Salad greens containers for WS?

bugdoctor(5 CO)January 9, 2014

During these cold months, we go through quite a bit of baby spinach and mix spring greens that come in plastic tubs. Has anybody used these tubs to WS? What experiences did you have using these? They have substantial space but not much height. I'm planning on sowing mostly perennials for the bees and butterflies...and of course our enjoyment.
Thanks in advance for your insight.
Dan

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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

I sowed last year in those tubs. Didn't have any problem at all. But yours may need to grow for a longer period in the tubs than mine do...
Mine did just fine though. Sowed perennial flowers.
Susan

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 2:00PM
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ryseryse_2004

If those are the large sized tubs you get at Sam's Club, I have used those. They are fine as long as you have plenty of holes in the bottom. I put only a few holes in the top.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:30PM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Thanks for the responses. It's nice to know others have had success with these tubs. Here in Colorado many of the grocers sell their greens in these and we don't drink milk. These tubs seemed reasonable to WS to me, but I knew somebody on here could offer their experiences.

I'll be sure to add quite a few drain slits in the bottoms. This is my first year WS. I have no idea how much room I need above the potting mix for the seedlings. It's all an experiment this season. Really enjoying the gardening in January!

Again, thanks for helping out.
Dan

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:54PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Dan,
Those are some of my favorite containers for exactly the reasons you suspect. They allow the maximum light in, and there is plenty of head room for rapid growers such as sunflowers. Also, the larger size helps prevent the soil from drying out.

Martha

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:00AM
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pixie_lou

I've used those as well. The 1 lb boxes from BJs. I cut up paper board (like cereal boxes) to section each into smaller portions - makes untangling roots a non-issue. Depending on what I'm sowing, I do 4, 6 or 8 sections.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:50AM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

The 1 lb tubs is exactly what I am referring to. I drink smoothies with greens in them and go through a ton of these containers. Thanks for the tip of using cardboard sections. I hadn't thought of it. I've read a recommended 4" of potting mix in milk jugs works best for some GWers. These tubs don't quite have hat much head room but... going on your successes using these, I'm planning to sow my best seeds (the varieties I am most excited about) in these containers.
Thanks so much for your insight.
Dan

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:27AM
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ryseryse_2004

pixie_lou, as far as dividers to untangle roots, why do you untangle them? When I am ready to transplant, I just cut the bottom out of my milk jugs and then slice them just like I would slice a pan of brownies. Then I plant the little squares.

No tangled roots, just sliced ones!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 4:04PM
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steff442(8b Portland OR)

I had success with those containers as well. But mine were just the smaller ones that you get at any run-of-the-mill grocery store. I would use 2 containers, and discard their lids. Then I filled one with soil, and turned the other upside down and affix to the top. I ended up with a nice little greenhouse with plenty of head room for the seedlings. I tabbed each side with duct tape so that I could easily open them up come spring.

Worked really well for me, esp with those big packets of wildflower seeds!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:45PM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Steph442 - thank you so much for the tip! This is just what I am looking for. I hadn't thought of it, but I think your use of two tubs is exactly what I need to do. I have sowed a few of the one pound size tubs leaving about two inches of headroom for the seedlings, but I would much prefer to fill the whole tub and cap it with another.

Really appreciate your tip.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Dan

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:57PM
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steff442(8b Portland OR)

Dan,

Hooray! I actually helped someone! I'm still kind of a newb as well, so I didn't think I had much to offer as far as tips and tricks goes. You are so welcome! ^.^

One thing to keep in mind with the double-tub idea: Since it can be kind of tricky to get them to sit right atop one another, I duct taped the bejeezus out of them, all the way around on my first couple of tubs. I hated myself come springtime, when I had to open them up and close them at night! So I decided that just one tab of duct tape on each of the four sides was plenty.

It was a pain to balance the top to the bottom, but I got it tabbed ok, and come spring, I would peel off all but one tab and open them up on a "hinge" with ease, rather than cursing myself while unravelling miles of duct tape on my first attempts!

Steff

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 3:32AM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

I am another fan of the greens containers....especially from Costco, etc. :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:46AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Using too much duct tape is a typical newbie mistake! I did it the first year with the milk jugs. It is a PITA to remove tape once it freezes to a container, and the containers don't need to be sealed like Fort Knox anyway. One thing that's nice about the salad boxes is the tops snap shut without tape.

I've used lots of salad boxes, and occasionally use a cardboard divider such as when starting 2 types of Alyssum (Carpet of Snow on one side, Royal Carpet on the other). They are especially good containers for seeds that you can plant "hunk-o-seedlings" and cut like brownies as Ryse described.

