alternatives to buying seed trays

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by pcdreams, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    Every year we buy those jiffy- seed trays with the peat things you add water to, and every year I wonder why we waste money on something that is (At least in our experience not reusabe(crack or become so flimsy)

    So I'm trying to think of ways to build our own. I'm thinking I could build it out of 1x2's but I'd need some way to allow it to hold water and not let the wood get wet.

    I'm open to ideas. All I've been able to come up with is rinoliner and I think that would be to cost prohibitive.
     
  2. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    One year we used cardboard trays that sodas are delivered in to the grocery store (got a big stack of them out of the dumpster behind the store).

    They worked reasonably well but are only good for using once. But they lasted the few weeks of use in the springtime that they were needed.
     

  3. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I"ve also used drink boxes. Mine were from bottled water: cardboard box with the plastic still on the bottom. As with Ladycat's experience, it was only good for one season, but the price was right. I recycled the plastic at the grocery store, and used the cardboard box for carbonaceous material in my compost heap.

    I've had some success with using styrofoam egg cartons. Seems if you mention to one person you're saving them, you'll get an ample supply for many years to come! Separate the top lid from the egg cup half. Then, poke some little holes in the egg cups for drainage. Place the egg cup half on top of the lid: Voila! You have an easy to handle tray for a dozen seedlings.

    You don't necessarily need separate pots or cells to grow seedlings. You can use styro trays or other boxes to start off your seedlings, then transfer to pots as they grow. BTW, dixie-type cups are great starter pots.

    You can also make your own newspaper pots:
    http://www.selfsufficientish.com/newspaperpots.htm

    For potting soil, I make my own mix of potting soil, vermiculite or perlite (whichever is available) and peat moss. I make it light enough for the roots to grow, but heavy enough to hold water.

    Many roads to Rome -- and to Roma (tomatoes, that is!)

    Pony! <Pony dodges rotten tomatoes thrown at her for lousy pun>
     
  4. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know this is gonna sound crazy but I want something that I can sit in the window sill to start my seed in.There for I save the styrofoam containers you get mushrooms in or the plastic meat trays.that are about 2 or 3 inches deep.wash bleach them and you can put drain holes in one then set it inside another that dont have drain holes for a tray they nest together well.Also the plastic containers the little grape tomatoes come in.I do this with soap molds I look for anything that would be a good design for my soap molds.For instance the plastic trays that bread rolls come in they have a neat ridge design in the bottom. I told you It was crazy :sing:
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Back when I had to buy meat at the store, I would save those plastic tubs that stuff mart packed the meat in. Those were really great. Another thing I would use was cardboard 'flats' from the grocery store. (Those tops of the boxes they cut off leaving about 2 inches for a rim.) Line them with a plastic trash bag and either fill with soil or use newspaper pots.
     
  6. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Here's my low-tech system. I use syrofoam cups with drain hole punched in the bottom using a pencil/pen. And I put all of them in those throw-away $1 aluminum turkey pans the dollar store sells (except I've been using my throw away pans for years and years!) My total investment is the new cups each year (that I buy in bulk).

    It may not be environmentally perfect but it works for me!

    BW
     
  7. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The last couple of years I have used the trays they sell to moisten wallpaper in. They are cheaper than plant trays and seem to last very well. I see no end in sight for mine, no cracks etc etc. I too have used food containers, styrofoam etc. In fact styrofoam cups can be put in the wallpaper trays and the trays collect the water that comes out of the cups after watering. They are strong enough to be used to take plants to market in and fit nicely on a windowsill. Watch for a sale and you can get them well for well under a $, think mine were 57cents each.

    PQ
     
  8. Kee Wan

    Kee Wan Well-Known Member

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    Why dont' you get a board made of that new decking material - that plastic stuff.....drill a couple of homes in it with big spade bit (so that the majority is hollowed out - but the bottom is stil there and has a hol ein it)- and there you have it.....water resistant and will hold your peat pellets....cut it to length adn set it in one of those disposable cake pans with the cheap plastic lid that's clear.....

    What about cardboard egg containers.....they are plantable and completly biodegradable.....but you can't grow anythign relaly big in them, they're too tiny.
     
  9. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    excellent ideals folks (as usual). Thank you
     
  10. Steph in MT

    Steph in MT Well-Known Member

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    Last year I used toilet paper roll tubes cut in half and it worked really well. :)
     
  11. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We made cedar flats from the leftovers of deck building. Drilled some holes in the bottom for drainage and have had them for over 20 years so they don't owe us much! Any scrap lumber would work; just wouldn't last as long. I also collect everyones' big gulp styrofoam drink cups at work and start tons of tomatoes in them. Also, my dalhia roots. Just gonna be added to a landfill but they last for years if you store them out of the sun. DEE
     
  12. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    try this site HomeHarvest.com trays about as cheap as most alternatives
     
  13. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DW buys yogurt in 8 oz plastic cups, several of the women in the office where she works also save theirs for us. I wash them out and drill a few dozen holes in them for drainage. I put these into 12" x 18" x 2" cedar boxes I made. I coated these with a sealant and epoxy to make them waterproof.
     
  14. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Then I'm crazy too. I save all sorts of containers like this for starting my seeds.
     
  15. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Waxed cardboard boxes work better than the coke boxes, if you can find them.
     
  16. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Maybe so, but when you get coke boxes for free, they work great. Free makes everything better. :D
     
  17. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    I use yogurt cups too and for the bottom...milk cartons cut down to about 3 inches deep. If I can get enough of them...I use the milk cartons themselves..you can really grow big plants in them! I also made some flats a few years ago. I used 1 by 4 untreated pine. I didn't make them water tight...just nailed the boards close enough together to hold a doubled trash bag. I planted IN the trash bag IN the flat. They worked great and are very sturdy! They don't have any signs of "wear" yet even though they are of pine. I didn't bother separating a lot of my stuff out until I got out to the garden. I did replant my tomatoes into bigger pots...but the peppers and eggplants were small enough that I could separate them easily directly into the garden. They worked for broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage too! I didn't have much luck with onions that way though...not sure why....may be it was just old seed and I didn't know it....but the rest of the stuff worked great!
     
  18. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Here's what I use:

    For trays, get the lids from those cardboard boxes that office copier paper comes in. Insert the lid in a plastic garbage bag (or two plastic shopping bags -- one on either end, and duct tape around the middle) so water draining out of the pots won't make the cardboard soggy.

    If you can't get office paper box lids, just about any ordinary cardboard box, with the sides cut down to the right height, ought to work.

    For seed-starting pots, I use 3 oz plastic bathroom drinking cups. A box of 100 costs $2 or less, and they can be washed (use bleach! rinse well!) and reused from year to year. I punch drainage holes in the bottom using one of those little 'picks' that you stick into the end of an ear of corn to eat it without getting butter all over your fingers. Sounds goofy, but it works! :)

    Occasionally I have to transplant seedlings, and I save up tin cans for this purpose. (Use a hammer and large nail to punch drainage holes in the bottom. )