I discovered these channel seed starting flats several years ago, and liked them much better than the commonly used plug trays. I even used to sell them in our eBay store, but shipping costs became too much (for the extra long box) and I am happily using the leftovers I didn’t sell. Here is the “sales pitch” that was in the eBay listing–and every word is true. LOVE these things:
These are 1020 size seed germination flats, each with twenty separate channels for planting, and pre-cut, self-stick labels numbered 1-40 to identify each row.
Each channel is 10″ long x 7/8″ wide x 1 1/4″ deep and has holes in the bottom for watering.
There are advantages to this system:
- You have a permanent record of what seeds are planted where–no depending on sticks that can be lost
- You don’t have to fill the whole flat at once; you can sow only as many rows as you need as the season progresses
- You can vary the spacing of seeds in different rows, depending on the needs of each type of plant
- You can adjust the method of sowing each row–seed depth, planting medium, fertilizer, type of covering (vermiculite, sand, soilless mix, etc.)–to suit the sowing directions of different seed packages
- Seedlings that grow more quickly can be transplanted without disturbing the roots of seedlings in other channels
- Seedlings (with roots and soil intact) are gently lifted out from the row ends using a butter knife–no pushing the root up from the bottom (as in plug flats), crushing the root mass when pushing up the bottom of six-pack cells, or turning pots upside down and trying to catch the seedlings in your hand
- There is no wasted planting mix left in the flat after transplanting the seedlings
- The channels are easier to clean than the individual holes in plug flats
Each flat fits over a standard 1020 watering tray (not included) and under a standard humidity dome (not included). If you don’t have a dome or tray, it’s easy to improvise:
No dome? Enclose the flat in a clear plastic bag (like those from the dry cleaner or supermarket produce section) to keep in humidity until germination. Or just lay baggies on top.
No watering tray? A (clean!) kitchen garbage bag can be placed in the shipping box to hold water for bottom watering (see photo). Or pour a little water in a cookie sheet and water half the rows, then turn the flat around and water the other half.
End of “sales pitch”——-
Putting number stickers on the rows allows me to plant many different types of tomatoes or flowers in the same tray, and put them all on a single heat mat.
It’s important to keep a list of what plant is in which row and (learn from my mistakes) put copies of that list in several places so you don’t lose it. I now even type up the lists and keep them in a Word document–but don’t depend on that one copy either! (Crashes happen.)
Here is a picture of last year’s tomato seedlings under lights. Notice that row #7 had marigold seedlings.
I can’t wait to start tomato seedlings again this year–but not until April 1. Meanwhile, look for the next post on winter sowing, which can be done right now!