Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thrifty Seed Starting

Starting plants from seeds can be much cheaper than buying plants.  Or it can be a total waste.  I'm determined to make it work.

I love planting flowers in the garden along with the vegetables.  There are many flowers that are helpful - they deter "bad" bugs, help the vegetables to be more productive, and/or make the vegetables taste better.  It's called companion planting. Whatever.  Truthfully, the flowers bring me joy.  I have learned about companion plants and their values in order to justify their space in our shared garden. My dad is a very practical man. Garden flowers need to be "working" flowers.  Note about my dad - he's also a REALLY sweet guy and he probably wouldn't say a thing if I planted something totally useless.

This year I planted several rows of flowers from seed alongside the vegetables.  It was only a little successful.  In some cases it was hard to tell which were flowers and which were weeds.  I think some flowers were hoed into oblivion.  Time to rethink.

Instead of planting directly to the garden, I'm going to start them in pots and transplant when they are large enough to be mistaken.

The next consideration is money. Buying pots can add to the cost of starting seeds.

I had some peat pots left over. I used those first.  Here's one container of them - zinnias.  The roosters are guards against curious cats.  So far they are working. 

I don't want to spend money on more pots.  Thanks to Google, I don't have to.  I found a ton of ideas for seed starter pots.

This site has a tutorial on making pots out of newspaper. I whipped these up in no time. I used a thin jelly jar.  I may try to find something just a wee bit smaller for my next batch.  The only downside was that my hands were black by the time I finished.  It washed off easily enough, but this is not a project to do while you sit on a white couch.

I put them in an empty lettuce container I had saved, filled them with dirt, and planted seeds - more zinnias.  When they are large enough, I'll plant them, newspaper and all, in the garden.

I'll be on the lookout for more bakers racks.  This one will soon be full of seedlings and I'll need to find a place for more.

I found other ideas for seed starter pots.  Used plastic containers is one.  We eat plenty of yogurt around here.  Those are the perfect size.  I'll have a group of those to use soon.  I'll bet they can be used a number of times.

One big goal for me is figuring out how to grow lettuce and spinach in containers year round.  I know it can be done and I intend to learn how.  Stay tuned for more on that. I'm tired of spending a fortune on salad greens, especially when they don't always look so good. 

I have joined these link parties:
Thrifty Thursday #68 at Tales from Bloggeritaville.
Idea Sharin' Wednesday #11 at Women Who Do It All


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