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BobStrauss

Which containers for mass seedling grow?

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BobStrauss

I'm wanting to get an indoor garage grow started for a large number (for me at least) of palm seedling, perhaps 200-300 at a time. Planning on several varities: livistona, w. robusta, butias, phoenix, jubaea, trachy, and chamaerops - hardy varieties that'll have a chance here in 8a. 

One aspect I need to figure out is which planter/tray setup to use to make things as easy/organized as possible. I've seen that some have used Stuewe & Sons systems (eg the D50 system, HIKO trays, etc). Is there a certain size "cone-tainer" that would be suitable for seedlings to remain in for a certain length of time? I know it likely varies greatly by palm type for what's optimal, but hoping to find a decent compromise that could be suitable across the spectrum. 

 

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Silas_Sancona
3 minutes ago, BobStrauss said:

I'm wanting to get an indoor garage grow started for a large number (for me at least) of palm seedling, perhaps 200-300 at a time. Planning on several varities: livistona, w. robusta, butias, phoenix, jubaea, trachy, and chamaerops - hardy varieties that'll have a chance here in 8a. 

One aspect I need to figure out is which planter/tray setup to use to make things as easy/organized as possible. I've seen that some have used Stuewe & Sons systems (eg the D50 system, HIKO trays, etc). Is there a certain size "cone-tainer" that would be suitable for seedlings to remain in for a certain length of time? I know it likely varies greatly by palm type for what's optimal, but hoping to find a decent compromise that could be suitable across the spectrum. 

 

These are the two sizes i picked up from Stuewe..  These are the more flexible containers.. Want the hard plastic ones, but those ain't cheap, lol ( may add them in the future )  While i'm using them for other stuff, no doubt they'll work for palm seedlings. Also picked up the hard plastic trays that these fit into, to keep things tidy / organized. 
DSC08554.thumb.JPG.f256c7d93d2fd55ab1f2db829b993791.JPG


There is a PT member in San Diego who put together his own tray setup.. drilling out the holes the Cone-tainers would fit into from Plywood. Neat set up.. 

Some people like using Treepots or Anderson bands.. Not the biggest fan of the last option myself.. Don't like that there aren't any trays, similar to those for Cone-tainers, for either Anderson bands or Treepots.. Would have to build something similar to keep them organized and in one place..

Only thing i'm not all that fond of on the cone-tainers, is the size of the hole at the bottoms.. Use a cotton ball or two to solve that issue for the smaller 2" X 7" containers. Taller 2" X 14" ones i might cut up pieces of shade cloth or screen to plug the holes and see how that works out.

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BobStrauss

Great info there, and that's an interesting idea about making a rack out of plywood vs paying for the ones they sell.

How long do your seedlings typically stay in the conetainers: 12 months or so? And do you typically transplant from there into 1/2/5g planters? I understand many palms don't like being transplanted, so I'm curious how most people walk up in size. 

 

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Silas_Sancona
47 minutes ago, BobStrauss said:

Great info there, and that's an interesting idea about making a rack out of plywood vs paying for the ones they sell.

How long do your seedlings typically stay in the conetainers: 12 months or so? And do you typically transplant from there into 1/2/5g planters? I understand many palms don't like being transplanted, so I'm curious how most people walk up in size. 

 

Other people, like @Darold Petty@aztropic@LJG, and/ or  @MattyB  ....among  many ( many ) other folks here..  well versed in using these containers can elaborate more on timing,  but w/ most things, you would want to step up once you start seeing lots of roots poking out of the drain holes.. That could occur within a year, or take a couple.. depending on how quickly X species grows after germination.. If you were doing seed like Bismarckia,  Hyphaene sp, ..etc sp.  that produce long roots when germinating, you would use longer / taller pots.. Some even fashion 2 or 3" wide PVC drain pipe into individual pots for such palms.. Did this myself when germinating some Hyphane seed awhile back.

What is nice about using these vs. throwing a bunch of seed into community pots ( ok for some things ) is, like you mention, less disturbance of the roots, which means less risk of potential setback when transplanting into individual or larger containers, ..or directly into their planting position in the ground.. Also nice to have everything in a much smaller space, which allows more space ..for more stuff..

For me, it will also make moving things around easier since  the sun here, esp. in summer, can ( ...does, lol ) fry ..almost anything, esp. smaller stuff..  so hopefully by using these i can keep that from happening this year.. Also makes it easier to pass around plants to other people.. Takes up less space when they take them home, or when mailing out ( though i plan on not including the containers when mailing, lol ).

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BobStrauss

Well I dove in and purchased a bunch of the hard plastic (took your advice here) 2x7 cones and D50 trays. You're right about these not being cheap, the shipping alone basically doubles the price.  And the sales rep also echoed what you said about the bottom of the cells, mentioning (without my asking) that I may want "to put a piece of newspaper or burlap" at the bottom to keep fine soils from falling out. 

