Wintersowing in drinking cups

adamarkJanuary 8, 2011

There is some discussion regarding using drinking cups. I used them last year. However, this year, I'll used the taller ones. Last year, I had to water them a lot. I got a good gremination, however, I lost quite a few due to drying.

There were easy to plant. At the end, I just planted the entire cup. As a matter of fact, I prefered to plant them then trying to get seedlings from large bottles. Particularly, those with not even walls were pain in the neck.

For planting cups I used the "bulb planter". That was preatty easy. Big chank of soil taken out was replaced with some promix and a content of a cup with seedlings was placed on the top. I used this method in my horrible clay soil "flower beds". It is a new construction, so as you can imagine, my soil is horrible. I'm ammeding it but it will take a while.

Here is my bulb planter. As I said, it was very helpful (lazy me - now \

Not all my beds are that bad. Next post - how I made a lasagna bed....

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Great tip. Keep 'em comin' :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 6:19PM
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I use drinking cups a lot, but I've found that I need to use at least 9 ounce cups. I especially use them for plants that have bigger seeds or a taprot (with 16 ounce cups). I reuse my cups for up tp 3 years before the plastic cups crack and fall apart.

But what I do is line the cups up in large alluminium foil catering trays. I cover each cup with press and seal and a rubber band and hit the top two or three times with a knife for vent holes.

I usually cut four drainage slits on the sides of the catering trays about 2 inches up from the bottom so they cannot overfill with rain water.

This way it is easy to water the cups from the bottom by rain or hose once the weather gets warm.

I usually get three years out my catering trays before they wearout and get holes in the bottom, which defeats the watering from the bottom idea.

Once thing nice about the cups. It sure is easy to write the name of the seed on the cup. I cross out the prvious year's label and write a new one as I reuse the cup.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 8:39PM
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Thanks for the Great Tip Adamark! I use the cups for Lupines, Delphinuiums and Strawberries. I only put 2 to 3 seed per cup. I want them to get their True leaves before I transplant.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:03PM
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manda3(8a DFW Texas)

Wow, where did you find such a nice bulb planter? Here, all I've ever seen were handheld ones.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:48PM
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jessewo(5 PA)

I have one that is very similar that I bought at a local garden center. It's MUCH easier on the hands than the handheld version-although my handheld one had a nice release button to drop the soil. In our rocky soil, I "killed" the first one and almost did the same to my hands! If your local stores don't have the step on type, I've seen them in catalogs too!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:12PM
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Styrofoam cups are the best, you can scribe the seed name onto the rim with a ball-point pen. If the ink fades, you can rub a bot of mud into the etched name and it will appear again.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:40PM
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hostarookie(6 WV)

I have a question about using cups and the plastic shoe boxes/containers...

How many holes do you put in the lid of the container and do you try to poke a hole right above each cup so it's guaranteed to get rain/snow dripping in on it?

Is there anything else that one should know about WS via cups & containers VS. milk jugs?

I like the idea of using cups as it would be easier to plant out in the spring! On the other hand, you won't be able to get as many seeds in a cup as you would a jug so you'll be doing more cups. :-)



    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 11:53AM
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As it was said many times on this forum, everyone, with time will find out what works the best for him/her. I still use milk jugs and 2l. I'm planing to use these for plants that will either be transplanted or will stay in that container for a longer time. I'll use caps for someting that I'll pland directly - annuals and herbs. In general, I remember from last year, it was much easier to plant.
How many holes, I'm not sure. Also, I'm not sure about holes in the bottom of a large container. In the spring, when I had to water a lot, it was much easier to put water into a large container without holes. However, if it was raining, I had too much water. Needless to say, I'm still looking for the best method for myself.
The beauty of this site is that we all share our experience and we can learn from each other.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 8:53PM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

I use 44 oz cups and find I can fit as many seeds as I would in a two liter bottle. I do recommend putting the drainage holes in the sides so they don't get closed, this also promotes bottom watering as some will sit on the bottom bit of the cup below the holes.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 10:47PM
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where do you find 44 oz cups??

I use 16 oz because thats all I can find...

I'm checking my stash for your request by email.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 8:00AM
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Done this but have put two to three cups (depending on size) into gallon ziplock bags with slits in the bottom. Re-use the bags and cups for another year. I find this way I don't have so many plants for my small garden.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 9:10AM
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YOu said: "At the end, I just planted the entire cup". I'm sorry I don't understand. If you used a styrofoam cup, are you saying you put the entire cup in the ground? Or, did you take them out of the cups?

Also, do you used regular potting mix, or "soil-less" mix?

Just learning, sorry.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 2:09PM
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I am assuming that she means she takes the seedlings out and plants the "whole hunk".

Bob, trust me you will enjoy this process. It gives you something to look forward to during the blahs of winter.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 2:17PM
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dollladie(5 Indiana)

Can you please explain, when using the cups in the large plastic totes (i.e., above photo) - are you leaving the cups uncovered and just covering the entire tote with the matching lid (vented) - or, are you topping each cup with plastic wrap - or both?

Also, I'm in zone 5b; I'd like to do petunias. Is early April too soon to start?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:54PM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

I get 44oz cups at the gas station across the street. I ocaisionally take my kids over and let them all get one. I use points most of the time for this so it doesn't cost much.....**************************000000000000000 Sorry cat got to the keyboard. I also save the large cups from fast food places it doesn't matter if they are clear or not because my plastic tops are always clear. I find that once your seedlings have grown a bit the roots hold the soil together and the whole chunk slides right out for easy planting.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 4:24PM
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