Over the years of gardening, I have tried several methods of starting seedlings with varying success. I wasn't really impressed with any of them. Some were too expensive, some were too much trouble and some fell apart before I was able to replant. So last spring I had an idea while at a family restaurant. I tried it out because I wanted to see how it worked before writing about it. I think it worked like a charm and it was also cheap and easy! Can't get much better than that. Let me show you what I did.
I was rather discouraged till one evening in spring of 2017, my husband and I were sitting in a family style restaurant, and when the waitress set down my husbands fish and chips, I noticed the little paper cup of tartar sauce sitting on his plate and I wanted to shout "EUREKA!" Those little cups would be perfect to start seeds! They are food safe, fairly tough because they are expected to stand up to heavy sauces and ketchup, and they are paper, so they will break down fairly quickly when planted in the ground. You can even write on them, so they can be labeled!
First I labeled all the cups with what was to be planted in them. Then I took them outside
and began filling them with potting soil. Next the seeds went in, two in each cup
It didn't take long before they were up and growing. Unfortunately, the weather outside did not cooperate so I ended up letting them get bigger than I normally would have, but the cups held up very well.
When I got ready to transplant them, I saw that the roots were growing out the bottom. Another great thing about these cups is that they are soft enough to let the roots grow out the bottom, but they still hold together when you pick them up. I just took a piece of broken shovel handle and pushed it into the dirt to make a depression and then dropped in the cup and covered it with some loose dirt. The roots remain undisturbed and undamaged and the cups disintegrate within a week in the wet soil.
I think this idea is one I will be using from now on. Try it for yourself and you will see how easy it is. I save over $150 every year by growing my own seedlings instead of buying sets at the nursery. It is so simple, anyone can do it.
Have a great week and plant some veggies!