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Northwood seeds

Tell me about float tray systems

LeftyRighty

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#42
The cell blocks are styrofoam (?) solid, 2 1/4 inch high. I have the 120-cell set. The individual cell is 1-inch diameter on top, tapering to about 3/4-in at the bottom with a 1/2-in hole in the bottom of the block. The soil sponges are actually tapered square shaped, and fit snuggly, won't fall out if block is tipped over.
Don't know how 'tall' the 80-cell block is. Call or email Park Seed and ask.
 

BigBonner

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#43
I have plenty of the 72 cell trays . I may try and get a hold of some NEW 200 cell trays .200 cell is what I use in my float system but I wouldn't buy or sell used trays . Too many chances for disease with used trays .

I ordered boxes from Unline to ship trays in .

The trays at Parkseeds are too shallow for plants . I float on 4 inches of water .Roots will extend 4inches + past the bottom of the float tray . When plants are 2 inches tall the roots will extend 1.5 to 2 inches out the bottom of the tray .
The 288 cell is ok for burley , orientals and bright leaf . The 200 cell is better for about most all other tobacco plants . The 72 cell would be best for cigar plants , they have the most room .

All regular float trays are 26.5 " X 13.5" the only difference is the root ball size . There will be 288 , 253 , 242 , 200 or 72 plant hole's in the area of the tray . No matter how many cells they are they are still the same size tray .
 

LeftyRighty

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#44
Yeah, the roots really extend out the bottom - wasn't too bad of a problem.
When I push the sponge soil block out from the bottom, to plant, I seem to destroy much of the roots - didn't seem to deter the plants any.

(edit)
BB…..I think you are correct in having the bigger, deeper cells – it just never was a problem with any of the plants I grew. The only really nice thing about the Park Seed sets is that it’s a complete package from the start – well suited for a newbie. And not that expensive, compared to buying the cell blocks, building or finding a water tray, buying a starting soil or mixing. You’re getting close to the cost of the Park Seed system, without the hassle of home-built. It comes complete with the watering tray, cell block, soil sponges – and it produces acceptable results – not the best, but acceptable. Just need to drop your seeds and water. And it’s a convenient size, handy to move around as needed, for getting sun or hardening off or whatever.
 

BigBonner

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#45
There is another way that you can make a " like " float tray and works well .
Take Styrofam cups . Cut three pea size holes in the very bottom on the outside of the cup .
Lightly Fill the cups with the tobacco soil that I use or any home made wicking soil .DO NOT PACK THE SOIL .
Take and push a half round dibble in the middle of the soil in top of the cup . Tip end of your finger will work .Just push your finger straight down in the middle of the cup about a half inch .
Place one seed in the dibble .do not cover with soil . A slight dusting may be ok .
Place the cups in a large pan . Pour water in the bottom to about 2 inches and let it set . Apply water when needed and keep about 2 inches in the tray all the time .

I did this last year just to see how well it worked and it worked just as good as my float beds did .

You can also do the seed transfer to these cups like plug tobacco plants .

Styrofoam cups
Soil
Flat 3 inch deep pan
Water fertilizer
Tobacco seeds
 

Jitterbugdude

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#46
I did the styro float thing this year too 'cause I remember you did it last year. It works nice but the area required is huge. Those 72 cell float trays only take up a 2x3 area whereas using stryo cups you're only going to get about 30 cups in the same area and use probably 10 times more "soil"
 

BigBonner

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#47
Jitterbugdude

That is true , but I have had alot of people who only have enough room for 5 or 6 plants some 10 to 12 .

Larger growers needing 60 can use the cups easy but for a couple hundred plants then I would go to the 72 or 200 cell float tray .
 

LeftyRighty

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#48
The last 2 years, I’ve used 3 oz plastic bathroom Dixie cups (2-inch top diam), with 3 cut-holes around the bottom edge. Found a decent potting soil at a local nursery store, loosely fill, and tamp the cup to settle. Sprinkle milled sphagnum moss over surface (prevents damp-off and mold), drop 5 to 10 seeds, and bottom water. A few days after germination, I transplant into other 3 oz cups until I have the number of plants I need, plus a few extra, just in case. I use the old Park Seed watering tray – can squeeze 64 cups into it, but usually just do 56. I have 2 of these trays, plus another pan or two, to get the 150-170 plants I have room for in my garden space. The trays are 16 ½”x 20 ½”.

I have success transplanting when the seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves that are at least golf ball or larger, at about 5+ weeks. They’ve developed a decent root ball in the 3 oz cup by then. By experience, smaller plants don’t transplant well to the garden.

I started a 2nd crop on June 2nd – almost 2 weeks ago. I expect to transplant mid-July. I will plant between the current plants, after they’ve been topped and the lower-trash leaves removed. Probably a dumb experiment, but I want to try to see what I can get.
 
Last edited:

jeapadrenaline

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#49
I woke up a sleeping beast reviving this thread lol. Glad i did. Pm'd BB about some 200 cell trays. That way he as an idea if its worth getting them. I will definately do the float thing next year.
 

darren1979

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#50
I hope it works for you, nothing ventured nothing gained. Im thinking of using the ebb and flow(flood and drain) system myself next year.
 

