Aquaponics - Bottomless cup transplanting method

I've had an idea.

I've decided to go with plastic cups as pots for my NFT tubes and strawberry towers. They cost four cents each, and are food safe. Or at least I can reasonable expect them to be food safe.

I drill holes into the bottom of a stack of ten cups at a time so they are quick to modify, and fit the NFT holes well.

But that's not the idea.

It turns out that you can get pretty good growth with more than one plant in even a tiny plastic cup. There is always enough nutrient getting to the plants because there is so much of it around. The problem is, it's a bit tricky to plant two or three seedlings into a little pot. I tried holding the plants with two hands then adding the grow media with a third, but didn't get far with that plan.

So then I tried this...

I cut the bottom out of a cup, and sat it lightly inside another cup with holes drilled into the bottom that would end up being the pot.

This allowed me to sit my three seedlings in place, and at just the right height, being supported by the bottomless cup.

Then I can add my media to the bottomless cup without burying the plants, and I also get to keep keep the roots down where they should be.

Once the bottomless cup is filled to the desired height you gently lift it out, leaving the media behind.

A gentle and rapid transplant that handles the plants as little as possible.

But I wont be using it, because I plan on planting seeds directly into the media.

  • My 8 pots at a time will be planted with seeds in individual cups.
  • These will be placed into a partially buried empty 2L ice cream container with holes drilled in the bottom in the main grow bed. They will be packed tightly together and taking up a small amount of space.
  • Once large enough they will be transferred in their same pots into the original small NFT tube with holes very close together.
  • When they outgrow their small homes, they will be moved into the main NFT tubes. 
  • Eventually I'll add another 4 tubes of 10 holes each to the growhouse, and another icecream container seed raising bank to the grow bed. That will give 90+ (I think) in total, plus the main original grow bed.
 All with a foot print of 1.8 metres square.

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