Recycle Containers for Seed Starting: Start seeds in recycled cups + trays

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Recycle Containers for Seed Starting

By Shelly
December 15, 2011

Recycle small containers to start seeds in. One could use cleaned yogurt or gelatin cups, water bottles with the tops cut off, egg cartons, and the list could go on.

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 14, 2011 10:02 PM CST
It's great to find things with clear dome lids. they really hold humidity in, which is good until the first seedlings emerge.

Be sure to punch holes in the bottom for drainage!

It seems to me that if the tray or cup has biggish holes, and sits on a water-absorbent mat like cotton cloth, the bottom layer of soil mix drains better, which gives the deeper roots better aeration when I over-water.

And I like to add fairly coarse pine bark mulch chips & fibers (screened to around 1/8" to 3/8") for the same reason: encourage more water to drain out, so air can get to the roots. I don't like much peat or other fines in mt seed starting mix.

However, very fine seeds that need light and should be on the surface or barely covered NEED a fine surface, or they fall into crevices and never sprout. That's when I spread a little vermiculite on top of the shredded bark.
[Last edited by RickCorey - May 28, 2013 7:19 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #190254 (1)
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
Southwest Gardening~ moderator/ATP.
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer Forum moderator Region: Southwest Gardening Garden Ideas: Level 2 Roses
Birds Region: United States of America Garden Art Dog Lover Daylilies Hummingbirder
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Aguane
Dec 14, 2011 11:59 PM CST
I eat soy yogurt and save the little cups for starting seeds and mixing paints and holding safety pins, etc.

They work very well for young starts and like Rick says you've got to punch drainage holes. Once I tried sprouting seeds in dozen egg cartons. I found they were too shallow and didn't allow seed start roots to wander and grow. It was obvious!
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Dec 15, 2011 5:05 AM CST
Egg cartons are perfect for rooting little succulent pups and also offer some insulation for the plants. Thumbs up

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Dec 15, 2011 4:04 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #190294 (3)
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
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Gymgirl
Dec 15, 2011 10:45 AM CST
Rick,
That's a good tip about placing the flat on an absorbent mat. It probably wicks the water away from the soil, much like the earth does to a flowerbed...

Really nice tip!

Linda I tip my hat to you.
Name: Pegi Putnam
Norwalk, Ca. zone 10b
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: California Region: United States of America Plumerias
Container Gardener Garden Art Vegetable Grower
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Samigal
Dec 15, 2011 12:44 PM CST
I found some strudy plastic cups at the thrift store, think it was part of a game. Got 4 or 5 of them for a quarter and they already had holes in the bottom. The perfect container for starting seeds.
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
Southwest Gardening~ moderator/ATP.
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer Forum moderator Region: Southwest Gardening Garden Ideas: Level 2 Roses
Birds Region: United States of America Garden Art Dog Lover Daylilies Hummingbirder
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Aguane
Dec 15, 2011 1:29 PM CST
Tee, that's a great idea. I'll give it a try.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 15, 2011 3:24 PM CST
Thanks, Linda! Al (Tapla) gave me the idea, and yes, it is for pulling that perched water out of the bottom inch or so, giving the roots an extra inch or more.

But Al keeps reminding me that mats and wicks for pots are NOT as good as really really well-draining mix (and watering often).

So I keep trying to improve my potting mix by removing fines. In small cells only 1" or so accross (like a 72-cell tray) you can't use VERY big bark chunks! They don't fit well.

And seeds that need to sprout on the surface like petunias can't afford to fall into deep gaps between coarse chunks. I learned that last spring.

Off topic, I keep sabotaging sprouts by leaving them in shallow cells or cups too long, or even in 3" pots longer than their roots like. Partly I'm afraid to put them outside where slugs tend to mow them down, partly I never seem to have time when I need it, and partly laziness is always a factor.

Why don't soil mix recipies include a bushel of discipline as the most important ingredient?



Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Dec 15, 2011 4:00 PM CST
Great tip, and thanks to Rick, too, for a tip within a tip!

Anybody else addicted to those dang Keurig one- cups? They're about perfect for this.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Dec 15, 2011 4:06 PM CST
I eat yogurt for breakfast every morning so I generate a lot of yogurt cups. I use them for both seed starting and rooting cuttings.
Thumb of 2011-12-15/kqcrna/fc32b1

My current dilemma is that I've switched to Greek yogurt, same size container (6 oz) but wider, more shallow cups. I don't like those cups as well for my plants so I need to find a different brand of Greek yogurt with cups shaped so that my plants will like them. Hilarious!

No fancy homemade potting mixes here. I just use a good professional mix, usually ProMix, for everything. If I want faster drainage, I just add a little perlite.

Karen
Name: Larkie
Camilla, GA.. (Zone 8a)
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Larkie
Dec 15, 2011 4:42 PM CST
I still save lots of containers of all kinds, but for $1.00, at most dollar stores I get the different sized styrofoam cups.. some have 50-100 cups.. No transferring seedlings until ready to go out in the yard or large pots..

Larkie
Larkie
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Dec 15, 2011 5:34 PM CST
Yep, I use cups from the dollar store, too. But for wintersowing, I think gallon milk jugs will always be my container of choice.

Thumb of 2011-12-15/kqcrna/41ffaf

Karen
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2011 6:00 PM CST
>> a tip within a tip!

Cute: what was that movie, "a dream within a dream"?

I have plenty of quart-size yogurt pots, but they are too big for most of my porpoises .

Thumb of 2011-12-15/RickCorey/b7161f Thumb of 2011-12-15/RickCorey/06d1f3 Thumb of 2011-12-15/RickCorey/eb9513
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Dec 15, 2011 6:44 PM CST
Ouch, Rick- now you're just fishing... don't try to pull that carp on us!
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 15, 2011 6:58 PM CST
But you have to admit, Sheryl, that he has his cows trained well.

Karen
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Dec 15, 2011 7:07 PM CST
Good point, Karen. Saying otherwise would just be shellfish.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
Image
kqcrna
Dec 15, 2011 7:10 PM CST
Hilarious!

Karen
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2011 8:54 PM CST
Mooo!

I mean: "EEEE! EEEEE!!"

Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Dec 15, 2011 9:30 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 15, 2011 10:53 PM CST
I originally got that cow/dolphin photo as the punchline in a long joke ..., see if I can find it:

---

This is a very sensitive test to determine your occupational stress level from sensory clues.

A very-slightly-modified digital image of one dolphin has been pasted next to the original.

Tests have shown that more-highly-stressed people believe they can detect differences that are actually too subtle for normal people to detect. The numbers of differences that you imagine you can see in these two images accurately reflects your emotional and cognitive stress levels.

Close your eyes briefly and take several calming breaths before opening this JPG to minimize false readings.

0-2 differences - - - - - normal stress level
3-5 differences - - - - - stressed
6-8 differences - - - - - troops in active combat
8-12 differences - - - - - malfunction during carrier landing
>12 differences - - - - - (our current software project)







Thumb of 2011-12-16/RickCorey/7dc960
[Last edited by RickCorey - May 28, 2013 7:16 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #190745 (19)
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Dec 17, 2011 8:50 PM CST
I'll have to show that to DH, I'm afraid he can relate to >12.....
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


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