Floor space is at a premium in my greenhouse, and since that is where the majority of my plants’ containers stand I have to be a bit creative about how I use that space. (Hence, me trying to train pumpkins and the like to grow vertically!) Obviously some plants last longer than others so a certain amount of juggling is required not only with the space but with the containers themselves, too.
I love those window-box style troughs you can get, and I’ve been making use of several of them this year, both outside and on my greenhouse floor where I have some filled with dwarf sunflower, carrot and salad plants. With the troughs all full and the floor a bit crammed, but wanting to keep some continuity with my salad planting, I needed to come up with another alternative. Since my seed trays are so flimsy they nearly split if you look at them, I decided they might be my best bet for a bit of improvisation. So my “False-Bottomed Seed-Tray” was born!
Dwarf sunflower plants in a trough inside my greenhouse.
I filled one seed tray with compost. Then I cut most of the bottom out of a second seed tray, leaving a rim around the edge inside (though I must say it left some sharp edges – Ouch!). Having watered the contents of the first tray, not least to find the compost’s level once it had settled, I placed the cut away tray on top. With a layer of compost in the “bottom” of the bottomless tray, to hold it in place, I sprinkled a thin, discreet layer of potting compost on the top and watered it. Though it took a bit of careful handling, my False-Bottomed-Seed-Tray sits on the staging nicely, so it doesn’t take up any more floor space.
Having scored myself an extra container, however makeshift, I sowed my next batch of “Rondo” carrot, “Scarlet Globe” radish, spring onion, salad rocket and “Green Salad Bowl” lettuce seeds into it. My thinking was that this arrangement would give enough depth for these plants to grow in, and I could have a small number of several things in the one “container”. This seemed to me an easy enough process to repeat a couple of weeks later, or whenever suitable, in order to have a constant supply of these types of plants. Providing, of course, that all grew well. An added bonus was that nothing got wasted! The piece I had cut out of the original seed tray is now indoors on my windowsill, awaiting some damp kitchen paper and cress and mustard seeds!
As the days and weeks went by, I watered the “top” tray whenever it looked like the compost and seedlings needed it, but I only watered the “bottom” tray a couple of times a week, or more if it was particularly hot. While wanting to keep it moist enough to maintain a deeper but united seedbed, I didn’t want to saturate it and hamper any drainage from the top layer.
Thankfully, a handsome number of seeds came through and developed. We’ve eaten rocket and radishes from the tray. The onions and carrots have come through but are still maturing. However, the lettuce seedlings never came through. Though I’m disappointed about that, I don’t think it is down to the nature of the container because I’ve had problems getting these seeds to germinate in the past. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes it hasn’t.