Me and Seed Trays

Me and Seed Trays

Plastic seed trays

Seed sowing reaches its height in the middle of April. It is worth looking at the labour saving devices that were not available to our parents and grandparents.

Seed Tray Review

  • Old wooden seed trays with slats and high sides are still in use. They need care when cleaning before new crops are sown.
  • Plastic seed trays from rigid polypropylene with drainage holes can be used time and again and are easy to store and clean. There is generally a pattern of ridges to improve drainage.
  • I like to use the thin plastic segmented inserts inside a normal seed tray like those in the photograph.
    • They are cheap enough to be disposable but last a couple of seasons with care.
    • They vary in the number of cells, 3×5, 8×5 or 4×6 for example.
    • Each cell can be for individual seeds or used for several fine seeds. It makes pricking out and planting far easier.
    • The cells can also be used for growing on after pricking out. 15 or 24 good plants can be raised in one tray.
    • Do not put plastic inserts in a tray without drainage holes or the compost may get water logged.
  • Seed trays can be used to hold individual pots in one place. Up to 15 square 3″ pots can be put in one tray and they are a bit deeper than a standard tray.

Seed Tray Tips

  • Take care when watering to get all the area damp. Be careful with small cells and those near to the drying sun.
  • Label your seed sowing with the date and type of seed sown.
  • Sterilise your used seed trays in Jeys fluid or similar
  • To water from the bottom fill a larger container and stand the tray in the water until enough has been taken up.
  • Do not leave seedlings too long before pricking out. Long roots soon become stunted.
  • Carefully push out the cell contents from the bottom if using this product.

2021 Experience So Far

  • I vowed to sow fewer seed packets this year as pricking out then fills all the available warm space before the frost goes. Instead I have filled seed trays and 7cm pots with cuttings and bought in seedlings, so my space problem remains.
  • The square 7cm pots fit together in a seed tray for watering and carrying (but I always end up tipping some out by accident).
  • I did provide bottom heat for those seeds I have sown except lettuce. This has helped germination but regrettably not for tomatoes.
  • I stand some seed trays on wicking fabric to benefit from capillary action when watering from the bottom.
  • I have managed to get more seed trays in my greenhouse so all is not bad news despite the weather.
  • There is still time to use the seed trays for annuals and other seeds like wallflowers which await my attention.

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