And I can't agree more on how these could be perfect for keeping things organized/tidy, especially in my situation where I need to minimize use of indoor space and maximize my grow light footprint. Pretty cool being able to fit 600 seedlings on a three-tiered 4'x2' shelf. 

A few other curiosities on how to best utilize these: 

  1. Do you sow seeds directly into the cells?
  2. Would a heat pad still be effective given the cone shape (and lack of contact area b/w mat and container)?
  3. I assume you just take these outside for a light overhead irrigation when needed?

Thanks again for all the advice. 

 

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Silas_Sancona
1 hour ago, BobStrauss said:

Well I dove in and purchased a bunch of the hard plastic (took your advice here) 2x7 cones and D50 trays. You're right about these not being cheap, the shipping alone basically doubles the price.  And the sales rep also echoed what you said about the bottom of the cells, mentioning (without my asking) that I may want "to put a piece of newspaper or burlap" at the bottom to keep fine soils from falling out. 

And I can't agree more on how these could be perfect for keeping things organized/tidy, especially in my situation where I need to minimize use of indoor space and maximize my grow light footprint. Pretty cool being able to fit 600 seedlings on a three-tiered 4'x2' shelf. 

A few other curiosities on how to best utilize these: 

  1. Do you sow seeds directly into the cells?
  2. Would a heat pad still be effective given the cone shape (and lack of contact area b/w mat and container)?
  3. I assume you just take these outside for a light overhead irrigation when needed?

Thanks again for all the advice. 

 

Yep, lol Completely agree,  Seeing the shipping amount when finalizing the order was a tad cringe-worthy.. But, we've all spent more on things that may - or may not be any less important..  Plus, like you said, being able to grow everything in a much more organized manner / less area taken up now will be worth the shipping sting, as i referred to it as, haha..

Answers to the 3 questions:
#1: Yep, right in the center, unless you were to put down two seeds ( some people try this.. ) Smaller seeds place no deeper than about the width of the seed ( though things like Washingtonia  still sprout if buried deeply in a pot )

#2:  Heat.. from a heating pad below ( indoors ) ..or the sun will still warm up the soil in the containers, even though they take up less area then say your standard, square 3" x 7" pot, 1-3, etc gal - sized pots..

#3: If growing indoors, yea.. you could do that, or place the trays above some sort of tray that collects any runoff.. And do make sure you're watering well enough to soak the soil all the way through.. This time of year, and being that you're starting indoors, can't imagine you'll have to water all that much.. Too much water/ things staying too wet is more of a concern, even for me here in AZ. outdoors..

That said, watering schedule can depend on the soil mix you'll be using too though..  I personally avoid anything high in Peat Moss, opting for Coconut Peat ( essentially crushed Coconut Husk / Fiber )  Then adding my own stuff .. often gritty ingredients  to help keep the soil mix open / drain well ( important here ) Other growers have their own great soil mixes  .. Some having decent results using Peat Moss / Perlite.. ( Personally avoid that stuff too )

Having been in the nursery trade for the past couple decades, i've seen how much of a pain in the >>  trying to keep stuff planted in Peat watered properly ..w/ out the plants ending up rotting. Peat is very hard to re- wet if it dries out and dehydrates.. Coco Peat doesn't have the same " dehydration / " shrivels up when dry " issue.. But can dry out a bit quickly too. There are wetting agents that can be applied when first using Coco Peat that can help it stay wetter longer.  Also wise to put the stuff  through a soak / drain off / soak again process to remove any accumulated salt content as many companies that sell it ( usually comes in a block ) don't share whether they had pre- soaked it ( to lower any salt content ) before packaging to sell.

Obviously, if you come across a great pre- bagged soil mix option, that will work for starting seeds too.. esp. really common things. Reserve any special potting soil mix ( -es ) for the rarer, more valuable - in your area - Palms /  other plants you might grow..

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Scott W

Yeah, I remember my first order from Stuewe...and the others after as well.  The sticker shock on shipping is certainly crazy!!!

I have a ton of the Ray Leach containers and they fit nicely into the holes in a sheet of plastic lattice.

FB_IMG_1640117761211.thumb.jpg.aebf72cc62003b49ed46f9396fd478b5.jpg

As for bulk germination....I've been using large totes of late.

PXL_20210922_193157862.thumb.jpg.839956266d7bad064b01fcbf8cd83ce3.jpg

My latest setup in the greenhouse has these shipping trays I found that are about six inches deep.  Have heat mats underneath these keeping the soil at 92F.

PXL_20211216_201221091.thumb.jpg.b523d0c3c712a48cfd54a1b8aa17f056.jpg

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