For me to get started with the plants I want to set out at the end of
March . Last year and the year before I tried those peat disc things (wet
'em and they expand into a little barrel shape) with absolutely dismal
results . This year I'm going to try something different , using potting
soil or starter mix .
I have a decent plastic tray but I need to divide it into compartments . I
was considering shoebox-type cardboard , or maybe some plexiglass strips .
Or I could just go buy some small plastic cups and put holes in the bottom
for drainage .
How do y'all start your sets ? I'll be doing tomatoes , peppers ,
marigolds , and maybe some zucchini and cantalopes . I usually do the stuff
with bigger seeds directly to the ground ...
Those are really nice trays , but I'm looking for a cheaper alternative .
The clear plastic cups that sell for like a buck a hundred are more where
I'm looking . Cardboard and plex I already have , just need to cut it into
strips and notch it for interlocks .
I consider these to be a reasonable value. I bought these in Jan 2007
and have used them every year since -- this is beginning my 6th year.
I paid $15.50 for 3 of the 32 cell ones and $14.50 for the 72 cell
ones. I figure that over the past 5 years they have they have cost me
$1 per tray per year. I have 6 of each size. They are still in good
shape and I don't have to fiddle with setting them up.
Right now I am using 312 of small the cells to start plants. Then
they will go into the 32 cell trays as they get larger. And that is
just the beginning of the year. As I move things to the larger trays
I then reuse the smaller ones. It is going to take about 4 or 5 of
the 32 cell trays to transplant my 72 seedling beets. Each seed
produces anywhere from 1 to 4 plants. With care I can separate them
and get 150+ plants from my 72 seeds.
I start most of my plants in the greenhouse so I know how many plants
I have without having to replant except for weather and critters.
Either of those are possible regardless of how the plants are started.
I do direct sow beans and corn but not much else.
The nifty trays that The Cook posted a link to are heavy duty,
expected to last several seasons. Unless you're overpaying, the
standard 10.5 x 21" 72-cell starter trays are in the sub-dollar range
(IIRC, about $0.79 or thereabouts at the local farm supply, and I'm in
the San Francsico region where everything costs more as a rule). They
handily have a matching size water tray and dome (additional
purchases, but reuseable - moreso than the germination trays
themselves). I splurge on the more rigid water trays, not the light
duty ones - they'll last much longer, and that means you get your
moneys worth out of them.
I make a written "cheat sheet" to identify what I planted where in the
trays - put a tray ID stake in the "home cell" (upper left corner),
and ID the columns as A-L, and rows as 1-6. i might plant the same
variety of something in A-C, then just 2 cells of something else
(D1-2), etc. I've also madea more graphical chart (cells for each of
the cells in the tray), but that was too much repetition of writing,
though was handy for noting different germination dates.
Yea, I did that as dividers for a set of wooden seeding trays I made
(with weed barrier fabric and hardware cloth underneath). A neighbour
constructed a 3-car detached garage, and I glommed onto the cardboard
sheets which were used to separate the individual panels of the
segmented rolling doors - nice flat undecorated pieces of corrugated
cardboard. if you need a supply, consider contacting a local garage
door installer. MUCH nicer than messing around with breaking down
cardboard boxes of varying thicknesses and dimensions. When zipping
them across the tablesaw, bear in mind that cardboard is tougher on
the blade than oak...
I save TP and paper towel rolls, and cut them to length equal to half
of a TP roll (paper towel rolls = 5). These I arrange into the above
mentioned seeding tray, then fill up with soil. See following:
Aviary screen frame above the germination box so they don't get raided
The bean seedlings were transplanted into the garden just 4-5 weeks
after I seeded them in the tray.
I don't have the nifty ribbed trays like "The Cook", but I have about
_400_ of the circular plug trays (got them for free from a local
premium olive oil producer - they'd stacked a lot of them and they
stuck together, and when time is money, the effort to separate them
was more than they were worth - but I only need < 10 per season, and
know that chilling them will separate them easily enough).
I use plastic pots, I have a million of them left over from plants that
I've bought at garden centers over the years.
