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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Toplef10Best choice of pot to plant my seedling 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Best choice of pot to plant my seedling I22gcj10Best choice of pot to plant my seedling 14dhcg10

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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

Post  danieggert 3/20/2023, 11:36 am

Just about ready to start the seeds indoor, probably tomorrow.

I have been reading and rereading post on the best pot to plant my seedling once it germinates.

I can see that it is really a personal choice, so lots of options.

Here is what I am hoping for and maybe someone can guide me to what I want.

1.  I want something that I can move directly from the house and plant into my new SFG(after cold hardening)

2.  I have bought 3" peat pots because I like the size and will give the roots some room to grow.   But some of what I have read tells me that the peat does not always easily decompose.   I was think of placing them in a large flat tray, similar to a under the bed plastic storage.  That way I could always keep the bottom moist.  Is that a good idea?

3.  Cow pots cost too much, especially since this is my first garden and start up was costly

4.  I don't think the Jiffy trays that are black plastic and have a bunch of holes for dirt have much room for roots, am I wrong?

5. Lights - I will have 2" above the plants.  Will I move the light up as the plant grows?  How will my plant get a little "bushy".   Prior to SFG, I would always plant in the Jiffy 36 count black plastic tray.  I did not know it light had to be so close.  It was a disaster, always.  Long, tall, skinny plants

6.  Lastly one more Mel's Mix question please if you don't mind.  Peat.  I plan to fluff or sift through the hardware cloth I used for the compost.  When I measure my 5-gallon bucket of peat,  do I measure "fluffy" or do I "compress" a bit?  I plan to mix equal numbers of the three components in a very large container that I have, mix thoroughly, and place in the garden box.  about four buckets of each compost, peat and vermiculite at a time.   When do I add water?

I am sure that all of this info is somewhere on the SFG forum but I cannot find specific answers to my questions.  Plus, I keep getting sidetracked when I look, since I will see a topic that interests me, click on it, and loose my original search.  The joys of a ADHD gardener, but I do have a lot of energy at 70+

Dani from Burr Ridge
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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Re: Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

Post  OhioGardener 3/20/2023, 12:10 pm

danieggert wrote:1.  I want something that I can move directly from the house and plant into my new SFG(after cold hardening)

2.  I have bought 3" peat pots because I like the size and will give the roots some room to grow.   But some of what I have read tells me that the peat does not always easily decompose.   I was think of placing them in a large flat tray, similar to a under the bed plastic storage.  That way I could always keep the bottom moist.  Is that a good idea?

3.  Cow pots cost too much, especially since this is my first garden and start up was costly

4.  I don't think the Jiffy trays that are black plastic and have a bunch of holes for dirt have much room for roots, am I wrong?

So many choices, so little....  Very Happy 

I personally don't like peat-type products for two reasons:  1) they take years to break down in the soil, and 2) they add more peat to the MM, which is not desired.  I use Cow Pots for two reasons as well: 1) they are made of composted cow manure and feed the seedlings as they break down, and 2) I can buy them in the fall end-of-season sales at places like AM Leonard at highly discounted prices.

That said, it is a personal choice. If you use the 3" peat pots that you already have, which you probably should, I highly recommend you cut off the bottom before transplanting in the garden so the roots can easily go down into the soil.  Whatever you do, do not use the expandable Jiffy Pods with nylon mesh around them - that nylon will be in the soil for years and years.

danieggert wrote:5. Lights - I will have 2" above the plants.  Will I move the light up as the plant grows?  How will my plant get a little "bushy".   Prior to SFG, I would always plant in the Jiffy 36 count black plastic tray.  I did not know it light had to be so close.  It was a disaster, always.  Long, tall, skinny plants

The best way to prevent leggy seedlings is to place a light fan on them several hours a day to simulate nature's breezes.


danieggert wrote:6.  Lastly one more Mel's Mix question please if you don't mind.  Peat.  I plan to fluff or sift through the hardware cloth I used for the compost.  When I measure my 5-gallon bucket of peat,  do I measure "fluffy" or do I "compress" a bit?  I plan to mix equal numbers of the three components in a very large container that I have, mix thoroughly, and place in the garden box.  about four buckets of each compost, peat and vermiculite at a time.   When do I add water?

Use the fluffed peat to measure. Otherwise you will have way too much peat in the mix.  As you layer the MM into the bed, fully moisten it before adding a new layer. Moisten each layer so that you don't have any dry spaces.

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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Re: Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

Post  danieggert 3/20/2023, 12:21 pm

You're the best
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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Re: Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

Post  sanderson 3/21/2023, 1:23 pm

Dani, I start seedlings in individual plastic cups (2 1/4" xx 2 1/4" x 3 1/4") so I don't have to up pot.  They go directly into the beds as soon as the weather cooperates.  I've been using the same cups since March 2013, just washing and drying for storage, so the investment was worth it.  I also use a few repurposed 6-packs for identical seedlings like 6 cucumbers.  The whole 6-pack is gently emptied for planting in a bed.

As far as leggedness, I find having the light 2" above the new sprout is the best way to prevent it.  I've never used a fan, but on normal years, I carry the trays outside every day the weather is 60*F or more.  This year, my arm is interfering with everything and my husband has to do anything heavy or complicated.

Photo from Saturday - their first and only day outside due to cold/rain this March.  Not that I'm complaining because California needs the water.  Some plants are nice and compact and a few later ones are leggy.  It is what it is this year.

Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Seedli57

Older photo showing staging for major seedling.  The cups are in seed trays for watering and carrying outdoors and indoors weather allowing.  I use MM as seed mix.  I steam bake pans of MM. Every single cup is labeled and 6 packs are identical plants so only 1 plastic label is needed. I wash and dry for storage and put them into the seed packs for the next year. I use a #2 pencil and mechanical eraser so I can change labels when I change varieties.
Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Seedli58

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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Grow lights, legginess, and yogurt cups

Post  markqz 3/22/2023, 1:30 pm

My feeling is that the legginess comes from lack of light, and the plants' attempt to grow tall to reach it.

When I measure under my grow light using SatStat app, I get maybe 6000 lux. But outside, even in light shade, I get 10,000 lux. And on a partly cloud morning, with open sky, 20,000 lux. Supposedly a bright sunny day is about 30,000 lux. So keeping those lights close to the plants is important.

But, like Sanderson, I can't rule out the wind theory since I also take my plants out for a walk.

I'm still using yogurt cups with slits cut in the bottom but might eventually have to trade-up to something else since yogurt cups have been harder to come by. Once you've used a cup 6 or more times they start cracking. I water from the bottom when possible to encourage root growth.

Best choice of pot to plant my seedling IV1OO3z

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Best choice of pot to plant my seedling Empty Re: Best choice of pot to plant my seedling

Post  sanderson 4/9/2023, 3:51 pm

markqz wrote:. . . I'm still using yogurt cups with slits cut in the bottom but might eventually have to trade-up to something else since yogurt cups have been harder to come by. Once you've used a cup 6 or more times they start cracking.
6 times! We must be related. Razz

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