Seed Starter Kit for Fun & Easy Planting!

February 26, 2013

I decided to try some different seed starting supplies this year.  In the past, I’ve used the flimsy black trays, which work fine, but aren’t very sturdy.

parks-biodome-40-cellsI really liked the looks of this seed starter kit I found at Park Seeds, called a Bio Dome seed starting kit.  It’s made of heavier plastic than the usual black trays, and comes in 4 different versions:

  • Bio Dome with 18 Whopper Cells
  • Bio Dome with 40 Jumbo Cells
  • 60-cell Bio Dome Seed Starter
  • Double 120-cell Bio Dome Seed Starting Kit

I opted for the one with 40 cells.  That’s a good start on a lot of plants, but allows them a little longer growth time in the bio dome before I have to transplant them to something bigger.

So this past Saturday I decided it was time to get some seeds planted!  I always dream big in the winter months, and have a tendency to plant way more than we can handle come the hot summer months… but it sure is fun looking through those seed catalogs!

Anyway, here’s what the seed starter kit looked like right out of the shipping box (which was huge by the way!) . . .

picture of seed starting kit

And here’s a close-up of what was included with this particular seed starting kit:

picture of seed starter kit

It comes with the what they call Bio Sponges, which look to contain peat moss perhaps, and I don’t know what else.  These little sponges are supposed to “encourage root growth downward, NOT in an upward spiral that eventually strangles the plant!”

Here’s the complete list of what you get:

  • 1 Park’s Original Bio Dome,
  • 1 Jumbo Planting Block,
  • 40 Jumbo Bio Sponges,
  • Instruction sheet, and
  • Small bag of plant food.

The green base measures 14 7/8″ long x 9 1/2″ wide x 2 1/4″ high, while the clear top measures 14 7/8″ long x 9 1/2″ wide x 4 1/2″ high. Jumbo planting cells are 1 3/8″ wide x 2 1/2″ deep.

All you have to do is take the little sponges out of the bag and pop them into the planting block, which is just their fancy name for the plastic tray with holes to hold the seedlings.

picture of seed starting supplies

The little sponges come with a pre-drilled hole so you can pop a seed or two inside it. I must admit, that’s easier than trying to punch a hole in yourself, and saves a little time.

picture of pre-drilled holes in bio sponges

I popped those little sponge things into the trays in a hurry, but there was just one problem.  .  .

picture of seed starter kit with empty hole

I emptied out the bag, but there weren’t enough sponges to fill all the holes!  That was kind of irritating.  I mean, if you pay $24.95 plus shipping for a kit, they could at least be sure to send enough sponges to fill all the holes!  In fact, it seems like they’d do better to err on the side of sending you an extra, just in case.

Granted, it’s not a big deal in the entire scheme of things, and I just used some regular seed starting soil from a bag The Farmer bought at a nursery.  But still, I paid for a COMPLETE kit, which should have had enough little sponges for every hole!

Now I knew that 5 minutes after I planted the seeds, I’d not remember exactly what was where.  So I made a little graph showing the different kinds of seeds planted.

pictured of seeds planted

As you can see, I also used a permanent marker to label the different sides of the tray so I could match it up to the graph.  As I planted each seed, I wrote in the corresponding square what it was.

I planted several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, which will be the main part of our garden.  Once I had all the sponges planted with seeds, I poured water into the tray and popped on the bio dome lid.

Then I put it under the lights on my handy dandy grow shelf unit.  (I totally LOVE this thing!)

picture of grow shelves

Every morning I peek in there to see if anything has sprouted, though it’s only been a couple of days!

Would I recommend the Bio Dome Seed Starting Kit?  Here’s what I think. . .

Cons:

  • Expensive.  It’s $24.95 for the kit.
  • Did I mention expensive?  The refill sponges are $19.95 for a pack of 80.  So my stellar math skills tell me that every time I want to re-use this thing, it costs $10 to replenish the seed starting medium.

Pros:

  • It’s much sturdier than the usual seed starting trays, making it easier to move about, and more likely to be usable for many years to come.
  • The dome is really nifty.  It has vents in it to allow air flow, or the vents can be closed to help retain moisture.
  • It’s very easy to use, as the little sponges are easy to handle, and it’s easy to pop a seed into the hole.
  • It was fun!  Hey, that may not be a big deal to most people, but still, it made a gardening task more pleasurable.

So yes, overall, at this particular time I would recommend this seed starting kit, in spite of the fact the one I got wasn’t entirely complete.

However, the real test is how well the seeds / seedlings grow, so stay tuned for updates!

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