Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

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?

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


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.