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Permanent/reusable 4" seed-starting pots?

 
Posts: 163
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Here is a thought for all of you "Block Heads", oops, I mean blocker users.
IF you're going to events to sell your seeded blocks, wrap the blocks in a couple of layers of newspaper.
In fact, you might try making a block then inserting paper and pressing again - for events only.

And there are still molds out on the market to make round "pots" that are much cheaper than the Blocker hardware.
You also could ask friends who in your community does woodworking and turning and ask them to make you one of these newspaper molders.
You might interest a turner enough that they would do it for free (or a piece of pie  :-) ? )!
 
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The boxes are out there...  But I don't go to the grocery store!  Friends have sometimes dropped off boxes to use, and the people I share plants with are wising up to bringing their own container.  Teaching a class this weekend at the Duvall Food Forest, and sending people home with fresh soil blocks and seeds!
 
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Been starting hundreds of seedlings a year for years now. Pot options are just so... Bad. Industry "standard" black plastic pots crumble apart so easily after a year or so. Peat has ecological issues and is single use. I've made newspaper pots with great success but MUCH labor. TP rolls mold like crazy in my experience and so far all "decomposable" pots I've used have resulted in mold, algae or root rot to varying degrees. (Admittedly, I struggle with overwatering. But the plastic ones do much better.) Soil blocks look like they're just going to fall apart if you don't use some sort of cloth bottom watering system with wicking instead of just plunk em in a tray and bottom water into the tray.

I'm always trying new things. This year we're trying these;
https://www.amazon.com/Biodegradable-Non-Woven-Planting-Container-Gardening/dp/B08DY62BZV/

I feel awful using the cheap plastic pots but they get the best results - same as you, hundred of plants, lots of tomatoes, and they often are indoors 8 weeks as season extension is pretty mandatory here.

I've been thinking about taking 3" lengths of food grade 3" hose and stacking them in a plastic flat and using those - like a soil blocker but with a nice smooth wrapper that lasts for years under heavy use, doesn't leech toxic chemicals (food grade), is flexible and can even be stepped on without damage... But then I look at the cost of the hose and it's like $12/foot and that means $3 a pot... Across 300 pots? Errrr.... Not sure that's practical. Maybe if I get independently wealthy?
 
pollinator
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C Mouse wrote:   I'm always trying new things. This year we're trying these;
https://www.amazon.com/Biodegradable-Non-Woven-Planting-Container-Gardening/dp/B08DY62BZV/  




Have you actually gotten them yet? I’m curious about the shape. I followed the link, and the pictures show 2 different things- a bottom that looks square, and a bottom that looks like just 2 sides coming down to a single edge, like a teabag. Which looks like they would just tip over. If the bottom was actually a square, self supported shape, I’d definitely try these.
9FC0F7C8-DEF9-4511-B251-2E24E0A5E5D4.jpeg
Looks square on the bottom.
Looks square on the bottom.
5A51C9BA-BFE6-49FB-AC0F-93908DA0E9CB.jpeg
‘Teabag’ shape, looks like it would tip over.
‘Teabag’ shape, looks like it would tip over.
 
C Mouse
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Julie Reed wrote:

C Mouse wrote:   I'm always trying new things. This year we're trying these;
https://www.amazon.com/Biodegradable-Non-Woven-Planting-Container-Gardening/dp/B08DY62BZV/  




Have you actually gotten them yet? I’m curious about the shape. I followed the link, and the pictures show 2 different things- a bottom that looks square, and a bottom that looks like just 2 sides coming down to a single edge, like a teabag. Which looks like they would just tip over. If the bottom was actually a square, self supported shape, I’d definitely try these.



I have not but I suspect they are teabag shaped and if you fold in the corners and pack in the dirt they will be more square like a paper bag. Been having post office issues for some time now.
 
Jesse Glessner
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C Mouse wrote:Been starting hundreds of seedlings a year for years now. Pot options are just so... Bad. Industry "standard" black plastic pots crumble apart so easily after a year or so. Peat has ecological issues and is single use. I've made newspaper pots with great success but MUCH labor.



I wish I had seen this before buying my plastic cups this year!
Easily used, biodegradable, lets water and roots through, and a package of 1000 for only $16.60 is a GREAT DEAL!

I've used the plug inserts with "socks" (whatever the material is) to hold them together when planting. The problem is that the material NEVER deteriorates. I had a bunch of these where no plants grew and just tossed them into a raised bed before tilling. Two years later I was still seeing those socks turn up when tilling.

PLEASE, let us know how these work out for you!
 
pollinator
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I have the soil blockers and don't like them at all. I'd be willing to send all the parts to someone if you are interested. I'll have to dig them out and let you know what I have. PM me if interested.

I'm lucky that my mom buys a lot of 4 inch pot plants for her church, so I have what feels like an endless supply. When things start to break down, I double stack them for longer life.
 
pollinator
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Jamin Grey wrote:Every year I start a bunch of seeds about 8 weeks before the last frost. I reuse whatever pots I have on hand. Anyway, do to space limitations and older pots wearing out, I'm looking for some 3.5" or 4" reusable square seed pots I can reuse year after year to fit in 1020 trays.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but tomatoes would likely get root bound in a 2" or 2.5" square pot after only four or five weeks - well before my eight week planting time. So I'm looking for 3.5" or 4" square pots.

