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Author Topic: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots  (Read 1288 times)

Triloba Tracker

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Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« on: January 15, 2016, 11:35:59 AM »
I'm really new at trying to start seeds (for herbs, veggies, and melons, etc) indoors.
Last Spring was my first attempt ever at a garden.
I used Jiffy Pots for my seeds - I got medium-large size pots so that I would not have to pot-up at any point.

they had their pros and cons.
Pros - easy to water from the bottom; easy to determine when plans need water; breathable (presumably better for root health than plastic)
cons - grow mold if too wet; dry out (too?) fast; top-heavy (not stable if separating into individual pots)

I am torn over whether to use them again. Watering from underneath is important to me, as I think this is best for the tender seedlings. But durability and stability is also important.

I am considering using egg cartons this time, just to start the seeds and then potting-up to .....I don't know what!
Anyone have any experience with egg cartons and have any words of warning?

Also - what is your preferred seed-starter pot setup? Plastic, jiffy, home-made (Styrofoam or paper cups, plastic bottles, etc)? I'm talking about a solution for a large number of seeds/seedlings (up to 100).

fyliu

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Re: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 08:21:07 PM »
For veggies I think paper egg carton works fine. The seedlings grow fast though so you'll have to transplant pretty soon after germination.
If you're starting them early indoors, you might want to start or transplant them to 4" square pots and let them grow out a foot or 2 before transplanting to the ground.

I think pots that taper on the bottom are bad for the developing roots. There's an illusion that there's more room than there actually is. Straight sided pots are better.

I think mold is not going to get the seedlings unless your seeds are really weak. Most vegetable seedlings tend to be vigorous from my experience.

I reuse little square 2" liners I got from buying plants. For veggies I tend to go straight to the 4" ones because they grow so fast. If you start a tomato with a smaller pot, it will be stunted really soon.

Triloba Tracker

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Re: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 11:28:23 PM »
Great info - thanks.

I suppose I have a lot to learn still about this process. 4 inch pots seem huge but what you're saying makes sense.
Perhaps I will start in egg cartons or small Jiffy Pots and plan to pot up rather quickly to large-ish plastic pots.

barath

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Re: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 12:06:51 AM »
Several years ago I tried egg cartons but it always ended up to be a mess for me -- the egg dimples in the carton aren't deep enough for good roots to develop and the whole carton starts decomposing from the moisture.

I tried various 6-pack and 9-pack small plastic seed trays, of the type you often see seedlings sold in, and those were fine, but still not great.

These days I end up most often using two different approaches.  For seeds that need bottom heat and might stay in their seedling pots for a long time, I use a rootmaker seedling tray -- it was a bit expensive but I've been reusing it for quite a while.  I'm sure it'd be possible to make if you had the patience.  The individual cells are 4 inches deep and have lots of holes for root pruning and drainage.  The seedlings I've started in it have done well.  I put the tray in its water basin and then that whole thing on a heat mat.

For seeds that are faster growing and produce deeper roots, I've been using shared pots more and more -- either 1 gallon or even 5 gallon pots.  After they get big enough, I just dump them out and separate the roots.

Triloba Tracker

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Re: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 12:09:58 PM »
Thanks for the info!

I came to the same conclusion regarding the egg cartons. They're too shallow.
So I got a tray of little plastic conjoined cells that are probably 3 inches tall and taper slightly toward the bottom. So far so good.

But funny you mention root-pruning, etc. I have just started thinking about getting some Microkote to encourage better root development. But i'm not sure if that's overkill for annual vegetables? Though I do like overkill :)

I've also considered looking for small plastic "SOLO" cups that I can use. I like to be able to move individual plants around since some are at different stages and need to be in different conditions...

I just wish I had a retail outlet nearby that had lots of options for this stuff. Ordering can be really pricey with shipping.

Tropheus76

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Re: Egg Cartons and other seed-starter pots
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 06:20:13 PM »
My coworker's fiance uses yogurt cups he washes out.

 

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