When you’re shopping for biodegradable pots with permeable sides for seed-sowing, something you might well need in order to transplant fragile seedlings into the garden without disturbing their roots, you can, of course, easily find models made from peat or coir (coconut fiber) … but there is also another possibility: pots made from cow manure.
Yep, I’m not kidding; cow pat pots! The brand name is CowPots.
Just fill the fibrous-looking brown pots with moist soil and sow your seeds in the center. When the time comes to transplant them to the garden, you just “plant the pot rather than the plant.” In other words, you bury the pot in the ground, leaving the young plant’s root system undisturbed inside. No more transplanting stress!
The porous nature of the CowPots sides allows the roots to grow through the pot and expand into the soil all around it. In addition, CowPots naturally contain minerals useful for seedling growth, including nitrogen.
Moreover, the nitrogen contained in the pot sides promotes their natural decomposition. Less than 3 or 4 weeks after planting them out, they’ll start to disappear. At the end of the season, they are no longer there!
Safe and Ecological!
CowPots give off no unpleasant odors and are perfectly safe to handle, since heat treatment has destroyed all possibly noxious germs (and also weed seeds). And all this is done ecologically: a biodigester dries the manure and the resulting methane is used to run the manufacturing facility!
In Canada, EcoCert Canada has approved CowPots for organic agriculture.
History of CowPots
CowPots are the creation of brothers Matt and Ben Freund, second-generation dairy farmers in the northwest hills of Connecticut. Matt started experimenting with manure fibers on the kitchen table, drying the pots in his wife’s toaster oven. This didn’t do much for his marriage, but it allowed him the ability to share his vision with other people. Since 1997, they are one of only a few farms across the United States to have continuously run a methane digester.
After many trials and tribulations, the brothers found an economical way to mass-produce pots of limitless sizes and shapes. CowPots has since evolved in production capacity and become a state-of-the-art facility that can create energy for the farm, fertilizer for the fields and CowPots.
Where to Find Them?
In Canada and the US, you can probably find CowPots in a garden center near you or even a hardware store. Otherwise, look for them online at TrueValue.com and Amazon.com in the US and W.H. Perron and Veseys in Canada. In Europe, where the product has only recently been introduced, you probably will have to order them on the Internet. Amazon is one likely source. And you can find them on eBay in Australia.
CowPots: the pots you plant!