Transplant container ideas? Plastic cups??

keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)February 8, 2010

I really hate to buy 2.5 and 4.5 inch pots to transfer my larger seedlings into. Has anyone had experience using plastic cups or the styrofoam cups an if so, what size (in oz)? I would think they are too deep but would like to hear from someone who has used them. I am planting all sorts of flowers from petunias to Angels Trumpet to verbena. Let me know what has worked for you.

Thank you

Keriann~

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heirloomjunkie(5a)

I just attended a seedling starting class, and paper cups were actually recommended by the horticulturist. That way the whole cup can go into the ground and decompose, instead of the root system being disturbed by transplanting. Sturdiness may be an issue though.

I am planning to use those plastic cups from drinks at Starbucks. They're clear, so I can see the root development and water saturation, and they are sturdier.

Hope that helps!

Kim

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 7:28PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Kim:

hmmm.... most paper cups are coated with wax so they don't leak and I don't really want that in my garden. I also think they would be soggy like you said.

Reusable would be my favorite choice. I like your idea about clear cups, it would be nice to see the root system.

Thanks for the tip

Keriann~

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:01PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

I just read in the tomato forum that roots are photophobic, so being in clear cups is not good for them as they will try and get away from the light (and maybe clump in the middle?). I am not sure if this is specifically for tomatoes or all plants (I assume all as roots grow in the dark :)

I am using 16 coffee cups for my tomatoes, basil, pepper and eggplant. They are wonderful (and were free). I accidentally knocked over a tomato and the roots were almost to the bottom of the cup, but didn't have that messy, knotted up look they get in shallower pots (like 4 inch nursery pots).

I will remove them from the cups for transplanting as these are waterproof and will not easily decompose.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:55PM
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sarahbarah27(5)

I used clear plastic cups last year...and I don't recommend it, LOL!!! The plastic breaks down and becomes very brittle from the sunlight. They would just crack whenever I touched them.

I have saved a bunch of yogurt and other plastic containers so I will try those this year, I think they will work better since the plastic is thicker. Just about anything you can save and reuse will make a good comtainer, its much better than just throwing it all away, right! I think I may use empty egg crates to start seeds in too...since our egg farmer can't reuse them! Has any one tried this? I assume they would act like peat pots?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 7:22AM
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heirloomjunkie(5a)

Hmm... good to know about the plastic cups breaking! Maybe I'll try something else then.

Kim

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:17AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

keriann: What armymomma says is correct, but I have found using some kind of dark colored cup you can't see through too well (semi-translucent) works just fine. I used them last year with great success & am using them again this year. If you don't care about watching the root system grow (which can help you to know when they are getting root bound), then some type of paper or styrofoam cup would be fine, also.

- Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Steve's Garden

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:49AM
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gemfire(z9/10 AZ)

I have used styrofoam cups, you can get different sizes for different sized seedlings. Also if its something that doesn't like the root system messed you can carefully break away the cup without bothering the root to transplant it into the ground. Be sure to make holes in the bottom for drainage of whatever kind of cup you choose to use.

Happy Gardening,
Pam

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 9:08PM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

Last year we tried for the 1st time using eco-friendly compostable paper cups. They worked wonderful! My concerns were if they could hold up to watering....and they did this without any issues. We used these for tomato seedlings, so they were in the cups for about 2 months...and bottom watered a lot of the time. Will be using this method again:)
m

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:48PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Thank you for all of the tips.

It is appreciated.

Happy Gardening : )

Keriann~

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 2:54PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Okay.. I caved.

Novosel was having a sale on 4" round pots for $.19 each. S0 I got a hundred for under 20 bucks, you can't beat that. And now I can use them year after year.

I also saved a bunch of money and bought some 3" x 3" divided trays to set into my 1020 trays. This not only saved money but my precious space. I also added a few deep square larger pots for some of my vines and larger plants.

Wish me luck!

