Spring is right around the corner, and gardening aficionados are feeling the itch in their green thumbs. Although there are some seeds that can be planted during fall and winter, most crops and flowers prefer the spring time.
Here are some handy hacks for starting your garden from seeds:
1. Build Your Gardening Inventory With Free Seeds and Plants
If you have been gardening for a while, you realize that gardening can be an expensive hobby. Besides all of the tools and other supplies needed, you can rack up a large bill buying seeds and plants. Depending on the plant, seed packets can cost several dollars.
One way to bring your cost down is to save seeds from all your plants for the next year. You can also join a seed co-op where you can trade seeds with other gardeners in the area.
Some plants, like roses, can easily propagate by planting cuttings from the parent plant. Plant-care.com offers basic information about propagating your plants.
2. Get The Dirt On Gardening With Homemade Seed-Starter
You cannot use plain potting soil to start indoor seeds. They require a special mixture that gives them the nutrients and strength to sprout. This seed-starter soil can be a little pricey when you get it at a nursery or home improvement center.
If you make your own, then you can control what goes in it. Use your own compost that has been heat treated to rid it of weeds and harmful germs. Mix a large container with 1 part peat moss and one part compost.
To really add a fertile kick to your mix, add a bit of vermicompost (worm castings), says gardeningknowhow.com. After you planted your seed, add a top layer of vermiculite.
3. Shed Some Light On Your Indoor Gardening
Plants need sunlight to keep warm and for making their own food by photosynthesis. Gardenguides.com states that sun-loving plants need between 6-8 hours of light each day. There is usually not that much sunlight 6 weeks before spring.
Even if you put your seed pots close a bright window, they still may not get the light they need. You can save money by making a DIY grow light. Using two chains and S-hooks, hang a florescent work light above the plants. You can control the light according to how much your particular seedlings need.
For convenience, try putting the light on an automatic timer. You can get more information about DIY grow lights with this helpful YouTube video.
4. Perfect Plants That Will Proliferate Indoors
If you give your seeds a good head start, then you will be enjoying salads and lovely bouquets while your neighbors are waiting on their outdoor sprouts.
Many of your favorite vegetables can be started in your house. Try planting greens like lettuce and spinach. Just about any greens will transplant well.
Other family favorites include tomatoes, peas, corn, and various types of beans. You can also try peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.
If you live in the Deep South, you can start avocados, oranges, and lemons in your house. Do not forget blossoms like sweet peas, marigolds, and cosmos.
5. Ditch The Plastic Planters And Try These Eco-Friendly Ones
For generations, gardeners used mini terra cotta pots for their indoor seedlings. With the advent of plastic, many people chose single and multiple plastic pots. They may be cheaper than clay pots, but they are devastating to the environment.
Brighthub.com reports that it can take between 5 and 10 years for certain types of plastics to completely decompose. If you want some great seedling planters that are kind to the environment, try these:
- Egg shell halves
- Small reusable mason jars
- Biodegradable egg cartons-transplant carton and all
- Pots made of peat moss-transplant pot and all
- Thick brown paper bags
6. Feed Your Plant Babies With Homemade Fertilizer
Like every other living thing, seedlings need food to survive and thrive. While synthetic fertilizers have been on the market for years, environmental experts warn about the consequences they have on the environment.
You can give your seeds and seedlings nutritious meals with DIY organic fertilizers, like manures, compost, and compost tea.
To make compost tea, mix one gallon of your finished compost with 5 gallons of fresh water. You can also use dried manure or grass clippings. Let it sit for an hour and strain.
Use this DIY fertilizer once every two weeks.
7. Even Your Seedlings Would Like A Bottle of Water
Your new seedlings need fresh water on a regular basis. Check the recommendations for each plant to see how often they need it. Some gardeners buy automatic watering systems for their seedlings; however, they can be quite expensive.
You can give your plants regular drinks of water with plastic drinking bottles. This will only work for larger pots. Dig a hole that is close to the roots of your seedlings. Take a clean plastic water bottle and poke it with holes.
Plant the bottle in the hole, and cover it up to the neck of the bottle. Fill the bottle with fresh water. The water will slowly seep out and keep the seedlings watered for days.
8. DYI Plant Racks On The Cheap
When you set up a mini greenhouse in your home, you need shelving or racks to place rows of potted seeds. Some people just use a large table in a spare room. The best way to set up your indoor greenhouse is with shelving.
You do not have to spend a fortune on special plant shelving. Plastic stackable shelving can be purchased for about $30 in most department or home improvement stores.
Want some good shelving for free? Build it out of free wood pallets, suggests palletfurnitureplans.com.
9. New Use For Old Things: Recycled Mini-Greenhouses
You could spend a chunk of money on indoor greenhouses from a garden center—but why? Look no farther than your plastic recycling bin for some ready-made greenhouses. If you buy berries at the grocery store, you can use the plastic container for starting seeds.
The plastic containers that are used for salads or takeout are perfect for making little greenhouses in your home. The lids keep humidity at the right levels and let in precious light.
Any plastic container with a lid would be ideal. After you transplant your seedlings, pitch the containers in the recycling bin.
10. