Seedlings: Product Review

The seedling project is well under way. If you missed reading about this endeavor, post 1 and post 2 will bring you up to speed.

As promised, I am writing some thoughts on this product, which I purchased and recommended in my ‘getting started’ post.

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Purchased through Burpee.com, this seedling starter kit contains all the essentials you will need to begin a seedling project. I decided on this kit because purchase of all individual components, from various sites in which I researched the best prices, wasn’t as cost effective.

For around $20, the growing kit includes:
watering tray
play tray
plant stand
greenhouse top
*all of these items can be re-used in future seasons
self-watering mat
*TBD if this can be used again
growing cubes (i.e. starting soil)
fertilizer
plant markers
*these items will need to be replenished for future planting, the fertilizer and plant markers being options, of course
planting chart
*if you make photo-copies of this before you write on it, you’ll be set for next go-round

So far it’s been terribly convenient having all essential components in one kit, which is why I highly recommend purchase for getting started.

Things I’m on the fence about:
1. the kit indicates it self-waters for up to 10 days. I was drawn to self-watering mats while doing my research because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to keep my seedlings watered, thus alive, if I needed to be gone for a weekend or handful of days at a time. As much as I wanted to embark on this project, the honest truth is that I can’t just not leave town for 2-3 months due to seedlings needing watered!  Self-watering mats and this particular kit seemed like the ticket, however, 10 days is a FAR stretch. I find I need to replenish the water in the tray about every 4-5 days. While a touch of false advertisement, not a deal breaker, at least for how my life currently functions.
2. another observation about the self-watering mat…while it seems to work work sufficiently well, after the greenhouse top is removed I notice that the top layer of soil tends to dry out every several days. In an effort to be careful not to over-water I do re-moisten the top layer with a spray bottle but I’m honestly not sure how moist the rest of the soil in each pod remains. I need to get a soil moisture meter to check, but have yet to come across the one I have in mind. Everything seems to be doing well as far as growing is concerned so I haven’t hunted too hard quite yet either.
3. the greenhouse top is wonderful…except for that my seeds are starting at different times. Once germinated, the greenhouse top needs to come off which is tricky when you have new seeds starting while others are actively growing. Also not a deal breaker, I’ve found the use of plastic wrap just as effective and then I can cut away pieces as different pods are sprouting.
3. I’m not sure how long the self-watering mats will hold up, and if I’ll be able to get a couple seasons of seedling projects out of them but they are replaceable for relatively cheap so we’ll wait and see on this one.

These kits come in regular and XL size. I bought both with the intention of doing annual flowers in the regular size and garden veggies in the XL, but I don’t necessarily think you NEED both.

Oh, and a final tip, if you are going to order these online from Burpee, watch for free shipping deals. They occur often and it’s super nice to just have things show up at your doorstep rather than running out to the store to purchase. Additionally, the kits I’ve seen in stores are slightly different and seem to cost a touch more so the free shipping definitely makes ordering online a bonus!

H

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