Keriann~

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 1:11PM
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ohioveggies

I have used clear plastic cups for the last 2 years. I even used them with the tomatos. I never had a problem with the roots or the cups getting brittle. I had large amounts of plants each year so it worked well for me because they were so cheap. This year I am going to do newspaper pots for the heck of it, just to see how that works. I would like to be able to plant the whole thing without root disturbance.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

If you want to watch how the roots are growing, plant one clear cup of each kind of seed.

For seedlings that have good root systems right off, I am using some 16 oz opaque plastic cups from the dollar store (15/$1). Normal top width, but they're 5.25" deep.

Below is a photo of them, but the dollar store has them for 1/9th the price Staples shows them!

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Tall 16 oz cups

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 9:29PM
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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

There are lots of things you can use, such as the bottom half of milk cartons. I just sawed the bottom off of a 1/2 gallon milk carton and planted my onion seeds in it. Bread knife works great for this. Bottom half of soda bottles works well, too.

I personally like to use 16 ounce Styrofoam cups, especially for seedlings with sensitive roots, such as the cucurbits. I skip the seedling cell tray for these and sow them straight into the cups. At planting time, I simply cut down two sides of the cup with a box knife and peel the cup away, so there is almost no disturbance to the roots. I had beautiful transplanting results on my squash and cucumbers with this method last year. It is not as eco-friendly to buy and discard the cups, but I try to recycle and reuse other things to make up for it. The Styrofoam also has the advantage of being easy to poke drainage holes in with a pen or a chopstick. They don't seem to dry out around the edges as much as other containers, either.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 11:37PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

Dudes, it is soooo cool when, a week or so after transplanting up to the big 16 oz cups, that you see the roots start to hit the sides here & there!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 11:48PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Thanks guys.. but I caved and bought 4" round pots

100 for under $20 bucks.. totally worth it

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 12:31AM
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roadkill(5)

i used to use the beer cups, now i dont want to buy so i just use yogurt containers , it takes a bit of soil to fill but free and reusable

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 2:55AM
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sherri09(5 CO)

Hey Keriann,

I just bought a 100 of those 4" pots from Novosel, plus a whole bunch of other things too (enough for free shipping)! Thanks for starting this thread. The price was too good to pass up.

- Sherri

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 12:06PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Sherri-

Novosel is GREAT! You will get your order in no time. Great prices, great CS and excellent product and selection!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:02PM
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robynscottdesigns(5)

Newspaper pots- you have to make them but they are FREE, compostable, and you don't have anything to store! I make them at night while watching TV or at my daughter's baseball practice (beats making idle chit chat). So as long as you can find the time you are set! Also, they are soft-sided so you really need to keep your transplants on hard trays.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:56PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

You know you're getting old when you look at big red 16 ounce cups and think "tomato seedlings" and not "all night kegger".

:)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 9:58PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Armymomma:

That is too funny! I am only 25 and I think that way.

Thanks for the laugh.. I am getting old :)

Keriann~

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:53AM
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belleville_rose_gr

I use styrofoam cups along with plastic

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening by the Seat of my Pants

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 6:41AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I use the 32oz Sam's Club and McDonald's ice tea foam cups. I use a little mini hacksaw to gently saw off a few inches off the top of the cup (midway over the bar code on Sam's Club cups). We are always buying soda fountain drinks at Sam's Club, so I save the cups. I can fit 12 of these perfectly into Rubbermaid 6.5QT containers for EASY bottom capillary watering.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:16AM
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homegrown54(z6 SE Ohio)

TIN CANS, GUYS, TIN CANS. I have one of those can openers that leave a smooth edge. Around the OUTSIDE at the bottom (so the water can get in when I bottom water), I put 3 or 4 holes with a big nail (balance the can on a cushion and bang away)... they are GREAT... Then, when you're done transplanting outside, recycle the cans. They're sturdy and grrrreat!

Best, Homegrown

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 1:18PM
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tivo532(9B)

Bought the plastic red cups from Walmart at $2.66 for 50 today. That's $5.32 per 100!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 12:26PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

I use the 18 oz Solo plastic cups for my tomato and pepper seedlings. Aside from the fact that 18 don't quite fit in a standard nusery flat (crowded), they work great. They'll last for more than a season if you care to wash them out and save them.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 8:53PM
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