Usually a minimum of 3 inches of soil is adequate. I don't generally worry about head room, by the time the seedlings are a couple inches tall, they can be planted or it's warm enough outside to remove the tops from the containers.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:57AM
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em247(5a IA)

I haven't had enough milk jugs this year, so I've been using whatever clear food containers I can get my hands on. I've found it helpful to punch a hole in the lip of both the top and bottom container to match up in two spots on opposite sides and then use a small piece of thin wire or a twist tie to secure them together and then tape. It seems to make them stable and will hopefully work well for a hinge later on when you remove the tape. I'm glad other people are having success with these types of containers since I've read some posts where people haven't had good experiences with anything besides milk jugs.

Happy winter sowing!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:07AM
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plantmasterm(z7)

Hi guys PM chiming in on the subject, first I would like to say Happy New Year to everyone..I eat a lot of grapes and strawberries during the year, and like a lot of you I shop at Sam's..the containers are usually 3lb and clear with wholes already in them..I love them, only problem I had with them the first year was I was losing to much soil..my solution was one sheet of a paper towel and after that no problem what so ever..containers have plenty of head room as well and they snap close so no tape needed..hope this helps someone. Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:58AM
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ellenrr(7a)

I love the salad green containers cuz they have their own cover.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 4:26PM
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pixie_lou

Ryseryse - I tend to use my salad containers for things like sunflowers and other large seeds that I can easily separate. I use smaller containers for hunk-o-seedlings.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:26PM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with the salad tubs. I am learning so much. I've got over 20 of these tubs sown or planned to be sown. I plan to sow the same varieties in the same soil in a tub and a milk jug and see if there is a winner. So many successes with jugs have been reported I have to see if they outperform.
Please keep sharing your wisdom!
Thanks,
Dan

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:36PM
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northforker

Hi Dan - - I can tell you have gotten a good bite from the WSing bug! You are going to love it when you see your first sprouts. I've been WSing for many years now and it's great to see this forum getting "newbies". Both jugs and "boxes" work equally well. Because I can get the lids off the boxes more easily (and get them back on more easily in a cold snap) I tend to use them for any seeds I fear might be a bit more tender in my zone. I haven't started this year yet but I always start with what jugs I have (was a whole lot easier when the kids lived home and drank a ton of milk!) for perenial seed that I know can withstand deep cold (or even need it to germinate) and work my way towards the boxes for half hardy or even annual seeds if it is spring by then. Yes, most of us use those containers for spring sowing too! You'll develop your own system over time and the folks here will all help you. Best of luck! Nancy

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:12PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

I connected pairs of containers a few years ago, the same way as em247 describes. Made nice-looking mini greenhouses to grow more salad greens on the front porch. Worked great.

After we moved to an apartment where my containers weren't "on display" I used only milk jugs. Now the stores have changed to opaque white milk jugs so it's time to re-think containers again.

This post was edited by edie_h on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 22:46

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:24PM
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mcc371(Zone 7)

I have used the clear 2-3 liter coke bottles. I sowed some radishes in one and a few carrots in another as a experiment with my granddaughter.

Hubby works in oilfield and he gets these white and some are blue 55 gallon plastic drums. I split these down the sides and it makes a long trough instead of cutting in half circle. Drilled holes in bottom for drainage. I have cut a hole in each side close to bottom and run soaker hose thru to other side and on through several troughs I made. I put potting soil, sow my seeds and cover with Saran wrap and or plexiglass. Hubby has made wooden stands. I water from top until I see seedlings then, They get watered all at the same time from soaker from bottom up. I have noticed bigger and better roots this way. This is how I winter sow and in spring I sow herbs and other vegetables - I put wooden boards with twine behind one of the troughs and my beans last summer love it. This is how we adapted my gardening since knee replacement surgery an I have back problems.
Sorry this is long - just wanted to share some tips.
Happy Gardening!
Tammy

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 7:19AM
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mjzzyzoff(6oh)

Tammy - thanks for sharing! My mind is now spinning on ways to make one of those drums into a cold frame!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:07AM
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ryseryse_2004

Save those salad containers because they are starting to come without tops (at Sam's Club, anyway.)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:46AM
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mcc371(Zone 7)

mjzzyzoff _ You could use a square window or a sheet of plexi-glass to lay over the top. hmm, I will google this and see what other ideas i find...

Tammy

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:52PM
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ellenrr(7a)

Tammy,
maybe I'm not sure what plexi-glass is - it is somewhat thick and heavy, yes? I'm thinking that might really intensify the sun's rays, so once the sprouts emerge, I would remove them, so as to not fry the sprouts.
For those large containers without a lid, I use heavy clear plastic - the kind that is sold to seal windows in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:07PM
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