How to Germinate Seeds With a Styrofoam Cup
To shorten the time it takes plants to grow, start the seeds indoors several weeks before the growing season. Your garden will come alive sooner, and crops will be ready for harvest about four to eight weeks early. The container you use to start your seeds doesn’t have to be expensive to serve its purpose — a Styrofoam cup is all you need. They’re sturdy, readily available and easily moved to different areas of the house.
Wash a 16-ounce Styrofoam cup with hot water and dish-washing liquid to remove any debris. If you’ve previously used the cup to start seeds, add 1 part bleach to 9 parts water and soak the cup in this sanitizing solution for five minutes. Set the cup aside to air-dry.
Turn the Styrofoam cup upside down. Pierce four holes in the bottom of the cup with a sharp-pointed pencil. Space the holes evenly over the bottom surface. Make them about 1/4 inch in diameter so water can drain and yet soil won’t fall through them.
Fill the Styrofoam cup up to 3/4 inch from the top with sterile seed-starting mix. Tamp down the medium so it’s firm in the cup. Trickle water onto the soil until it’s evenly moist — not soggy.
Spread two to three seeds over the soil surface so there’s at least a 1-inch distance between them. Sow the seeds at the depth mentioned on the seed packaging. Many seeds are sown at a depth of 1/4 or 1/2 inch, and tiny seeds are often surface-sown. If no instructions are available, cover the seeds with a layer of seed-starting mix that’s two times their diameter. Firm the medium over the seeds after sowing.
Fill a spray bottle with water and moisten the top layer of soil with it. To promote soil moisture retention, seal the Styrofoam cup in a clear plastic bag, or secure plastic wrap over the cup opening with an elastic band. Place a glass pane over the cup as an alternative.
Consult the seed packaging to determine the optimum germination environment for the seeds. Many seeds germinate at a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and sometimes they have specific light requirements. Place the Styrofoam cup on a heat mat for consistent warmth. If light is required to induce germination, place the Styrofoam cup near a sunny window or hang a fluorescent light at least six inches above the cup for about 16 hours per day.
Remove the plastic or glass cover from the Styrofoam cup and mist the soil with a water-filled spray bottle during the germination period. Replace the cover afterward. Spray the soil regularly so it stays consistently moist.
Uncover the Styrofoam cup after the seeds germinate and place it in a sunny, south-facing window, at a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so the seedlings can grow. Alternatively, expose the seedlings to fluorescent light for 16 hours per day. Keep the light at a consistent six-inch distance from the top of the seedlings.
Cut off the weakest seedlings with scissors at soil level so only one strong seedling remains in the Styrofoam cup.
Hydro Cup Watering System Set of 4
West Coast Seeds ships anywhere in North America. However, we are not able to ship garlic, potatoes, asparagus crowns, bulbs, onion sets, Mason bee cocoons, or nematodes outside of Canada. We regret, we cannot accept returns or damages for orders outside of Canada. The minimum shipping charge to the US is $6.99.
More details about Hydro Cup Watering System Set of 4
The Hydro Cup Watering System supplies a constant and even amount of water, down into the soil, where it gradually spreads to the roots of plants in vegetable beds, raised beds, or large containers. It comes with four terra cotta watering stakes, to drive into the soil, and four cups with detachable lids. Fill it with a hose, or allow it to fill with rain water on wet days. It will form a reservoir to continue delivering water even after the shower passes. It takes 10-14 days for the reservoir to fully drain. The reservoir is 2.5L (0.66 gallon), with a width of 17cm (6.7″) and a fully assembled height of 46cm (18″). Great for weekends away from the garden.