plastic seed starting kit

Asked March 11, 2016, 12:26 PM EST

Hi. I started my seeds in a long plastic container with lid that has a fibrous seed growing medium (its a kit called Planters Pride). I've been using the under-mounted lights in my kitchen to add light and warmth to the seeds (with the lid on) and, inadvertently, left the lights on the kit all night long. This morning there is a strong plastic smell coming from the kit, which makes me a little worried that the plastic chemicals have leached into my growing medium. Is this a possibility, or could it be just the plastic was warmed up too much and is giving off a smell that will disappear once it cools down? The lid has a triangle 1 symbol on it, but there is no recyclable triangle on the container itself. Hate to start my seeds all over, but will if it's possible they are contaminated. Also, there is a lot of condensation on the lid as it warms up. Should I remove the lid daily to let it dry out a bit to avoid mold growing? Thanks for your help. Kathy Arnold

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Growing your own plants from seed is easy and very rewarding. Prior to the seeds germinating, the clear cover should be on in order to keep a high humidity environment. Once the seeds germinate, remove the cover. Use a cool fluorescent light (shop light with 40watt bulbs), stationed 2-3 inches above the top of the plants. Yes, that close. That is why it is important to have the cool fluorescent tubes. I suspect that the strong plastic smell was merely the plastic top getting too hot. I am not qualified to say whether or not plastic chemicals leached into the potting media. However, here is a link that will set your mind at ease regarding your seed starting container Rodale's OrganicLife: Are your Plant Containers Leaching Here are two more links that will give you more details on seed starting at home. Rodale's OrganicLife: How to Start Seeds on Your Kitchen Table and Propagating Plants from Seed which is a Pacific Northwest Extension publication. Hope you enjoy the adventure of seed starting. Be careful, it can be addicting and soon you’ll want a greenhouse!