I am very disappointed with the quality of flats that I am having to buy every year. It seems to me that they are getting thinner and weaker and the prices go up everytime I buy them. Am I alone thinking this? Where can I get the most 'sturdy' flats for my germination? I am having problems with the flats with no holes getting holes in the corners. I am referrring to the flats that are solid black and I fit ones with the holes in them inside the ones with no holes. Can someone give me some help with the best place to buy some good flats online possibly? Thanks for the responses.
They are very sturdy, and come with a platform and capillary matting for continuous watering. They are a little bigger than the standard 1020 trays. I use cellpacks, and 2" and 4" pots, depending on what I'm growing and what stage the plants are in. I'm on year 3 with some and still going strong. I use them inside and out in the cold frame and even during the summer outside for things that need babying. I've replaced some of the matting on the ones that were outside all season, but except for that they look like they'll last forever.
I've been planning to buy some thin plywood, or cheap wood panelling, to put under flimsy trays to make them stiffer.
You can patch cracks with Gorilla Tape. Duct tape might work also.
I usually use "insert trays", like 72 cells per tray. That way I can let seedlings grow for a few weeks and still plant them out without "untangling" roots. The tear-apart six-packs of cells are very haqndy when I go to p-0lant out, because I can turn just 6 plants upside down, and usually only 1-3 fall out at a time.
Or I use the stiffer "propagation trays", 50 or 128 cells per tray. Those, I usually cut into 3-4 pieces so I can turn 15-32 plants upside down at a time, or plant out 1/4 of a tray while leaving 3/4 under lights.
Usually I plant out or pot up when the root ball has formed, and pops out of the cell or insert whole. I gather that others "pric k out" the seedlings as soon as they have a few real leaves. I guess at that point, the root is just a little whisker. Trying to work with them that small makes me flinch. Aren't they really fragile & tender?
Grower's Solution sells Perma-Nest trays. 22" x 11", or smaller.
I have several 3 year old perma-nest flats (light green color) which were sturdy, however, if you live in a hot climate like I do, don't leave them out in the heat of summer, they become brittle and crack - I'm not talking about direct sunlight, just high temps in shade! I still like them though...