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Always Looking

April 2nd, 2018

I’m always looking for long lasting garden tools, especially when it comes to seed starting. The black plastic trays are ridiculously flimsy and won’t last long at all. They’re so flimsy, they don’t really work with soil blocks. I started using Perma-Nest trays about 8 years ago and really like them a lot. But they are plastic and won’t last forever, I’m guessing 10-15 years will be the max for them. Which is still great considering they’re not much more expensive than the black plastic ones that only last a season. Most recently, I decided to try half sheet pans with lids.

They sheet pans themselves are made of metal, so they should last for many, many years. Even though the lids are plastic, the don’t get as much wear and tear and should last quite awhile as well. They’re less expensive than a tray with a dome, even initially.

One issue I discovered (and thought about previously, but figured I could find a work-around) was the height of the lid. With soil blocks, there’s minimal head room. That’s not a huge deal, as I always remove the lids as soon as seeds start to germinate. The sheets fit the same exact number of soil blocks that a perma-nest tray does (40 of the 2″ soil blocks). There is no way that a plant tag will fit in the blocks, so I taped them on the lid to let me know which varieties were in each row.

Just so the lid wouldn’t get turned around, I added arrows on the lid and on the tray. When I remove the lid, I’ll transfer the labels to the corresponding row of seedlings. That should avoid confusion and only adds a bit more work to the seed starting process. I’ll keep you posted on this product to let you know. I already use chaffing dishes and sheet pans for holding larger pots and have found them to be quite reliable. Their strength is a major benefit over the plastic alternatives. I’ll keep looking for ways to decrease products that don’t last in order to produce less waste in my gardening.

Have you discovered any great products for gardening that aren’t really intended for gardening?

3 Comments to “Always Looking”
  1. Nebraska Dave on April 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Susy, I’m not a creative or resourceful kind of guy. Most of my inspiration comes from blogs or YouTube videos like yours. The Internet can be a wonderful tool if used in the right way. People think I’m a genius when it comes to gardening but all my knowledge has come from other sources. I don’t think that I’ve actually invented or discovered much of any thing on my own.

    You blog has been one of the top ones that I’ve gleaned information and has sparked garden ideas for many years. I’m sure glad that I found your blog and that you still actively blog about all your life experiences. Thank you for continuing to do that for so many years.

    Nebraska Dave

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. Martha Reed on April 4, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I used the same permanest trays that you did and found two issues with them. The edges crack easily after a few years and the edges take up a lot of room on tehe shelf. I have found some great sturdy trays from The Bootstrap Farmer online. They look like the flimsy black ones and are the same size, but they are really tough. Check them out! In the meantime, I’m going to look at the baking trays, because sometimes I have a smaller amount of soil blocks that need individual attention and nothing smaller that’s sturdy has a matching cover!

    Reply to Martha Reed's comment

    • Susy on April 4, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      I agree, I noticed I have to be careful with the edges of the permanents. I don’t find that they take up much more room, but I overlap the edges on them. They also have different sized which I really like.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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