Seeds forum: Gardener's Supply Company APS Seed Starting System

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Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Mar 12, 2017 4:48 PM CST
OK, I am so disappointed, I have used this system for most of my seed starting since it came out (maybe 30 years ago?) I've needed to replace parts here and there but they seem to last forever. They were a 5 piece self watering system made out of rigid styrofoam. Recently, I wanted to order a few new parts and found that they don't make the system any longer. I'm sure that the self watering feature has saved my seedlings many times over the years. I'm just curious if anyone uses some other brand of self watering seed starting system?
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Deb
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Mar 13, 2017 10:52 AM CST
Have you checked to see if components from another system would be compatible with yours? I see that Burpee sells one. I didn't even know such things existed.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
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kqcrna
Mar 13, 2017 5:54 PM CST

Moderator

I've used them for a long time, too.

They do offer this one now, which looks similar, though I've never used it
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/o...

I fashioned some of my own using these bottomless cells, capillary matting, humidity grids, in a flat with humidity domes
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/s...

Karen
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Mar 13, 2017 7:29 PM CST
kqcrna said:I've used them for a long time, too.

They do offer this one now, which looks similar, though I've never used it
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/o...

Karen


Karen , I may try their new version, but some of the reviews I read weren't too positive. But then, no product around gets 100%perfect reviews........
I'm curious about those Deep Root trays-might be really good for tomatoes and peppers.
Deb
[Last edited by dmurray407 - Mar 13, 2017 7:31 PM (+)]
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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
Mar 13, 2017 8:17 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, and the open-bottomed so you can make a self watering system with them. They used to offer them in pink, too

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Karen

Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Mar 13, 2017 8:30 PM CST
@kqcrna, did you grow those begonias from seed?
Deb
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
Mar 14, 2017 4:34 AM CST

Moderator

Yes, I did. Smiling I actually started them in the APS trays,
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then moved them up to the deep root trays,
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And finally to 4" pots, on the second shelf here
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Final

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Karen







Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Mar 14, 2017 10:14 AM CST
Very cool! I've always thought that begonias would be difficult. How long does it take you to go from seed to outside? I'm impressed!
Deb
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
Mar 14, 2017 10:20 AM CST

Moderator

I started them in January for plant-out in early to mid May.

Karen
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
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Pistil
Mar 18, 2017 7:11 PM CST
Those APS trays lasted forever-I also got some about 20 years ago, they are finally falling apart. Rick Corey has described how he did this with fabric, I think it was just felt from the fabric store.

JLHKelso
Mar 28, 2017 2:31 PM CST
I am using the new GroEase ones alongside two old APS ones. The APS sides are crumbling, so after 20 years they will have to go. So far, I think I like the new. Loved washing in dishwasher! They stack and store much more compactly. They look clean--my APS ones got stained and if I scrubbed too hard they crumbled. I am not sure about using the pegs help the cells pop out without just poking a hole. The old way was fantastic, new one? Time will tell. Will have to practice some to figure that out.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Mar 31, 2017 6:29 PM CST

Moderator

Welcome! @JLHKelso

I used the original APS systems for several years, and really liked them when I was starting smaller amounts of seeds. The one thing I disliked was when the roots grew down into the capillary mat, and it got really hard to get the plants out of the cells.

Now, I grow 800-1000 seedlings for our master gardeners group, and went back to the plain old plastic cell packs in a flat with a capillary mat. I find I'm able to keep the plants in cell packs longer so I only have to transplant once into their final sized pot for sale.

I think the APS system was great, but I can see some improvements in the new design as well.
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Apr 1, 2017 8:04 PM CST
I bought some of the new ones and I have to say that they are really nice. They feel a little more sturdy than the old ones but otherwise seem to work the same. And, even though the size is slightly different, some of the new parts seem to fit the old system adequately (like the humidity dome).
Deb
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
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RickCorey
Apr 26, 2017 2:27 PM CST
I've never used a store-bought auto-watering system for starting seeds, but like Karen, I've used capillary matting (well, cotton flannel) under seedling trays (inserts or propagation trays).

https://garden.org/ideas/view/...

I like the idea of "bottomless" cells. I think I'll punch larger holes or slits into the seedling cells in the future. That assures good contact between the soil mix and the absorbent pad.

This pad-in-the-tray method doesn't provide auto-watering for a week away from the seeds, but it makes it very easy to keep the mix always-moist but never-soggy.

I have seen home-made designs where the absorbent mat and the seedling tray sit on something an inch or two above the water-tray. The pad dangles from the elevated level down to the tray or water reservoir. Now the seedlings will be watered as fast as the capillary attraction of the mat and soil-less mix can pull water UP from the tray.
http://www.gardeningchannel.co...
or
http://www.burpee.com/gardenin...

Hah! Here's another system I never thought of. Plug the hole in a terracotta pot. Fill with water. Set it on top of a wicking mat in a tray. The seeds will be watered as fast as water can
soak THROUGH a clay pot.
https://deepgreenpermaculture....

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