The probably is, most companies sell reusable 2" square pots, and *disposable* 4" pots. And most 4" pots are round, not square. But even the square ones seem disposable and fragile.

Does anyone know where I can get sturdy and reusable 3.5"/4" square seed starting pots?

Johnny Seeds sells 3.5" square pots. Has anyone used these for multiple years now?



It was mentioned before, but I'm going to mention it again, that half-gallon milk and juice containers are 4 inches square.
Both the paper cartons and the plastic jug style, since they are all made to a module of the plastic "milk crate" dimensions. You can cut them to any height you need, the full cartons are nice and deep for tomatoes, and the plastic jug tops can form a "cloche" or "dome" as well.
The plastic ones will degrade in the sunlight (no UV stabilizing added) so probably not good for more than one season's use in the garden (but this is its second use! after milk, and could still go on to the recycling bin afterwards...)
The paper ones might actually last for a couple of seasons, but with a ready supply from one's own kitchen, or collected from neighbors, seedling pots could just be a detour for the cartons, adding to their "lifecycle". In our town, these are not recycled, so a second use is a bonus.
This might also eliminate the need year-round storage for them, depending on how quickly you could gather the amount you want to use.
Unfortunately, storage isn't as compact as the tapered plastic pots that are designed to nest together. Not being tapered also makes getting seedlings out for planting trickier, usually cutting cartons open is the best choice... but again, it's merely one more use on a detour for the carton...
 
Julie Reed
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Kenneth Elwell wrote: Unfortunately, storage isn't as compact as the tapered plastic pots that are designed to nest together. Not being tapered also makes getting seedlings out for planting trickier, usually cutting cartons open is the best choice... but again, it's merely one more use on a detour for the carton...  



I love these, and stack them like firewood in a shed, so they really don’t take up that much room- a dozen only needs a cubic foot of space once you cut the tops off. A paint stirring stick with the end beveled like a chisel can be used to loosen the soil on all sides and then the plants can be tipped out, but most of mine get soggy enough after 8 weeks that I just use a razor knife and cut the carton off and burn it (no recycling for them here, but I’ve given them a second use). I get as many as I can use (and then some) from a local coffee place, that conveniently also gives me all their coffee grounds which my worms LOVE.
I use the cartons for tomatoes, peppers, cukes and squash starts, and they are also perfect for rooted cuttings of shrubs and trees. Last year I also used a bunch for bareroot strawberries that didn’t sell, and didn’t even transplant those, and they did great.
 
gardener
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I haven't tried it yet, but my next adventure is soil blocks.  They seem expensive, and I also worry about them falling apart, but there are tons of tutorials on the internet that tells how to make a soil block maker.  You can find very fancy, to a piece of wood that was wrapped in plastic harvested from a used milk jug and duck tape together. It just needs to be something that will compress the soil.  Looks easy enough, and if I can make one for free and I always have extra seeds, it seems worth a try.  I have been using the pots I have saved over the years that plants came in.  I also got some very cheap pots at the dollar store.  12 for 1.00, and I have used them a couple years now.  I would like to get away from buying plastic, so I'm looking for recycle, or no plastic.  Good luck I hope you find what you are looking for.
 
C Mouse
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rabbit chicken homestead
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Jesse Glessner wrote:

C Mouse wrote:Been starting hundreds of seedlings a year for years now. Pot options are just so... Bad. Industry "standard" black plastic pots crumble apart so easily after a year or so. Peat has ecological issues and is single use. I've made newspaper pots with great success but MUCH labor.



I wish I had seen this before buying my plastic cups this year!
Easily used, biodegradable, lets water and roots through, and a package of 1000 for only $16.60 is a GREAT DEAL!

I've used the plug inserts with "socks" (whatever the material is) to hold them together when planting. The problem is that the material NEVER deteriorates. I had a bunch of these where no plants grew and just tossed them into a raised bed before tilling. Two years later I was still seeing those socks turn up when tilling.

PLEASE, let us know how these work out for you!



As soon as they come in you guys will be the first to know.
 
gardener
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C. Mouse, did you get your bags?
I've been messing about with recycled containers and such , but a working biodegradable product would be great.
I also made a little mesh box to try:
20210305_121839.jpg
Mesh planting cube...
Mesh planting cube...
 
C Mouse
Posts: 113
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No. >( They're stuck somewhere. The post office has been BRUTAL where I live. A complete mess over the last year. I've had 4 packages get lost in the last 3 months for weeks when the previous 5 years I had no shipping delays ever. Very frustrated.
 
Julie Reed
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You’re not alone Mouse! I just mailed a package across the country, and the post office there immediately marked it ‘incomplete address’ (it wasn’t), and sent it back to me. Before I could pick it up to see what the problem was, my post office sent it back to the other (recipient) end, assuming there was a mistake. It’s now in limbo and my post office says no telling what will happen once it gets to point ‘b’ again. I’ve advised the recipient to be vigilant! Arrrggghhh!
 
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