Alternatives to plastic single cell seed trays?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Linz, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Linz

    Linz Total Gardener

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    Firstly, sorry if this is in the wrong sub.

    As the title suggests, I'd like an alternative.. I find after just a few months of using them they split and fall to bits. Not sure if I'm too heavy-handed or they're just generally pants. I have invested in the thicker plastic trays that go underneath them (that wont split or fade) but have yet to find good thick plastic single cell trays that are reusable or last.

    I'm looking at my cupcake/icecube trays and wondering whether to drill holes in them (aluminium and silicon), are there any things to consider from these materials?

    OR is there a certain brand you have used that lasts for a good season or two? Any other ideas welcome.. Currently sat looking at my onions with no single cell trays to hand and I don't fancy buying tat ..again! Thanks for looking/wasting time.
     
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    • Scrungee

      Scrungee Well known for it

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      Have you been using green Wilko cell trays that do not appear to be UV stabilized and fall apart after one season?

      Black ones usually last for many, many years.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Total Gardener

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        Hi,

        Think you are meaning these multi cell seed tray inserts that you can buy from places like Wilko etc ?

        Think you have to treat them as a once only use item as they seem to get thinner each year and have not come across any that are so much stronger.

        Agree that unless you have them in a strong seed tray underneath them they can fall apart all too easily.

        Have found for really small cuttings and starting small amounts of seeds off these mini pots are more durable.

        Seems we are told to avoid one time plastic items like these , and we are wrong for buying them, but they have yet give us a practical alternatives at an affordable price.


        001389.jpg001388.jpg
         
      • andrews

        andrews Super Gardener

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        I looked at buying the block press to make compost blocks but didn't fancy the outlay for something that was adding additional work to the task. That, and I'd have to buy multiple presses

        This year I'm trying Jiffy coir plugs and hoping that the trays last longer than the tray inserts that you mention

        I am using tray inserts as well. I scrounged a load from a local nursery last year but they are very much single use.
         
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        • Marley Farley

          Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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          To be honest @Linz I don’t think there any reusable seed cells as try as I might they nearly all get destroyed. Which annoys me as they are black plastic and we are told not recycleable !

          I made use of toilet rolls last year and found that as long as they were touching and not in a warm place so the cardboard didn’t dry out they worked well and just planted the whole thing as the cardboard rotted away..
          This year though I am thinking of making newspaper pots as well as again can be planted straight into the ground.. This is the easiest way I know if to make them very quick and simple..
          This link explains it well and of course you can vary the size a bit too by using different size pieces of paper and moulds.. Loo rolls are great for shaping for seed cells..
          Make Your Own Seedling Pots Out of Newspaper
           
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          • longk

            longk Total Gardener

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            Your local nursery will usually have loads of the large ones that they're glad to be shot of after they've potted the plants up that came in them. I just cut these to size.
             
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            • andrews

              andrews Super Gardener

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              They are a bit misleading saying that black plastic is not recyclable. A lot of it is recyclable but the automatic sorting systems cannot 'scan' black plastic so cant identify the type of plastic. If it all went to an unidentified plastic pile it could be manually sorted but that would mean additional cost. A lot will go to energy from waste incinerators.
               
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              • Linz

                Linz Total Gardener

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                No not green, using the black ones. Also, tried tesco and asda ones last year.. still a load of rubbish.

                Yep, I have noticed they are getting thinner too. Yes, I have plenty of small round pots to hand but I don't like the tray they come with as they're too wide for my windowsills plus the way the round pots fit into more durable rectangular trays, and I prefer them for flower seeds rather than my fruit/veg. I'm limited for space and have (too) many cats :(

                I'm trying to be more plastic conscious too.

                Had to look that block press up, I knew of the jiffy plugs to buy but not the kit that practically makes them. Upon a quick google, I did find one that looked really good. I can't post links (?) but across from the block makers there was 100 jiffy plugs for 14.95 from ebay..

                Now, I have no idea if that's a bargain as I have never considered the jiffy's before. I really do like the look of them.

                I thought the black plastics were non-recyclable too..
                I tried the loo rolls before a few times but I cannot for the life of me get the watering right and end up with a soggy/white mouldly mess. They were in an unheated porch too. I really REALLY like the idea of the newspaper pots but fear the fate of them, too. I've not got much to lose except a few onions so I'll give paper pots ago as well as a few loo rolls to try and get my watering game up to scratch.

                Good thinking, I like free!! :biggrin:
                 
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                  Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
                • BellaBlue

                  BellaBlue Gardener

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                  You may like this.

                  wee pots.jpg

                  wee 6cm pots I got last year from Poundland on a small window box tray. Perfect for window sills.
                   
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                  • Linz

                    Linz Total Gardener

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                    I just picked up 2 windowsill trays yesterday..bit bigger than yours but they could work, thanks Bella.
                    20190205_204641.jpg
                     
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                    • andrews

                      andrews Super Gardener

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                      If you buy a box (about 1000) they are much cheaper. I think mine were about 8p each for a box
                       
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                      • HarryS

                        HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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                        I use the black plastic 6 cell trays , bought on Ebay . These are for the smaller seed annuals I grow. I find them pretty durable and probably get 3 to 5 seasons from each tray.

                        s-l1600.jpg
                         
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                        • CanadianLori

                          CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                          Get a soil block maker. I've been using one for at least 5 years.

                          You put your seeds in these. The fact that they are soil, makes the seedlings that germinate stop at the edges. Then you make new soil blocks out of the non producing blocks.

                          Easy peasy. No plastic tray for the roots to get caught up in when you want to pot up.
                           
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                          • CanadianLori

                            CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                            Here, let me take a pic. Ive saved so much aggro since b1549414996190-1387541981.jpg uying the maker :)
                             
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                            • Linz

                              Linz Total Gardener

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                              Thanks Harry, I like the square/rectangle pots because they will fit into the trays much better than round ones - less space wasted, more seeds I can start :biggrin:

                              Now that is dandy, @CanadianLori ! I like this idea even more actually! ..but are the little "laundry baskets" specially made for these soil blocks? I don't want them falling over :oops:
                              They look like a decent enough size in that I could nestle an onion set in and it would have adequate room for rootage too.

                              Thank you all.. going to invest in the soil block maker :)
                               
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