Chicken

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#51
very informative thread indeed.

i delivered a load of fertilizer, to a peanut farm, and they had thier float trays, from the watermelons, in the '' SCRAP PILE, so i grabbed me 5 of them,

they look like they hold 100+ seedlings,

plenty for what i do,<!!!!!

so next year, im gonna be doing the float tray system

i figure, i can either build a water box, or, get a '' kiddie pool'' and let them float in it,????

i gotta come up, with a redneck idea, to make the water system?????
 

Jitterbugdude

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#52
Chicken, Make sure you sanitize those trays real good. Farmers usually throw them away after a few years because the Styrofoam really holds on to bacteria etc. You can Google the best way to do it. One of the usual recommendations is to soak them in a Clorox/water solution. I use peroxide. Another thing to remember when working with float trays is to never let them touch the soil. When you go to transplant next year, set the tray on a piece of wood or tarp... and keep them out of the sun so they so not degrade. Also, make sure you use a "soiless mix" that has been discussed before. Something like peat, pearlite and vermiculite.
 

Chicken

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#53
i didnt google it, but i went on you-tube, and YAHOO,

but didnt get much info,

i kinda wish i'd have grabbed about 5-10 more of them<

but the '' empty'' trailer will be there. to be picked up, or perhaps, i'll visit there again,???

but i got 5... and those will work perfect<
 

Jitterbugdude

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#54
Try this.... http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id132/id132.htm

You also might want to start looking for a DIST-4 meter. You use this to make sure you are adding the correct amount of fert to your water solution. I tested 3 different brands of fert this past spring. Miracle Grow, Peter's and I forgot the 3rd one. All 3 said to add 1 Tablespoon per gallon water. When I did that, my meter almost went off the scale and was way higher than the levels recommended by the Ag people. According to my meter, the proper fert level is 1 teaspoon per gallon. I do not know what would have happened if I used the tablespoon dose though. One more thing, start looking for a water soluble 20-10-20 type fert that contains micronutrients and does NOT contain urea... hard to come by these days.

Randy B
 

Chicken

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#55
is that the same type, of meter, that you use to check the water, on a hydrophonic system?

did you try your floats?

and how did they work for you?

i cant afford a failure, i know i can grow them sucessfully with plastic trays,

new things like this allways spook me, because i know, if i dont dial in the fert's in the water, it aint going to work, and possiblly kill everything...

i may do a experiment with just one tray,,

or possiblly just use the float tray,,,, as a normal seedling tray,???
 

leverhead

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#56
This year I didn't use a float tray system, but a wick type. The trays were 72 cell, each cell was 1 1/2" square by a little over 2" deep, the medium was 50/50 peat/vermiculite. I was focusing on Flue Cured type tobacco and used this guide for how much of what to put in the water.

http://ipm.ncsu.edu/Production_Guides/Flue-Cured/flue_cured.pdf

The amounts were small, so I used a reloading scale with units in Grains and figured everything in Gr (Grains) / Gallon of water. The materials I used were pretty off the wall, but the recipe worked well for me.

13.6 Gr Miracle-Gro 18-18-21

12.7 Gr Grant's stump remover (Potassium Nitrate 13-0-46)

8.8 Gr Ammonium Nitrate (From instant cold packs)

17.5 Gr Epsom salts

1.1 Gr Borax

At four weeks, I gave them 15.7 Gr/Gal of Ammonium Nitrate. I was using a Gallon per tray and would add water to a mark on the bottom trays to make up for evaporation. I started the seeds on plain water and added the fertilizer mix after a week.

It all worked well for me, the only thing I'm changing next year is to get deeper growing trays.
 

Chicken

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#57
ive allways shyed away from doing anything hydrophonically,

i am more of a soil type person,

im gonna use the trays, as if they were plastic dirt trays,

and grow them the way i normally do, using soil,

..allthough i will use them,, it's just everytime i hear about hydro growing,

it just put's me in left field, i cant get a concept, on the idea???
 

darren1979

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#58
Chicken, I had trouble getting my head around a lot of this hydroponics at first. But there a tons of videos on youtube (mainly mary Jane growers) showing set ups and plans/diagrams of set ups. Some look complex and offers look a piece of cake. Im gonna be using the ebb and flow/flood and drain system myself next year as its the easiest to set up, plus im only growing around 50 plants its the most cost effective as i have most of the stuff needed from my old fish tank.
 

Jitterbugdude

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#59
is that the same type, of meter, that you use to check the water, on a hydrophonic system?

did you try your floats?

and how did they work for you?

?
I'm not sure if hydroponics uses the same type meter but they probably do. It's a Total Dissolved Solids Meter (TDS).
Yes I used my float tray last year. The only problem I had if you want to call it a problem is my plants grew extremely fast. It seemed I was clipping them every other day. I used the 72 cell tray and couldn't imagine using anything bigger like a 200 cell.
 

Chicken

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#60
i took a pic of the float trays i got,

but right now, im loading my kiln, and taking a break,

stepping in there, is like being in a jungle,

im colling off, and drinking a cold one,

the kiln is impressive, you'll have to wait for the pics.

i have designed the perfect tobacco barn.
for flue -curing baccy
 
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