can I just plant in paper cups or do I have to be fancy?

johnnyplantsseedsDecember 7, 2008

I saw some folks on the Internet with fancy setups for germanating seeds (I think that's the term). Will it work to just plant vegetable seeds in paper cups? Will they grow until they are moved to the garden?

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I have used Styrofoam cups before just make sure you punch in drainage holes. You can buy plastic pots very cheap @ charleys gh supply

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 7:09AM
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do you you have to have grow lights?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 8:53AM
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Unless you can fit everything you want to grow in a south-facing window and have the time and energy to rearrange and/or turn them constantly, yes.

Some people have luck with just window light and others find they have a very hard time getting healthy plants unless they place them under lights for about 16 hours a day.

I'm way up north and don't get the strength of sun (or enough dalight length) in winter/spring I need to go only by sunlight, so I use regular shop lights on this stand.

Experiment and see what works for you. The easier, the better.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 9:19AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Do paper cups have some wax coating? Will that affect the plants? This I do not know, but I hang out in the frugal forum sometimes, and some people plant in toilet paper rolls with the bottoms taped. To plant, just untape the bottoms. The cardboard will disintegrate in the ground.

Others (like me) love to plant in egg shell halves (I now crack mine nearly to the top so I have 3/4 of the egg shell to plant in. I set mine in the egg carton and poke through the bottoms with an ice pick for drainage holes. I set them outside in the sun and use a spray bottle filled with water to mist them now and then. The egg shell will also disintegrate over time and fertilize the plant.

I recently was caught eying an empty cardboard wine carton, noticing all those nice compartments. Hmmmmmmmm

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:17AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I was my experience that some toilet paper rolls will quickly unroll when moist. You might want to test one of your brand first.

OT, perhaps, but sort of related, I watched a very efficient reforestation project where the new trees were grown in rolls very similar to toilet paper rolls, they did not use anything to seal the bottom of the roll.

" ... can I just plant in paper cups ... " ? Some paper cups are covered with something like a very thing cellophane wrap, like Saran Wrap, and don't rot well in the soil. Until you have tested yours you will probably want the pop the bottom or cut it off. Testing and experimentation can be fun. Plant at least one intact, see what happens.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:17AM
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Some people tried paper cups last year and they fell apart before it was time to transplant them. I like the 9 oz. plastic cups as long as they are smooth. But the best is the cells and trays the nurseries use. You can water from the bottom, move them easily, they are large enough so you don't have to move them to a larger cell as they grow, reusable and inexpensive.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 11:24AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

OK, here is a wild thought. Paper Mache. I taught school years ago, and for my Christmas wedding, my class made paper mache Christmas balls by wrapping strips of flour and water soaked newspaper around blown up balloons. NOW, is flour biodegradable? Think of the possibilities if it is!! You could wrap paper mache around tin cans, boxes, or anything! If it disintegrates in soil, it would be the perfect planter on the cheap!! So, why wouldn't paper mache disintegrate?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:34PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)
    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 2:03AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

Newspaper pots are the best. Roll 1 full sheet of newspaper folded in half around the size can you want for a container and fold up the bottom (maybe you could use 1/2 sheet for smaller sizes, but I haven't tried it). One strip of masking tape well placed will hold it together until it is time to pot up or transplant into the garden. Water from the bottom (put them in a tray). I usually unroll or tear them to plant, but they will disintegrate over time. Don't use computer paper, for some reason it molds.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:22AM
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Good question John! I am wondering the same thing. In this little town the plastic trays cost about $3.00 each. OUCH.
I am going to search for cups online that will be organic (the glue, ect.) I will let you know what I find.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 7:00PM
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Hi All,
I found a good site for this question. :)

Enjoy, Chuck

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 7:11PM
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I used a regular plate(ceramic), folded damp paper towel, then the seeds, then folded damp paper towel again. Then I put them in a ziplock.

Once it sprouts, I transfer them to the real dirt. This is also what I did to my Pampas and Foxtail seeds. The dianthus seeds took forever.

Below are the pictures of my seed germination experiment.

Dianthus seed germinated

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 10:48AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I go to my neighborhood nursery and they have a recycle spot of all their trays and 4" pots. They let me take home all I want. i have a veritable baby nursey going under my oak trees. I germinate seed in them outside in here in Texas. I ahve a bout 100 of them.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 11:58PM
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I have found the plastic trays from Lowe's or Home Depot, the ones that hold the larger pots until they are sold are PERFECT. they are about 4 to 5 inches deep, they have holes in the bottom already for drainage and there are 6 spots, so you can plant all one thing or several things (just be sure to label well). They obviously come in different sizes and style, they all work :)

Peat pots BTW are the WORST and I'd never use them again. Styrofoam cups work 1000 times better to me.

I also recycle the plastic 6 pack trays that most plants come in. Notice the big plastic storage container in the bottom right corner of the photo...these work great too.

here are some pics of seedlings in these.

I have also taken them from these containers and then transplanted them to the styrofoam cup after they get their first true leaves...They to the garden.

PS: They are free. And these take out trays work great too

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 7:15PM
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