Seedybeans Blog

Celebrating the Humble Harvests of High Desert Homesteading

Planting into wooden flats

If you are planting inside a greenhouse or in your sunniest window you have probably already figured out your planting techniques.  For the sake of garden teaching, I thought I would include some tips on growing in wooden flats for those of you who are trying it for the first time. 

I actually have these tips typed up and hanging in the greenhouse at school, reminders seem to help new students.


* Check moisture of potting mix before putting it into the flat- It should feel wet to the touch, but not drip water when squeezed. I usually squeeze some in my hand, it should hold a loose ball and then crumble.  Many in the trade say it should “be moist as a rung out sponge”

* Fill flats all that way to the top.  Tap a few times on the tables to release air instead of pushing down with hands (that compacts the soil)

*Sow the seeds either broadcasting or in a grid format depending on the size of the seed (bigger seeds need more room and will get crowded quickly)

*Plant seeds twice as deep as they are wide making sure flat is filled to the top with soil when done ( the space between the top of the soil sand the top of the flat is a perfect ecosystem for green gunk to grow.  by filling the flat all the way up you eliminate this habitat)

* Label flats with name & date on a popsicle stick or some other creative label.  Record sowing info onto sowing sheet for record keeping.

*Fill out planting sheet whenever you plant something with all info- name, date, seed co, year seed was packed, etc..

* Water flats with sprinkle nozzle on watering can.  Keep the can moving and don’t allow water to puddle, seeds can drown, or wash away.

* Soil should be keep constantly moist while seeds are germinating, check by touching soil, should leave a little dampness on your fingers.


  karen wrote @

What is the benefit of using the wooden flats as opposed to a plastic one? Do the wooden ones have drainage wholes? I changed my soil to a mix that Soilutions made for me – it seemed heavier than what I used last year. WHat would you recommed for seed starting?

  seedybeans wrote @

Wooden Flats are really good if you are starting perennials or things that may be in flats for a longer time. They last longer than plastic, they retain moisture better, and they have more soil in them, thus giving your plants access to more nutrients… and you can make them yourself. I use plastic too, so whatever you choose is fine. As for potting mix, solutions I am sure is great, (Never tried it)…But I find that when plants germinate all they need is moisture and warmth, when the begin to photosynthesis they need more food. If you are going to leave the seed in the same pot you plant it in until it goes into the garden, nutrients are important, so add more compost. If you will transplant it in the greenhouse to a bigger container, go for more peat moss. I did post about soil mixes and “If wooden flats are right for you” They are under the garden project category. Hope that helps–

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  Planting into pallets | Seeds & Stones wrote @

[…] table(s) for transplants.  This is basically bio-intensive gardening, but more on that later…here is the next step if you are […]

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