Unless you have a greenhouse don't jump the gun, if you start the plants
too early they will just keel over and die on you. I make that mistake
over and over again. Especially when we have a severe winter I want to
start growing something so I start a bunch of plants in early March and
they always die on me long before I can plant them in the ground in late
May or early June. I'm not feeling the urge this year because we haven't
had a winter at all in New England. Aside from the storm in the fall that
wiped out our power for a week we haven't had a single snowflake and the
temperatures have been well above freezing.
I'm in Memphis Tn. , in zone 7a/7b . Usually by the end of March we're
past the danger of a freeze , though it can happen . I'm figgering on
planting seeds in a couple of weeks , which will give me about 6 weeks until
they're ready to plant .
For small seeds that have seedlings that transplant well I use trays. I
divide the tray into 4, 6 or 8 little plots. If you don't plant similar
types next to each other there is no need for dividers. For bigger seeds
and especially those like cucurbits I use tubes. The type about 15cm (6in)
high with a square section that stand in a rack are best. You can put one
melon (pumpkin, zucc...) seed in each and transplant the whole content
without disturbing the roots at all.
Thanks for the feedback Richard. I've got the guttering sitting under a
bush but need to get a hacksaw and cut it into more manageable lengths - it
must be at least 12 ft long ATM and that is way too long. Thank you for the
Not all marigold varieties are effective against nematodes. French
Marigolds are more effective than Aftican Marigolds for instance.
Seeing as my saved seed doesn't cost me anything, I see no problem
replanting them each year.
I grow nasturtium not for any claimed beneficial process, but rather
because they're wholly edible - the leaves add a spicy zing to salad,
the flowers some colour, and the fresh seed pods are also spicy. The
fact that they're mildly attractive is a plus.
FTR, we have sandy loam where I'm at - nematodes would go nuts here.
I had a dozen+ marigolds in the garden last year. Marigolds elsewhere
as well, but in the garden, each of the individual (not cluster)
plants grew to about 2' across. Nice blast of colour around the
beans, tomatoes, cukes, eggplant, and fennel.
field: all the words
criteria: studies marigolds nematodes
Scroll down to "At this domain type"
click the search button.
I skimmed off the following articles.
Dutch researchers did cover crop studies looking at the effectiveness of
over 800 varieties of marigolds on nematode populations. The scientists
found that apparently nematodes are attracted to marigold roots but are
killed when they try to feed due to the release of ozone from the
damaged root. There are two caveats. One is that the effectiveness of
killing nematodes is only with living marigold roots, once the marigolds
have been tilled in, there is no further benefit. The second is that
these were not companion plantings because two crops were not
The conclusion of these Dutch studies is that when an entire area has
been covered with marigolds, cover crops reduced the numbers of the very
common root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus penetrans) enough in one
growing season that other crops susceptible to that pest could be grown
for two or three years without suffering from nematode damage. The
French Marigold (Tagetes patula) was the most effective, with the
variety 'Single Gold' providing the greatest benefit with almost 99
I'm afraid that the Greek crisis is heading this way with its political
corruption, and usurious banks. It reminds you of the way politicians us
into the state that we are in here.
Like any state (or person, for that matter), it spent more money than it
took in. After the switch to the euro, the traditionally strong Greek
public sector saw wages rise to ultimately unsustainable levels. To
compound this, the retirement age in the country is low (by Western
standards) and benefits are generous.
But that alone is not enough to sink an economy.
Mass tax evasion, on the other hand, can certainly do the trick. And it
did in Greece. When people and businesses don't pay their taxes, it
limits revenue. So when the money inevitably ran out, Athens turned to
European banks for loans. Soon, the government was borrowing billions
and those debts, like subprime mortgages in the United States, were
often repackaged as c0mplex commodites and sold off around the
continent. Everyone, especially banks in France and Germany, wanted a
piece. Now they have it.
What's happened is that Europe itself has become too weak, in the
aftermath of the global financial meltdown, to bite the bullet on a
country like Greece. A default would shatter otherwise monetarily strong
countries like Germany. The Germans, like the Americans, would be left
with a host of "too big to fail" banks ready to do just that.
I just read:
"The Great American Stick Up: Greedy Bankers and the Politicians Who
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