Tag Archives: starters

Building starter trays

Ah, yes it is time to start getting our garden stuff out and into action. This time we will be going full bore as if our lives depended on it. Recently we made an eBay purchase for 300 4″ plastic pots and plastic trays with 480 individual cells, and it was delivered to us all neatly stacked together taking up maybe a couple square feet. I sat proudly and thought to myself “Yeah…..we are gearing up for this homstead project” as I gazed upon our growing arsenal of self-relient STUFF. Yet, there was a nagging thought barking in my left ear saying “What are you going to do about getting these seeds started in time when you don’t have any trays to put the planters in, no money to buy them, and really have not a decent location to put it all at this point?”. To get this clear it was not Mama barking in my left ear but a reality check smacking me around!

So after kicking a few ideas around in my head I came up with a solution that would not cost more than $30.00 and hold 680 individual starter pot/cells. I, being king of cheap, decided to use a sheet of luan plywood , 1×4 #4 grade pine (my favorite solution for everything duct tape won’t fix), a few 1 1/4″ screws, and six trash bags to build my six waterproof trays. The day was 4-4-11 and I remembered, “ahh haa!” I had a Lowe’s coupon to get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more expiring that day. However, I did not want to spend an extra $20 just to get $10 off because it seemed too….something or other. Needing to start a fire I went outside to split some wood while pondering what I could do and still be finacially prudent, when “CRACK” the head of my splitting maul fell right off and into a slushy puddle. “Oops! That sucks!” I yelled, and looking up I saw Buddy staring through our door at me with this cunfused gitty look on his face. I went back inside only to have Buddy, trying very hard not laugh, start muttering some alien words describing what just happened. Agreeing with his laugh I too started laughing and said, “well I’m gonna be going to lowe’s. Who wants to go with me?”. It really didn’t matter who wanted to go because it was Girlie’s turn to ride with Papa anyways, so off we went.

The trays I built are 25″ by 33″ and 2 1/2″ deep and have a separated trash bag liner which is secured using staples. I dumped a gallon of water into one and found that it has about a 5/16″ water table height. This good to know for watering purposes. The tray also held water without a problem, even as I sloshed it around during the trip to the drain. Eventually I will most likely build some sort of greenhouse rack system for the trays, but for now we have something to start with.