Re: What do you think?
- From: Carl 1 Lucky Texan <alckytxn@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 01:06:21 GMT
"Carl 1 Lucky Texan" <alckytxn@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:WyMEg.8614$kO3.5509@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
"madgardener" <madgard@xxxxxxx> wrote in message news:1155757513_784@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I start seeds in styrofoam cups. I do exclusively square foot gardening and have several boxes going. I use the 32oz cups that I buy in bulk
from Sam's Club. I put about 1 inch of potting soil in the cup.
When it comes time to plant I just cut the bottom out of the cups and plant the whole things. This leaves me the proper amount of empty cup to do the watering called for in the Square Foot Gardening book.
Well, everything that happens, wilt, browning leaves, low yield, bugs, disease etc., happens because I PLANT THE DANG CUPS, according to my wife. She, and others, say this is a definate no-no. I disagree. What do you say and why?
after reading everyone else's responses, I've come to the obvious solutions. Styrofoam however cheap is wrong only because you're leaving the cups around the young seedlings, and your thinking is probably as protection against cut worms, but in this case, everyone whose response is deffinate is dead on the money. Wilt is from lack of enough nutrients, browning leaves are fungal which the styrofoam doesn't allow the soil around the plants to breath, bugs attack distressed plants to eliminate them. Only the stronger plants survive. Distressed plants send out inaudible signals to the insects to "come and put me out of my misery I'm not well!" And low yields are from cramped roots. Had that happen myself with a trial growing of some plants from seeds that had the exact same problems as yours.
So here's the simpler solution: Everyone has helped with alternatives. You could use cheap paper cups that will break down if planted. (no wax lined cup, it won't break down fast enough). Your best bet would be to watch for Lowes or Home Deprived to have sales on their seed starting stuff. The peat pots are great and with their over purchasing for Spring, you can pick up everything more than half price at the leg end of Spring. Or you can order bulk garden cheap starting seed stuff from Garden Supply. Park Seeds is a bit pricey but you'd have quality stuff. Same with Garden Supply. Or you could check out Gardens Alive! and price their seed starting stuff. Or Lee Valley Tools is another wonderful, reusable source for seed starting stuff.
Don't let this set back discourage you. Are you burying the whole cup into the soil once you punch out the bottoms? If you are, that's a HUGE part of your problem. Another source would be a co-op or old fashioned hardware store that always has Spring seed stuff. I'm sure they'd have stuff still on the shelves. But the best bargain if you're frugal is to hit Lowes (I know about Lowes personally having worked there for a few years) or Depot when they're at the end of their season and want to get rid of the seed trays, six packs, 24 packs, expandable coins that expand when you soak them in water and plant (you can bury them in the ground and after I cut the sides a bit, the roots push past the little tiny peat pot and attain impressive sizes).
Any pots you start that will break down in the soils for your square foot gardens will have to be buried completely. Even the peat pots. Because if you leave even a little bit sticking out of the ground, the moisture will wick out faster.
I've done Square foot gardening for decades and it works wonderfully. (it's also called intensive gardening). And one inch of soil isn't enough for a 32 ounce cup! I'd go with alternatives. Cheap paper that WILL break down once buried and bottomed out will work. Once the seedlings are to size, you could cut slits into the sides to expedite faster break down and allow the roots to escape, the cup would protect against cut worms during the early growth periods. as for the convenience of pouring a "specific amount of water on each plant" being easier, consider the little micro climate you've made that caused all sorts of wonderful homes for fungus, molds, disease and bound up roots (low yields and unhealthy plants which draw bugs to off them quickly, Nature is amazing).
Try these ideas and get back to us. Keep on Square foot gardening. I still do. I grow tomato's and radishes and all manner of things in containers on my deck only because I don't have enough ground on this steep slope and too many trees to clear to provide a spot for a square foot garden. I do have, however some self watering boxes a friend gave me and I have now a spot I can clear out that will provide me over 7 hours of direct sunlight and next spring I'll have for the first time a place for my veggie garden!! Woo hoo!! Good luck to you, keep us posted.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone still intensive gardening after almost 28 years....................
I'm not sure we are on the same page here. When I say Square Foot Gardening, I'm talking about this: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
If you are familiar with this method, as portrayed in the book, you will recall that the method calls for making a "saucer" type impression in the square and putting the plant right in the middle of that. Then, you water each plant by pouring one cup of water into the impression either daily, every other day or weekly, as the particular type of plant spec calls for.
Now, we are talking about some 100 boxes here. Having an employee going around with a bucket and a cup and making sure he gets everything watered properly is a waste of time and money in my opinion. So, I decided to experiment by using a 32 ounce cup, leaving enough of it empty so as to hold the alloted amount of water so the fellow could just go around with a wand and fill up the cups. We only tried this with 12 boxes and we had a few problems and my wife blamed everythiing on planting those dang cups.
I know styrofoam is not biodegradable so I know it does no harm to anything in the box. I know that when we remove the plants to rejuvenate a box for future plantings the roots are NOT rootbound or anything. I'm pretty sure, as the boxes are filled with a plant medium mixture of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 well composted cow manure and other organic material, and 1/3 spanghum peat moss, that there is ample aeration. So, what I am trying to determine is whether or not the cups are detrimental or have I just run into a run of fungus, disease or something.
For my two cents, I'd just soon take the started plants out of whatever they are started in, and plant them directly into the square, but the problem with that is, unless I'm following the guys around, they inevitably overwater, washout or just plain wipe out a whole box.
By the way, anywhere near Jefferson City?
Fire those guys and put in some drip irrigation calibrated to water how you desire.
Ahhh, you've never lived under the watchful eye of a south Texas rice belt water district, have you?
Carl (watering by hand only 10am-6pm, as far as anyone can tell...)
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