As an organic gardener I follow the practices of the Scotts company carefully. On the one hand, they are a sponsor of an organization to which I belong–the Garden Writers–and they are very generous to that group in helping it with its annual conference so I am always grateful for that.
But on the other, as someone who is committed to organic gardening, I find that there are very few of their products that I can support (I do use their organic potting soil) and there are some (Round-up, for example) that I feel I have to protest when ever I can, regardless of company affiliation.
Now Miracle-Gro, one of Scotts companies, has come out with a way to make vegetable gardening easier for those just beginning, or those with very little time.
They have put together a line of (trademarked, of course) what look to be peat capsules which contain a planting medium of some sort (one of their soil mixes, of course) together with a vegetable or herb seed already planted at the correct depth–and at the bottom of the capsule, slow release fertilizer (think Osmocote for vegetables) that will feed the plant all summer.
It’s quite ingenious. For folks who are a little hesitant about starting seeds, or for those who have had bad experiences with seeds in the past, this is the perfect thing. Best of all, the Gro-ables (as they are called) are guaranteed for 6 months, so that if you do have “crop failure” (as I call it when my seeds don’t grow) you can get your money back. What’s not to like?
So far as I can see, these things are sold on-line, in both single vegetable pods and whole salad and herb garden kits. Here’s the link to the site.
The actual site also has a video of how to plant the pods, recipes of how to use the harvest, the requisite FAQ section (including what to do if animals dig up your pod) and more.
The only drawback (other than the fact that these use peat, a non-renewal resource, and of course use non-organic fertilizer–but heck, everyone is not as picky as I am!) for the novice gardener that I foresee is that the video shows that the planted pod should be level with the soil. That leaves a lip of peat above ground. That can actually act as a wick to dry out the entire mass. Time will tell if that proves to be a real problem for the gardener.
Another tiny quibble that I have is that I could not see that the plants were identified by name–other than “Globe tomato” for example. But perhaps not everyone really cares to know the particular variety name of the tomato. I do.
Otherwise, this does appear to be quite an advance in making vegetable gardening from seed much easier.