Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How To: Grow Starts from Seeds

It's that time again. You know, the time when you feel guilty for not really wanting to start gardening while at the same time, feeling guilty for having to spend so much money on said garden.

Well, I can only help you with one of those guilts--the one where spending money is involved. This year, try growing your tomatoes, peppers, onions and other plants from seed.

The average store bought start costs about $2. While, the average packet of seeds only costs about $1.50 and grows as many tomatoes, or whatever else you want, as you can use.

All you need is the seeds you want, good dirt, and something to plant them in--be it pots or a store bought starter tray.

This was our seed set up last year.

This year we upgraded a bit. We found these trays at Walmart for $5 dollars each, the dirt for all of them (plus some extra) totalled about $10 and the seeds were another $10.

$35 for a full garden of starts is a really good deal--especially considering we are furnishing both our parents garden starts as well.

If you have a neighbor or friend whose interested in gardening, ask them if they want to grow onion starts and you will furnish the tomatoes. My mom's working on a white tomato for me which I am very curious about.

After you have chosen your seeds and filled your planters with dirt, make sure you wet the soil before planting.

As you are planting make sure you mark your seeds they are all going to look very similar when it's time to plant.

After your seeds are planted, marked, and watered, follow the directions on the seed packets, watering regularly.

Make sure after they have sprouted, to store them in a well lit area.

If you get more than one sprout in one square, gently pull it out and transplant it to an empty area.

Try some flower starts.

Or maybe some herbs.

My husband informs me, you can plant outside when the start has a second level of leaves, we still need to wait for ours to sprout more leaves. Once your starts are ready, make sure the weather is appropriate to plant--you can check your local weather or even asking your gardening, genius neighbor.

Don't worry if they look sad and dismal at first, ours did. They looked so small and fragile we actually went out and bought some starts from a greenhouse. But once our home grown plants got going, they far out produced the store bought ones.

Like I said, I am a novice gardener, so if you have any advice or suggestions to add, please do.

Happy Planting!


Worknprogress said...

For some of the seeds that tend to be leggier, it is a good idea to use a lamp fitted with a fluorescent bulb over top of the seeds until they get second leaves.

Great post! Good luck with this year's garden.

Rachel said...

To save even more money, save your leftover seeds for next year. Of course, this doesn't work for all seeds. Peas, corn, beans, lettuce and onion family seeds don't last more than a year, but tomatoes and peppers can last up to three years.

Heather said...

I also use egg shell halves in a cardboared egg container to start seeds...especially tomatoes. They like the nutrients from the shells, and the shells can get planted right in the ground.