seeds What I have learned "condiment cups"

I found quite a few threads regarding germinating seeds in condiment cups and rather than bringing up threads from '09, '11 or older I will share some thoughts here.

I started in the Rootmaker 32 and 60 cell 10x20's 12/16/22 and I was frustrated with how few seeds germinated and liked the idea of seeing with my eyes the progress. So I switched to ziploc bags with a half paper towel folded in half and laid them on a heat mat, probably 10 bags total and I am sure that would have worked fine but being a Youtube junky I kept searching for options. When I saw a guy using the condiment cups several thoughts came to mind, I can germinate a lot of seeds in a small space and see every seed easily and don't have to layer bags and don't have to mess with sticking my hand in the bags.

I found mine at Wally World, about 3.44 for 50 and they are certainly available for less.


I cut paper towel discs to fit and the very first lesson, one layer dries out overnight with the water vapor condensing on the lid. So I went to three layers and stretched it to 2-3 days so I went to five layers. The layered towels hold a lot of water and the top layer stays moist to wet.

I poked a small hole with a drywall screw it the groove of each lid and can add a little water in the groove if I don't want to pop the tops.

A 10x20 tray on a heat mat holds a lot of cups, I don't have a count right now but probably 5 or 6 rows of 15. The tray adds some level of protection from overheating and I keep the dome on to hold the air temperature reasonably constant.

Label the sides but I learned to also label the top so when I am pressed for time and want to check a few varieties.

It takes only a few minutes with a strong light to check seeds in the morning, tap or shake the cup to knock some water back to the bottom and look for roots. I normally do this early in the morning drinking my coffee and watching the news before I head to work.

My girlfriend was not having a lot of success either so bought more seeds for her and was amazed to see flower seeds germinate in three days, Cosmos if I remember correctly or maybe Zinnia.

Equally gratifying.....dropping a germinated seed in soil, lightly covering it having a sprout in days!
 
Last edited:
Glad to see someone using the same method of germination that I do. I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now due to the same reasons, low germination in other methods and ability to see progress daily as well as knowing exactly how many seeds germinated and if some were duds.

I changed it up this year by switching to cotton balls, unrolled and cut to size and a few layers 3-4. holds a bunch of water and really don’t have to rewater till transplant.

Condiment cups and heat mats were a game changer for me!!
 
I picked up condiment cups to try this year after seeing some on here using them. Consider using Coffee filter paper because it can be cut easily and the roots are less likely to grow into the paper like napkins. I'll be experimenting with perlite/vermiculite using these cups. Good luck !
 
I have a general question, I tossed a bunch of Cosmos this morning because they germinated and were as tall as the cups.

Can I plant them as deep as the top of the seedling, so about 1" deep?
 
Back
Top