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Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Posted by susanlynne48 OKC7a (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 16, 12 at 6:33

Dawn, I find the little paper cups, the ones that fit in a dispenser? - but nothing larger. I want to use something I can plant directly in the ground, especially for seeds that dislike transplanting. However, some of the seeds are plants that have vigorous root systems that will fill those tiny cups very quickly. Have you found a source for larger size paper cups on the market, and if so, where have you found them? I've looked several places, but haven't found anything but these little dispenser cups.

I have thought about buying the paper cups you can find in the birthday/holiday sections of The Dollar Store or Walmart, but they don't have a lot of cups in a package (8-10 max). I guess those would work in the absence of an even larger paper cup, or a better deal on them.

Susan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan, obviously, I'm not Dawn, but have you tried using news papers. I often cut or tear the paper in strips and roll the strips around something the size of container I want. The smallest I have used this year in a PVC coupling, the largest, a morton salt box. I have an eye wash bottle hear by my chair that I have used to make a bunch this year (havent use any of these yet). They come out to about the size of a toliet paper roll core. Some I close the bottom, some I dont. This gives me something to do while I am sitting here letting my back rest.

I some times shim the shorter tube containers to try to keep the light clearance about the same on all plants.

Many people will not like the way news paper wicks the water out of the mix, it seems to help me because I seem to over water anyway. The pans I use to sit the tubes in dont even have drain holes, but I have to watch my plants closely. I dont use drain holes because DW put knots on my head when I have water running everywhere.

Larry


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan,

When I use paper cups, I mostly use the tiny 3-oz. ones sold for use in bathroom cup dispensers because I don't leave them inside for long. I use them for plants like sugar snap peas that are going to go into the ground just about a week to ten days after the first sprout emerges from the soil.

I also use 5 oz. paper cups for something like broccoli, cabbage, some cool-season herbs or nasturtiums that will go into the ground within 3 to 5 weeks of emerging. Most grocery stores near me have either the 3 oz. Dixie paper cups or the 5 oz. ones.

With both the 3 and 5-oz. cups I cut the bottoms out of the cups and line them up in the flat before filling them with pre-moistened seed-starting mix. That way, when it is time to plant, I can put them directly in the ground with little fear of root disturbance. With cups any larger than that, I just poke holes in the bottom for drainage, but I don't put any larger cups into the ground since they're being used for plants that tolerate transplanting quite well. You don't have to cut the bottom out of the cups. You can just poke hole in the bottoms of the cups, and that works best if you poke the hole from inside the cup.

For larger plants, I buy 9 oz. paper cups (also the Dixie brand) at Sam's Club or at CostCo in Texas. (Wish we had CostCo stores here in Oklahoma!) They come in a package of 360, and are what I normally use when I pot up the tomato and pepper seedlings from the starter flat to individual cups. If the plants get too large for their paper cups before I can transplant them into the ground, I'll pot them up to plastic 18 or 20-oz. cups to grow on for a couple more weeks.

The only place I've ever seen paper cups larger than the 9-oz. ones is online or at a grocery salvage store in Fort Worth that often has the larger paper cups like fast food restaurants use.

Larry, For flats I use the large aluminum throw-away type roasting pans or lasagna beds you can buy on the bakewear/cookware/kitchen storage area at Wal-Mart. They contain the water that runs out of the bottom of the individual pots. When I first started using them, I bought them in 2-packs at Wal-Mart. Then I discovered (while buying paper cups, lol) I could buy large packages of them at Sam's Club or CostCo. For really large 18-20 cups, I use two aluminum pans nested inside one another for increased sturdiness.

If I had water running all over the place from drain holes in the pots, my DH wouldn't be any happier than your DW is.

Dawn


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Dawn,

How you cut the bottoms out of the cups? We have lot of 3-oz paper cups bought for one of the party, but never used so lots and lots left over to use for seed starting. Yesterday I was trying to cut one by one using pair of scissors, it take long time. I hope you might discussed better way to remove bottom of the cups.

Secondly how many peas seeds you put in each cup? I soaked lot of peas seeds this morning (more than 50 seeds each of Super Sugar Snap, Arrow, Super Snappy, Oregon Sugar Pod II, Wando (Dwarf), Cascadia (Dwarf). First batch 2-3' of SSN in ground 2 and some in amuminum tray, which will go ground today. How about planting 2 seeds per 3-oz paper cups filled with pre-moistened ProMix BX seed-starting mix and plant them in ground 2-3 in apart?

Thirdly, what kind of the Pea and Bean Inoculant you use. The one I bought from http://www.vermontbean.com called Nature'S Aid Inoculant is granulated, not coating well to seeds. I wonder fine dust inoculant would be better for coating seeds.

regards -Chandra

Here is a link that might be useful: Nature'S Aid Inoculant


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Chandra, I sometimes plant in those little cups for short term things. I put a stack together and punch holes through a lot of them at one time. After you water a few times that cup becomes pretty soft and you could probably just pull the bottom out of it. Run some water in one and let it set for an hour and see what you think. I also have planted peas in them and just slid the entire thing out of the cup and into my hand and I didn't have a problem doing that either. That cup gets pretty soft.


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Chandra, I use scissors to cut the bottoms out of the cups and it is very slow, but it is something I do while watching NFL football in December and January so I have them all ready to use before I need them. Before I started cutting the bottoms out, I just used a kitchen paring knife to slash a big X in the bottom of the cut and that works almost as well. I just prefer to remove the bottoms of the cuts because we often have dry winters here at my end of the state and the roots will stay confined in the cup space in a dry year. In a wet year, the bottoms of the paper cups dissolve pretty quickly.

I think your plan to put a couple of seeds in each cup would work just fine. I plant two pea seeds per cup and, if they both sprout, I space the cups 4" from one another when I transplant them, instead of spacing single plants 2" from one another. I used to direct-sow pea seed and then I spaced the seeds 1" apart because some of them didn't sprout in our cold, wet clay. In a good year when most of them sprouted, I just thinned to 2" apart.

Normally I use Nature's Aid innoculant. I like it because you can use it for peas, beans (except soybeans) and peanuts so it is more versatile than some innoculants which are for beans only. I also have used an innoculant found in Burpee seed packets at Home Depot. It is in a white packet with green lettering and I think it just says Innoculant on it. I bought and used that one a couple of years ago. I haven't looked on the seed rack in Home Depot this year to see if they have the innoculant.

The powder does stick to the peas better than a granular product but either one works fine. If you don't like the way the Nature's Aid is failing to adhere, just put your peas in the soil-less mix in the cup and use your fingers to drop a few granules in right on top of the seeds, or use the shaker can. It works fine when you do it that way too. I know some people who direct sow and they make a little trench in which to put the seeds, and then they use the shaker can to put the Nature's Aid into the trench and then drop the peas into the trench, cover with soil and lightly pack down the soil.

Carol, I agree the cup gets pretty soft with enough water, but I have so much trouble with heavy wet clay rotting peas that I don't like to soak my cups before I plant them in a year like this. I wish I could take a vaccum and suck up all the extra water in my garden. You know it is an odd year when your garden is on the dry side at this time of the year and mine is totally saturated and has water standing in the pathways.

Dawn


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Dawn, I probably wasn't very clear in my post but I just meant the cups get soft from the normal watering over a couple of weeks inside. Maybe I had cheaper cups. LOL


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Carol, My cups will get soft after a month or so, but most of what I plant in 3 oz. cups goes into the ground in about half that time so they aren't watered enough by then for the cup bottoms to soften up enough. I probably water less than most people. I like to keep my seedlings ever-so-slightly on the dry side.

I do have paper cup bottoms dissolve pretty quickly when I am starting bean or southern pea plants in them, and I believe the reason why is that I often start those outdoors as instant, pop-into-place succession plants to follow some earlier crop, so those cups outdoors get watered daily, or even twice daily, if it is warm and windy. The heavier watering they get does soften up those cup bottoms really quickly.

When I used plantable peat pots in the past, I would soak them for an hour or two in water, and then slash a big X in the bottom at planting time as well, in order to help the roots escape from those peat pots, which tend to get very hard when dry.

I've been potting up into 3 oz. and 9 oz. paper cups all day long today and only have a flat and a half of crowded seedlings left to pot up into individual cups. That may sound like a lot, but this is the earliest in the year that I've ever been this caught up on the potting up of tiny seedlings. The main difference likely is that I started seedlings up to 2 weeks earlier this year, and it helps that we have not had very many fires.

Soon, all the plants on the light shelf will get to make the big migration to the sunporch and green house and then I can start a whole new round of seedlings, mostly herbs and flowers.

Dawn


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Thank you all for the suggestions. Dawn, I have never seen the 9 oz. cups. I don't belong to Sam's Club (I live alone so don't have much use for bulk products). I do wish we had Costco.

Larry, I downloaded info on making origami paper pots, but darned if I don't take the paper, and none of my neighbors do either (we call it the Daily Disappountment). Your pot making method sounds easier, Larry. I have also thought of using other paper sources, tho. I might check out the Party Bazaar down the street across from Walmart for cups, too. Their prices are good on most of their products.

