Start Seeds In Plastic Cups


This is the time of year to start flower and vegetables seeds.  The need for sterile conditions requires that used pots be washed before reuse, a job I dislike. A simple and practical solution is to use 3 oz. plastic  bathroom cups. They come in packages of 100.  Punch three evenly spaced holes in the bottom rims of the cups prior to filling with sterile seed starting mix or potting soil. Water from below by placing the cups on plates or saucers.

Small seeds like snapdragon, begonia and flowering tobacco can be planted dozens of seeds per cup to later be pricked out and transplanted one per cup after they have grown true leaves. Larger seeds like marigolds, zinnias, asters and most vegetables can be planted one seed per cup and later removed from the cup and planted directly into the garden. Seedlings can be transplanted into larger plastic cups if plants outgrow the 3 oz. cups before weather allows outdoor planting.

Biodegradable paper cups in the same sizes and with holes punched through the bottoms can also be used but my experience with these has been that they decomposed before plants could be transplanted into the garden.

Don’t forget to harden off your seedlings if they were started and grown indoors by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions and sun before transplanting them into the garden. Start by moving them to a shaded, protected spot outside during the day and bringing them back inside on cool nights. Gradually expose them to more sun and outdoor temperatures over several days to a week. Also, don’t forget to remove the seedlings from the plastic cups before transplanting into the garden.


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