardboard tissue rolls can also work but are often less effective as the cardboard can’t stand up to be wet and they can often become mouldy.
What most clever about the fibre pots is that that are bio degradable and will break down in the soil over time allowing the vegetable root to continue growing unhindered in the soil. Therefore seedling and pot can be placed directly in the soil avoiding any root disturbance. A traditional, plastic plant pot however does not break down in the soil meaning all seedlings must, at some point, be removed and planted elsewhere which can disturb roots and stunt growth.
If you want to grow root crops you must not disturb their roots. These vegetables rely on a single tap root for most of their nourishment and if this root is damaged the plant will struggle to develop. Vegetables not suited to transplanting and therefore i would suggest growing directly or indoors in fibre pots include the following:
Other great benefit of the fibre pot over conventional plastic pots is that fibre pots are more porous this allows for good drainage but also for air flow through the pots getting oxygen right to the plant’s roots. Fibre pots are also good at absorbing and retaining heat. This heat will warm up the compost within giving ideal growing conditions
Once your seedlings are large enough you can transplant them out into the garden. When transplanting fibre pots place the pot directly into the prepared soil. Bury to pot so that the rim is just under the soil surface. For top heavy plants such as turnips and swedes you can plant the pots a little bit deeper.
When spacing plants apart read the seed packaging first. Carrots are generally space 7 to 10 cm apart while Swedes can be space 15 to 20cm apart.
I suppose the only down side to a fibre pot is that is certainly isn’t reusable. This is of course the whole point of a fibre pot. While plastic pots can be used again and again over many years, fibre pots decompose in the soil. But the benefits are endless from higher germination rates, less completion from weeds, less need to weed in the early weeks, earlier harvest, better conservation of water and more!