Next, you will want to put a hole into the cups you will be planting in. For example, if you are planning on starting 5 different varieties – you will need ten cups total. 5 of the cups should have a hole and 5 of them need to be left alone. You then put one cup with a hole into a cup that doesn’t have a hole. This forms the double cup method – allowing for their to be a reservoir for the water.
It is that time of year again here in Texas – it is time to start pepper seeds for the spring season. There are different methods to start pepper seeds. Each of the different methods have pros and cons that make them a reliable way to start pepper seeds. We will be exploring the different methods over the next few weeks. The first we will look at is the double cup method!
Tip: You can use a drill with a bit to make the holes. You want to make a couple of holes in the proper to provide proper drainage. You will have to experiment with the combo of the holes and the seed starting mix.
Step 2: Prepare the cups
Here is a helpful video on how to start pepper seeds using the double cup method:
Make sure to label your cups as to avoid any mix ups with the pepper varieties. I have accidently forgot to label cups and I had no idea what seeds I had planted in them.
4 Different Methods
The cups are re-useable from one season to another. I have used the same cups for five years now. It is important to clean them with a light bleach solution before you put them up for the season.
The double cup method creates a mini-greenhouse because of the plastic bag that is used to cover the tops of the cups. When you put the zip-loc bags over the top – it helps to hold in moisture which creates a micro climate for the seeds to have the optimal environment for germination.
The ziplock doesn’t completely tight around the side of the cup allowing a transfer of fresh air into the mini-greenhouse. The bag is also clear enough to allow light to reach the seedling. The bag tempers the climate around the plant during the evening hours.
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The cups are tapered from small at the bottom to larger at the top so the transplant will easily slide out of the cup when you transplant it.
Seeds need the right conditions to germinate and grow into prospering plants.
So using a planting method that provides the seedling a better chance of surviving and growing strong is key for any gardener.
Preparing Garden Beds for Planting Garlic
However, for those wanting to start only a few plants, the double-cup method is an excellent way to produce healthy transplants.
The large root ball and soil volume will make for an easier transition after being transplanted.
5. Fill the inner cup with seed starting mix. I always moisten my mix ahead of time. As I put the pre-moistened mix in the cup I gently tap the cup on the table so that the soil settles down to the bottom allowing more soil to fit into the cup. If you followed the Coffee Filter and Baggie Germination Method, plant the germinated seeds with the little roots facing down.
The double cup method is my preferred method for growing seedlings. It is simple to set up, keeps me from overwatering and the cups are reusable. I prefer the plastic cups as they are sturdier than the cheaper plastic seed starting trays. While the focus of this post is to explain my preferred method, you can grow seedlings in just about any type of container if it has adequate drainage. I will save that for a different post in the future.
I use store brand plastic cups. They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and reusable. I would suggest not using clear plastic cups. Light shining directly on the roots will make for a very unhappy plant. The standard red cup in 16 or 18 oz size is what I use. I grow many seedlings; therefore, I buy the 100-200 count size package. Everyone’s needs will be different. You may have some left over from a party or you can just pick up a small 20 count package pretty much anywhere, possibly even your local dollar store. If you need to start 10 seedlings, then you would need 20 cups.
Giant Jalapeno Growing in Double Cup Method
4. Take your inner cup and use your soldering iron (or sharp instrument) to put drainage holes in the bottom of the cup.
2. In the bottom cup, put a few small rocks or pebbles. This will allow the inner cup to slide down and sit on top of the pebbles allowing room for drainage.
I prefer to water my plants from the bottom to avoid Fungus Gnats and keep my plants happy but not soggy. Peppers and Tomatoes do not like wet feet! Actually, no plant really does. The seedlings should grow strong if properly cared for. Once they sprout through the soil be sure to provide adequate light for the type of plant you are growing. This could be a south facing window with plenty of good sunlight, or an indoor grow light. I add water to the bottom cup and it is absorbed through the drainage holes of the inner cup. You will find that your plants may show roots peeking out those drain holes by the time the plant is ready to go outside.
3. Put a label on the outside of the bottom cup, using your marker to write the plant name and the date.