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Picture of Plant Starting Flats
Back in the day nurseries used wooden trays to start their plants.  Rather than having plastic six packs with a cell for each seedling, seeds were sown in the tray and allowed to germinate.  Soon after the seedlings appeared the plants were separated and replanted into individual pots or transferred to a garden bed.

The idea of using durable reusable trays rather than flimsy disposable plastic pots appealed to me.  I wanted to try it out so I decided to make my own set of planting flats.
 
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Step 1: Get Materials

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The scrap wood pile is always a good place to start for a project like this.  I happened to have a pile of short boards that our weird neighbor gave me.

Step 2: Cutting Up

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The first step is to cut the pieces for the sides.  Decide what dimensions you want your trays to be and cut up the wood accordingly.

Step 3: Drill Holes

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Drill holes wide enough  to let a screw pass through easily in the ends of two of the boards for each tray.

Step 4: Assemble the Boxes

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Screw the sides together.  You can see that I used one screw on the shallower boxes and two on the deeper ones.

Step 5: Cut Slats for the Bottom

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Cut up a bunch of thin slats for the bottom of the trays.

Step 6: Finish the Bottoms

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Attach the slats to the bottoms of the trays.  I used a pneumatic finish nailer.  A stapler would have been even better.  Leave spaces between the slats wide enough so water can drain out easily.

Step 7: Lots-o-Flats

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It doesn't take long to make a whole bunch of these flats. Properly made they'll last years or decades.

Step 8: Use 'em

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paper lining.jpg
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I like to stick the flats in a plastic tray to catch the water when I'm sprouting seeds. I line the flats with a piece of paper to keep the dirt from washing out. 

Here's a bunch of sunflower sprouts.  

The deeper flats get more mature plants planted in them like these tomatoes.  I made a grid of cardboard to keep the roots from growing into each other.

If you like projects, and I know you do, come on over to Mike and Molly's House where we do Mighty Projects on our Mini Farm (aka our backyard).

Thanks!!
Soulsbane3 years ago
This is a good idea. But maybe you could make handles on the sides make it easier to 'handle' them.
paganwonder3 years ago
We weird neighbors are always the ones with useful stuff or the tool you need or the experience to fix stuff...we're like nurses- not thought of until you need help...we are essential to the community! (I am not offended to be called weird!)
canucksgirl3 years ago
Cool idea. I just hope your neighbor doesn't read this, or he might stop giving you stuff. :)
These are great. Very pretty and 1000 times better than plastic. :D