14 March 2009

Growing Pot

What type of growing pot do we use to start seedlings indoors? Some vessels may be more appropriate than others. In past years, I scoured the basement to find something to use as starter pots, and usually ended up with something less than ideal. Consider the possibilities and my experience.

Clay Pots
I use few of these because they tend to dry out. This is a concern since I leave the house during the day for work, and cannot leave seedlings in clay pots outdoors to harden off before planting. They will always require watering around mid- day. However, clay pots are reusable. Peppers were planted in these, but are not yet sprouted.

Peat Pots
I have tried these a few times in the past, and never liked them. They sound like a great idea, but they can be on the expensive side and not work as they were intended. They dry out fast, too, needing constant watering. One year tomatoes were started in them and planted directly into the ground. The tomatoes were very slow growing, compared to those transplanted into bare earth. The peat pots did not disintegrate well into the soil as was expected. The roots seemed constricted and had trouble growing through the solid peat.

Plastic Yogurt Cups
With holes punched in the bottom, these wide-top cups are used every year and, work great. They are a perfect size, and we get some additional use from the plastic before it makes its way to the recycle bin. Since no one thinks of saving them throughout the winter, you end up eating a lot of yogurt just to get the cups in spring. Peppers were recently planted in these cups.

Plastic Seedling Flats
The 4 or 6 compartment black plastic cell inserts made for seedlings work well. However, the big box stores along with the gardening centers here only sell the prepackaged bundle consisting of cell inserts, clear plastic cover, and plastic flat watering tray. I only want and need the cell inserts, but unfortunately we are forced to purchase everything in the bundle. The cell inserts can be purchased online for pennies, but shipping costs kill the deal. Check out Home Harvest: 8 cells inserts cost $7.92; shipping costs $7.75.

Egg Carton
These were tried one year and found to be too small. Soil also kept moving around from cell to cell. Seedlings were difficult to extract without damaging them.

Paper Cups
Paper Dixie cups are my favorite. Tall shapes can be found to allow for root growth. They are paper and biodegradable. They can easily be broken apart without plant damage at transplanting time. They are cheap. The wax coating prevents drying out. Labeling with marker is difficult on the wax coating, though. Broccoli is sprouting in these in only five days.

Milk Carton
My mom would cut off tops of milk cartons and had good luck starting seeds in the bottoms. Again, as with yogurt cups, one needs to save them.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: White forsythia
  • Seedlings progress: broccoli


Jen said...
Found you on Blotanical! I'm experimenting with different pots too and was curious to see what's working for others. I have some little clay pots and am using toilet paper rolls which I find similar to peat. They are always either too dry or too soggy and get mold. Love the paper cup idea- I will try a few that way too. Thanks for the ideas!
Nancy said...
Will the paper cups get soggy after time? love the bird sounds!
Swimray said...
The paper cups can get a little limp after a month or so, but by then it's time to plant!
Swimray said...
Good luck with the paper cups. Let us know how they worked out.
Les said...
I wonder how many people Googled "growing pot" and were disappointed in your post. One of my co-workers is constantly taking my yogurt containers and my clear plastic pre-washed lettuce containers. These hold up pretty well for her. I am too impatient to grow much from seed - I see something, I buy it or do without.
Swimray said...
Lee: My blog was dropped from Alltop after this was posted. Hmmm, no reason was given, but I suspect someone read the title and not the post. I inquired why it was dropped, and received a reply that it will be relisted - it quickly reappeared.
Swimray said...
So Lee, is that how you found the blog? :-)