Maybe I will see the 9 oz. cups at Walmart if I just look a little harder. I would just take an Exacto knife, cut the X in the bottom, and fold the triangulate corners outward to leave the bottom open. Would that work, do you think?

DD has to have two surgeries within the month, so I don't know if I am even going to get this together in time for planting now. Just found this out today. We will have to play it by ear. But I do appreciate all the good advice.

Susan


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan,

I can relate to DD stress, My DD in taking radiation now and will start chemo for the second round Mon. if her blood count is high enough. I just got her plumbing repaired today, with more chores waiting for when I get the time.

The paper pots I make are easy, but if you count your time anything you would be just as well buying them. I almost never read the paper. DW gets it for $8.00 a month and she feels she saves that much by having the adds. The pots I like the best are the ones I fold over on the bottom and staple the two flaps together. Its not worth while, other than I need to have something to do in bad weather and need to dispose of the paper also.

When I use paper cups (which is seldom) I just pull out a stack of the and place them upside- down and stab then with pencil or a knife.

Larry


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan, I think the way you plan to cut/triangulate the bottom of the 9 oz. cups would work just fine.

I am sorry to hear your DD is facing surgeries and hope it all goes well. She sure has has a rough couple of years.

Larry, I keep your daughter and her husband in my prayers as they both are going through such a battle with cancer right now. I know they must be exceedingly grateful to have you there to help them with stuff around the house that they cannot focus on doing for themselves right now.

So many of us on this forum have loved ones who have faced or are facing major health challenges the last couple of years. It reminds me of something my dad used to say back when I was too young to understand it or appreciate it, and it was "when you have your health, you have everything". Isn't that the truth?

Dawn


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Yes, Dawn, health is more valuable than money.


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

I just thought I would show my two favorite sizes of news paper pots. The plants in the pots I bought and potted up, the ones in the flat are cabbage and broccoli I started.

Here is a link that might be useful: newspaper pots


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

I haven't read this entire thread because it is looooong, so forgive me if this has been covered. I am using toilet paper rolls to make small pots. I saw it on pinterest (can't find the link right now, darn it). Make four vertical cuts at one end of the roll, equally spaced. Fold them in as you would a box, with flaps overlapping to secure it. Toilet paper rolls are easy to come by, it's good to recycle, and I am cheap, er, frugal.


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

That's a good suggestion, too. I have used them before. I was looking for something a bit larger, though, and wider. I have some morning glory seeds I want to start, and they have fast growing, and extensive, root systems. They also dislike root disturbance. I wanted a larger cup to start them in, and then I can transfer to the garden or larger pots. But, I don't want to put them outside too soon, so that's why I was looking for the large size cup.

I will use the TP and paper towel rolls for smaller plants, though.

Susan


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan, I dont know if you have one near you, but my local Walgreens carries 9 oz paper cups. SOmetimes they go on sale.

I have alot of potting up to do this week! I like the newspaper cup plan, but I need to get my family to save some for me.


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

I LOVE the newspaper idea, and Larry makes it sound/look so easy.

I have Walgreens just down the street (23rd & Classen), and a Walgreens on my way to my DDs house (39th & MacArthur). I can easily check there. I think they may have some at Dollar Tree in the party supply section. They may be 8 oz. instead of 9 oz., but that's okay, too.

I picked up some large peat pots (just 5) at Walmart to start a few of the JMGs in. I already have the little paper cups for a few other seeds, and some TP and paper towel rolls. I have some seed starting mix, but I see a trip to American Plant Products in the very near future, to get some seed starting mix, too, probably Metro Mix or Berger BM3.

I finally found some little bathroom cups (about 2 oz size) with lids to soak some seeds in as well. I can mark the cups with a marker and not have to make a label - wonders never cease!

I have a few of the waxed fruit boxes that I picked up at Homeland to start some flats of lettuce in. Almost forgot those.

Thanks for the tips!

Susan


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RE: Dawn - Paper Cups for Seed Starting

Susan, I have run into a larger problem this year with the news paper pots. I normally use LC1 potting mix for everything. This year I used MG and Jiffy, the plants I potted up to the paper pots wick the water out of the jiffy and MG more quickly. I think part of the problem is that I potted these plants up much earlier and the house is drier than it is outside.

I normally pot up my tomatoes and peppers into the two sizes I have shown above, and that is much later in the year and plants are outside in the day in my tent. I often cant plant until sometime in May because I live in a wet hole and have to fight wet soil and frost longer than most people. I WILL have some LC1 by the time I pot up my tomatoes and peppers. I doubt it is any better than anything else, but I have become accustomed to using it and at this point I don't plan to change. I don't really have a lot to choose from unless I travel to Ft. Smith

Larry


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