One of the things that makes growing a vegetable garden so much fun is starting your own seeds. You can actually be a part of the growth of your plants during it's complete life cycle, from seed to harvest. That's a very exciting process, indeed!

Some times starting seeds can be just as exciting and fun as harvesting and enjoying the fruits of your garden.

I'm always in search of a product, or process, that makes starting seeds more enjoyable, more efficient, and more organized.

Hopefully, the Burpee Ultimate Growing System is the answer for my seed starting needs.

Burpee Ultimate Growing System

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Features

To start off with the Burpee Ultimate Growing System contains 72 planting cells for starting your favorites seeds. That's quite a bit of plants and should be more than enough for the average vegetable gardener. Here's a brief description of each component of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System and how they function.

The Water Tray

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Water Tray

The first part of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System I want to focus on is the water tray. The Water Tray is the very bottom of the seed tray and holds the water for keeping your seeds at optimum watering levels. The water tray holds quite a bite of water - right at a gallon to fill it. We will get to that part a little later in the review.

The Growing Tray Support

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Growing Tray Support

The next item of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System is the Growing Tray Support piece. This support holds the Growing Tray up over the water in the water tray. It looks like a little table. This piece sits down inside the Watering Tray as shown in the image above.

The Watering Mat

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Watering Mat

Now we are getting to the good stuff. The Watering Mat is where the magic and simplicity of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System comes into play.

The Watering Mat is a black mat that is highly absorbent. It is slick and smooth on the top side, yet very rough and fuzzy on the bottom side. Simply lay the watering mat across the Growing Tray Support and tuck the ends down into The Watering Tray on each side.

Once the Watering Tray is filled with water the Watering Mat will absorb the water, supplying the Growing Tray with fresh water.

It's really a neat system!

The Growing Tray with Growing Cubes

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Growing Tray with Growing Cubes

As mentioned previously, the Growing Tray has 72 cells for starting your seeds. These containers all feature a Burpee exclusive Growing Cube. The Growing Cube is a peat pod that expands after becoming wet. Your seeds are then placed inside the softened Growing Cubes to germinate and viola!

You have a quick and easy method for starting a bunch of seeds at one time.

The Clear Greenhouse Dome

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Clear Greenhouse Dome

It's difficult to see in the image above, but the Clear Greenhouse Dome is basically a clear lid for the growing tray. This is the feature of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System that sets it apart from other seed trays. The Clear Greenhouse Dome will create an environment inside the Growing System that promotes quicker and more efficient seed germination.

Just a few minutes after placing the Clear Greenhouse Dome on your Burpee Ultimate Growing System the inside of the Dome will begin to fog up from the raised humidity and temperature levels inside the System.

The ideal situation for increased germination rates!

Plant Markers

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Plant Markers

Last but not least, the Burpee Ultimate Growing System comes with 12 really nice plant markers. These plant markers are a must have for identifying what seeds you have started in each row or cell.

After you cover the seeds with the peat pod, you might not remember which row you planted which seed after a week or two. These plant markers are super valuable if you are planting the same type of vegetables but different cultivars.

It would be real easy to get them mixed up after they sprout because the seedlings will all look the same. These Plant Markers prevent those unfortunate mix-ups.

Setting Up The Burpee Ultimate Growing System

The first thing to do when setting up the Burpee Ultimate Growing System is to determine its location. Where ever you decide to locate the Growing System needs to be sturdy and needs to be permanent. The Water Tray hold almost a gallon of water, so it will be heavy and difficult to move once filled.

Unfortunately, the Water Tray is constructed of some fairly flimsy plastic, which makes it very difficult to move when filled with water. Trust me - I learned that one the hard way.

Once you have found just the right spot, it is time to put it all together and sow your seeds.

Getting It All Ready

One of the best things about the Burpee Ultimate Growing System is its ease of assembly.

You simply place the Water Tray in the desired location, set the Growing Tray Support piece inside the Water Tray, then lay the Water Mat across the Support (black side up), then place the Growing Tray on top of the Watering Mat.

It's just that simple! It takes about 2 minutes to get it set up to this point.

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Set Up

Now it is time to make sure each growing cube is positioned correctly inside each container. The growing cube should be flat side down for the best results.

There is a hole at the bottom of each Growing Tray cell to allow water from the Watering Mat to feed the Growing Cubes a steady supply of water for your seeds and seedlings.

Once the Growing Cubes are all positioned correctly, it is time to pour hot water over the Growing Cubes to expand them.

Expand The Growing Cubes

After a couple minutes you will see the growing cubes come alive as they expand. Level out the expanded Growing Cubes so that each grow cell is full.

Now it's time for the fun part - sowing the seeds!

Sow the seeds in each cell of the Growing Tray until each cell has at least two seeds, then use the Plant Markers to label each different variety of seeds and place the Clear Greenhouse Dome on top once it is all complete.

Now the Burpee Ultimate Growing System is ready to start producing an abundant amount of seedlings for the vegetable garden.

Burpee Ultimate Growing System Completed

Pros of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System

  • Very quick and easy to set up and use
  • Has a large growing tray that holds up to 72 seedlings
  • Easily keeps the seeds consistently moist which increases germination rates
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Extremely lightweight (when not filled with water)
  • Clear Greenhouse Dome lid speeds germination times
  • Can be re-used over several seasons (Growing Cubes will need to be re-purchased after initial use)

Cons of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System

  • Difficult to move once filled with water
  • Plastic construction materials are flimsy
  • Clear Greenhouse Dome blows off easily when outdoors
  • More expensive than most seed starting systems
  • Seedlings are difficult to remove from tray

Final Observations of the Burpee Ultimate Growing System

Although the Burpee Ultimate Growing System has some minor flaws I would recommend it for any vegetable gardener that wants to get a jump on the growing season by starting their own seeds. It is a great system for novice gardeners that want to get their feet wet starting seeds themselves.

The price can cause a bit of sticker shock but the extra money is well worth the ease of use of the product and the germination success rate I had - which was 100‰. Yes, every seed I sowed in the Burpee Ultimate Growing System germinated and produced beautiful seedlings.

More Great Ways To Start Your Seedlings