Okay guys, have gotten quite a few people interested in this method so I am finally going to do a step by step how to!
2 solo cups for per plant, 1 additional solo cup will be needed for extra plants.
1 piece of string per plant, sewing string works great, will need about 18”-24”.
1 small piece of tape per plant.
Step 1. Set up your pot(s) as normal with your soil mix. Don’t know if this will work with coco as I have not used it at the point of writing this!
Step 2. Clear a spot for a solo cup to fit into your your soil, all they way to the top lip! Make sure to back fill in around the cup!
Step 3. Cut the bottom rung off the solo cup, usually about 1/8”-1/4”.
Step 4. Cut the solo cup up the sides leaving just the top white ring uncut. This will hold the cup together for now! You will need to make a minimum of four equal cuts up the side, six to eight is recommended.
Step 5. Put the uncut cup inside the cut cup. Wrap the string around the bottom portion of the cut cup to keep it together, wrap it around itself to hold in place a few times(or use a slip knot if you know how). Now wrap the string around the cup in a spiral pattern till you reach the tip and attach with a piece of tape.
Step 6. Insert the cut cup into the hole in the pot, remove uncut cup, and fill with your seedling medium. If you are using a Rapid Rooter or similar seed pod insert that now as well.
Step 7. Add your seed and water like normal!
Step 8. When ready to “transplant” I tape the string and gently pull upwards and move it around the cup till all the string pulls out.
Step 9. Cut the top lip of the cup and gently pull away from the stem a bit before sliding that section up and out. Repeat till all pieces are removed.
Step 10. Fill in around the stem with more medium till level with the rest of the medium. Make sure to press the new soil down gently to close the gap where the cup was so the roots can bridge the gap easier. You can go higher to provide additional support to the stem.
Step 11. Water as normal.
If you want to make this even simpler: make your hole in the medium for the cup, cut cup up the sides into 3-4 equal pieces. Put pieces back into hole and fill with medium to keep the shape. Plant seed and water. When ready, pull pieces out and water. Done.
The reasoning behind this method is to reduce transplant shock and over watering. The removal of the bottom of the cup allows extra water to escape down into the bigger pot. The cut sides also allow the rapidly expanding roots to creep out instead of getting bound in the cup.
Due to the cup getting smaller at the bottom allows the pieces to escape the roots when pulled out without cutting them up either. You get the benefits of starting in a cup, without all the shock of a transplant.
If you feel like dropping in some rooting powder to help prevent shock can sprinkles that on the outside of the cup before pulling out. This will attach most powder to the soil as you pull the piece out by holding slight pressure outwards as you pull the piece up and out.
If you have any additional questions please feel free to ask. Once I pick up some solo cups from the store I will add photos for further clarification.
I learned this method from a bunch of Horticulture students.
If you want to use clear solo cups to be able to see the roots instead of starting with the cup in the soil you can use this method for that too, just use the following changes.
Use clear cups!
Don’t wrap the cut cup with string, place the cut cup inside another clear solo cup that has holes drilled in the bottom and fill with medium. Plant seed and water like normal.
When you start to see roots touching the sides or bottom or when you feel ready to transplant add your rooting powder to the hole, remove uncut cup and transplant cut cup to hole. Cup top ring and remove cup pieces.
Well I’m stoned and hurting so gonna leave it here!
Hope you either found this informational or got a good laugh out of it!