We brought in the seed trays from the barn last night. Time to get them cleaned up and organized for this year's garden.
There are many things you can start seedlings in. Peat pots, news paper, toilet paper rolls, egg shells...pretty much anything that holds a bit of dirt can be used as a pot. There's even the "un-pot" method, where you fill a tray with dirt and use a divider tool to section lines into the soil.
I love these plastic pots, they're the perfect size for starting, not too big (as to take up too much room on the grow shelves) and not too small (where I'd have to transplant).
If you remove the seedlings carefully when you plant, they can be used year after year. Some of these are over 10 years old and still kicking.
I also like that I know every year how many plants I can plant. Otherwise I'd go crazy and we'd have more than we know what to do with. I need some sort of figure or boundary to reel me in...(I've learned this from experience.)
Our system of
grow shelves consists of three-6 foot shelves with grow lights that hang
above. The shelves are also exposed to a large, south facing window in
our sun-room. The end goal is to eventually build a green house, but for the time being, this is our system. (For more information about our grow system check out my
post Starting Seeds Indoors with Grow Lights)
Each shelf will hold 3 trays. Each tray has 18 pots so that means I can start 162 plants at once. As the season moves forward, some of these trays will be moved outside and I'll start the warmer season plants like pumpkins and cucumbers in additional trays.
I haven't had to buy a seed tray in a long time because over the years I've collected pots from potted plants that I've purchased seedlings in. Our local nursery uses these sturdy square pots that work wonderful. They also have a recycling bin out front where you can drop off pots that you don't want any more, or pick up things you might need. Last year I found three white hanging baskets that I planted inexpensively for our porch.
If you do re-use pots from year to year, it's a good idea to clean them between uses. Dump extra potting soil in the compost and rinse the pots clean. I like to give them a dip in water with a little bleach to kill any diseases from the previous year.