Return to the Growing from Seed Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

Posted by nostalgicfarm 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 6, 12 at 9:54

I am revamping my gardening this year, starting with my seed-starting. In the past I have bought the inexpensive black trays from W...M... I haven't loved them. I am looking at ordering a few of these (,32-574,default,cp.html or ) They are the APS and Fast Start sdelf-watering systems from gardeners supply. I love that they are self-watering, assuming I put water in the reservoirs!
My question is whether I should go with the plastic trays or the styrofoam? I'm thinking I may try both anyway, but thought I would see if there were some real advantages or disadvantages over either.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 6, 12 at 10:32

I haven't sown in styro. I did have one very large styrofoam outdoor planter for a while, and I found it dried out more slowly than glazed clay, or even plastic. The result was with it planted and mixed in with a grouping of other type pots, I was overwatering it - I'm not sure how that helps you, just an observation :) I don't think the price on the one you link is great....

The plastic item you link is not reusable, it's a one year product made of degradeable material. My current cell flats and plug trays have been in use more than 15 years now. I haven't had to reorder so I can't say for sure if the same weight as offered today, but I've certainly gotten my moneys worth from them. They will self water with the available trays.

Here is a link that might be useful: Charley's

RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

We used to have several discussions here about the APS systems but it looks like they have fallen off the end of the forum now.

As I recall the gist of the discussions was to not believe all the hype about them because their performance does not justify their cost. I know from some personal experience with one of them I got as a gift several years back that damp-off fungus and molds, if they develop, permeates the foam and can't be eradicated. They are also darn hard to get the plants out of for transplanting.

I'd pick good old plastic cell packs over working with the foam any day. They can be cleaned and disinfected and used for years and come in a wide range of sizes. But as morz said the ones you linked to are not reuseable so the cost is even less justified IMO. Check out all the available supplies at novoselenterprises. com

And please don't make the mistake of assuming that capillary matting can't over-water seedlings. It can and it does.


RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

Thanks Dave. The plastic ones are reusable, but they are biodegradable so people don't feel so bad about throwing them away. The styrofoam ones are intended to be reused. I ordered a couple of both types, and an going to look for some heavy duty plastic trays/reusable plastic pots and give several different systems a go. That way I know what I prefer.
I agree that the systems are expensive. The funny thing is that if you order individual pieces (added up to 3 sets), it is less expensive than ordering 3 full systems! Still not cheap, but not expensive compared to a night out at the bar :)
I hope I don't experience the problems you had with yours, although I don't have a whole lot of experience to not have those problems either. Hopefully if I try 3 different systems, I will get some plants this year!!!

RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

The plastic ones are reusable, but they are biodegradable so people don't feel so bad about throwing them away.

Sorry but biodegradable means the planting cells will begin to break down, to degrade, this season and will not be reusable the following year. Just as peat pots are biodegradable and not reusable. Cornstarch-based materials have been around for several years in the form of garden weed-block disposable pots and that's what they do. You will have to buy new planting trays for the rest of the system since they can't be disinfected.

"The new planting tray is made from a revolutionary cornstarch-based material that offers the sturdiness of plastic but will biodegrade under landfill conditions - there is no need to wash and sterilize at the end of the season because you use a fresh one each year. "

But it is your choice of course. I hope you find them worth it.


RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

I have four of the APS24 on their second season. Don't use the self water feature from the start. Wait until the seedlings have a little size on them before you fill up the bottoms. I got them as the addon from when I bought their three tier seedling cart. I started wave petunias and marigolds in them last year. This year they have petunias and verbena in them. Using the self watering while seed starting drowns the seeds and tiny plants.

RE: Styrofoam or Plastic Containers?

Thanks for the tip franknjim!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Growing from Seed Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here