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A nice hack for transplanting seedlings

Hey kids, here to address a drawback of the To Go Cup things I use for transplants. Once something is in them its no problem and all transplants from there-on are guaranteed safe and easy. In full transparency though, sometimes transplanting stuff into them initially can be awkward at best and sometimes deadly to the plant if you don't have good control over your limbs. I am here today to fix all that. This is not a new problem, just something I lived with up to this point because I could always get past it using three or four of my best curse words and a lot of luck. It always bothered me that the same system that made everything else so simple was so damned hard in the beginning.

If you have been following along, I have 6 now nicely-rooted clones in my little mini-DWC rig and its time for them to take the next steps of growing up. In this house, that means transplanting them to my To Go cup things filled with hydroton or other medium and start them vegging.

One thing with the To Go Cups is that it pays to plant them a little deep since over time the medium recedes from where you put it to the sides, exposing stuff you don't want exposed to the light. I go for a half-inch deep, only because I don't have the coordination to safely hold a seedling or clone any lower than that.  What pushed me over the edge really was the last time I attempted this; it was awkward, nothing turned out like I meant, most of the netcups the plants were rooted in kept slipping from my fat fingers as I was trying to pour hydroton down around the roots, sometimes totally buring the plant, necessitating exhuming the body and trying again....and again. Not healthy for tender plants with tender roots.  Not this time. I meant for this to be as simple and seamless a process as possible so put off transplanting a few days until I came up with something. And this is what I did....

1. The basic invention. Consists of two tie-wraps made into a larger circle just a little larger than the end of the business end of the To Co cup. Next I used a tent-peg from a long-ago blown-down greenhouse. Anything about this size with something like an "arm" on it will do. Final piece of this is the alligator clip wire connector. This is for electronics stuff but anything remotely like it will do, as you will see. The wire is zip-tied to the "arm" right at the end, with maybe 2-3 inches hanging down, into the pot...

2. This is the entire rig assembled:

3. To use it, start with about an inch of hydroton or other medium in the bottom of your target To Go cup like so:

4. Attach the rig.

5. Grab the lip of the netcup for the clone with the alligator clip. It should hang down into the To Go cup about where you want it to end up when buried in medium..

6. Now just fill the cup with medium...

7. And you are done. Yes its a little crooked in the pic, its hard to do this in a way thats picture-friendly...but it works, its really fast (once you get the hang of it, a full transplant takes less than 60 very relaxed seconds), its really safe for the plants and best of all, by burying them deeper now, you will save yourself headaches later...and all it took was a tend peg, three zio ties and a connector wire with alligator clips...

8. Detach clip from netcup, then the whole rig from the body of the To Go cup and....
All ready to go

Now all six are nestled into their vegging tub for the duration....

That's it kids. Feel free to experiment with different materials; in the end, its what gets the job done......



  1. Jeff, this is awesome. My big ole fingers have been struggling to stay out of the way when I trans plant thing as as well. I had been using loong needle nosed pliers. Slightly awkward but, hey, it worked.

    1. Yep. Sorry it took this long to sort this out; been living with it for far too long. Actually, this works fine and once I had done a few I had enough practice not to have them come out crooked. That one in the pics is like Try #2. Try #1 was to make sure it even worked at all. By the time I got the last few I was knocking them out in less than a minute and not really having to think too hard about the process at all. Before it always felt like bomb disposal or something that could blow up in your face at any wrong move.

      Actually as soon as I pushed publish on this, I hatched a maybe better solution. Will need to test first but a hint is it uses 4 popsicle sticks and some bread-ties. Sticks can form a base that sits on top of the pot and the bread-ties go inbetween (directly across the top) and loop once around the stem. In theory its cheaper, easier to implement. If it works as well and presents no danger to the plants, I will post something more specific here.....The thing is though, don't get wedded too closely to the materials I show here; anything that performs roughly the same function will work just dandy. Consider this an example of what *can* work.


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