Germinating Seeds
Q.

Seed Starting Indoors

Zone 99109 | ssmi26 added on March 12, 2019 | Answered

I start my seeds indoor using the Jiffy trays. Instead of starting them in those small trays can I put the seeds in a Red Dixie cup which will give them more room to germinate? I think it would reduce transplanting from those small trays to a bigger one before transplanting in the garden. I think the seeds that germinate from those trays are too weak and small to transplant right into the garden. Am I wrong? Thanks for your advice. Sharon

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MichiganDot
Answered on March 12, 2019

There are pros and cons to both methods; use the one that works best for you. In plastic cups, you'll be using potting mix and there will be more room for roots to grow and the soil may not dry out as fast as pellets. It is also messier and requires an automobile to bring bags of soil home from a store. Plastic doesn't allow air flow to roots and knowing when to water isn't always clear but the cups are re-usable. Cups are also going to take up more space and be more likely to tip over than pellets. (important if you have curious pets) Do you have room for cups under grow lights? Transplanting from cups leads to more root disturbance and transplant shock than plants in peat pellets. Pellets result in "air pruning" of roots which forces the plants into a smaller but denser root mass. Larger plants may outgrow the pellets depending on how many weeks they are seeded before transplant date. In my opinion, seedlings can be held in pellets until they are transplantable, 2-5 inches tall or 4-6 weeks old. Many people like to grow larger starts in hopes of getting that first tomato or bloom sooner! Pellets are now available in 2 sizes, 36 (typical) and 50 mm. The latter expands to 2.5 inches vs. 1 to 1.5" for the smaller size and is better for tomatoes.

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