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your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

Posted by mollyjanea z5 RI (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 12:54

and how do you minimize transplanting? or justify not minimizing? do you reuse same containers every year?anyone use clay pots? any other input appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

There is a good FAQ here on containers with some pics of all sorts of things that can be used.

The majority of my seedlings are grown in commercial flats since they are for sale but for personal use I have used yogurt containers, plastic butter dishes, cut off liter pop bottles, old Tupperware containers found at garage sales, plastic milk jugs, and all sizes of disposable plastic drink cups - all with drain holes put in them with my wood burner.

As long as they get cleaned/disinfected well between uses they are good for several season of use.


RE:more info

If interested the link below is to several other discussions of this question with lots more ideas in them too.


Here is a link that might be useful: container ideas for seed starting

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

I have a small garden and since a packet of tomato or
pepper seeds has more seeds than I need, I direct seed
3 seeds per container. If more than one germinates, then I pinch out the extras. Saves me the step of starting them in a flat and then transplanting each to a larger container.

For containers, I save disposable coffee cups that I get while buying a cup of coffee on the road from gas stations. The cups can be washed out and drainage holes put in the bottom. They cost me nothing since I
purchased them for the coffee anyway.

NO they cannot be re-used since I peel them apart to get
my plant out when transplanting to the garden.

At least I am getting a second use out of these cups before they end up in the landfill.

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

how do you minimize transplanting? or justify not minimizing?

Sorry I missed this question before. I'd never minimize the importance of transplanting. I justify "not minimizing" transplanting by doing what is best for the plant, not what is most convenient for the grower. :)

Staged transplanting is necessary for many plants in order to develop feeder roots, it is the trigger they need to switch to fibrous root development.

The plants one buys in 6 packs or individual pots at the nursery or garden center were not started in those containers. They were transplanted into them AFTER germination and initial growth. Some were transplanted once, some were done twice.


RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

I already start them in large pots, such as one cup size.
I put two seeds per pot/cup and if both seeds fail, I pick out a seedling from a pot with two seedlings and transplant at the cotyledon stage. That saves a lot of work, plus is very economical for seed.

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

Anyone ever cut up a seed starting flat? Meaning you would have dozens of seperate containers instead of them all together, allowing you to move certain ones to higher temps.

I would love to use stuff like yogurt cups and 5 gallon buckets to grow in, but when people come over it would look kind of tacky.

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

  • Posted by lelia Northern Cal (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 17:29

I don't like planting seeds, I don't like transplanting, I don't like gardening, but I start loads of seeds every year because I love flowers, herbs and vegetables. I try to minimize transplanting by sowing the seeds into 9 oz. opaque plastic cups filled with organic potting soil for everything except the greedies (i.e. squash family), which I sow into 18 oz. plastic cups. Beware of clear plastic; you can't read what you write on clear plastic backed by dark soil. Then later I transplant directly into the garden.

Once they germinate, I put trays of the cups out in the sun during the day, as long as it isn't too cold, and put them on my windowsills at night. I don't reuse them, I recycle them instead. I haven't had a problem with damping off, so I'm afraid to push my luck by reusing them.

As far as what all these plastic cups with seedlings look like shoved into every sunny spot, the answer is: cool! It makes my house look like a greenhouse.

RE: your fave frugal containers for seed starting?

I use numerous free containers from assorted sources. Many types and sizes of leftover nursery pots and 6 or 12 packs, plastic jugs, lettuce boxes, 1 and 2 LTR bottles, and cups of all sizes. Even the styrofoam cup-o-noodles cups that my son used to eat! This year I had to toss a couple, because they got torn, but I've been using those crazy cups for at least 5 years.

I do re-use containers for years, that is very important because it saves resources, and I am lazy, I do not want to search for or prepare containers every year.

I found a couple dozen brand new Solo cups along the side of the road once, and scooped those up. They make great containers. Some of the Solo cups I've been using for almost 20 years, and sometimes I will tape them if they tear a little to make them last a little longer.

As for transplanting, I kind of like to transplant, it's pretty easy to transplant seedlings, the hard work comes when you have to tend the seedlings out in the garden and keep them alive long enough to become grown-ups :).

Daylily seedlings in Cup O-Noodles cups that are lined up inside an old refrigerator drawer -

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