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keeping seeds/seedlings watered

A friend wrote posing the problem of keeping seeds and seedlings water
while away for extended (a week) period of time while on business. 
Perhaps some of you have solved the problem in another way.  I replied:
I can understand the problem you have with keeping seedlings watered
while you are working and away from home.  I have solved the problem in
one of several ways, depending on how many seedlings/plants I have and
their stage of development.

1)  I use on some seedlings a "seed starter" kit from Gardeners' Supply
(VT) whereby the seeds/plants are in ProMix or soil in Styrofoam tray
that sits on a felt pad that draws water up from a reservoir tray.  All
this is covered by a plastics dome cover.  Works wonders and can easily
keep plants watered for up to a week.  I use this system particularly
when starting tomatoes.  Also works well with Hosta;
2)  I use a standard nursery tray 11" x 22" with 6-pak inserts - this
accommodates 72 plants.  I use ProMix, transfer seedlings from my starter
system.  Water well and insert into large plastic bag which measures 20"
w x 8" h x 36" l.  Comes from National Bag Co, Inc in carton of 250 for
$83.90, or 34 cents a piece.  I use these bags similarly with my tc
explants that have been rooted; also to contain "pure" environment for
baby food jars containing the explants on media.  Others use ZipLock
baggies - either the 1 gal or the 2 gal size - and obviously a smaller
tray.  I know one person says she gets 1/2 trays in the 2 gal ZipLock
baggie.  I do not think the ZipLock baggie method is any cheaper, but
have not calculated it.
3)  I start the seedlings in clear plastic salad bar containers.  The
ones I use are 4" square and 3.5" deep.  I use about 1" ProMix, saturate
with water, put into microwave at medium temp for about 5 - 7 min to kill
off fungus gnats, let cool, sow seeds.  This will keep seeds - and then
seedlings - well watered for a long period of time.  I usually do not
have to wet the ProMix before culling and transferring the seedlings on
to a larger "home."

Hope some of these suggestions help.

Charles Tuttle
Columbus  OH   Z5
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