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Insect Protection For Plant Starts

Bug Damage Kohlrabi They say necessity is the mother of invention and this morning I discovered my own need. Yesterday I removed the greenhouse lid on my yellow pepper starts as I had 11 beautiful 1 inch plant seedlings. I took a look this morning and something had eaten the tops off all the new seedlings. Needless to say I was not happy. Luckily I had not yet removed the cover on my red peppers as some were not yet germinated. A closer inspection of my plants also revealed some insect damage on my kohlrabi starts. So what to do to protect my seed starts indoors?

What I needed was a larger ‘greenhouse’ to protect the young seedlings while they grew. I have often used those large disposable clear plastic salad containers to start plants. The lids provide a nice greenhouse effect, keeping in the moisture and heat, while allowing the light to pass through. Once the seedlings germinate, remove the lids and let the plants continue to grow.

Lettuce Starts
Lettuce starts grown in disposable salad container

What I decided to do was invert the process. First I cut a hole in the lid the size of my seedling container about half way up. This would allow the container to fit in the hole but not pass right through. Next, I placed my seedling container into the hole, with the inside of the lid facing up. Finally, I put the bottom of the salad container on top, snuggly fitting it into the lid. A few spacers underneath the container allow me to adjust the height of the greenhouse as the plants grow. I’ll keep the starts inside my small mini-greenhouse until they develop a couple of sets of leaves and are ready to be potted into larger containers.

Salad Container Greenhouse
Disposable salad container used as a mini-greenhouse and for insect protection.

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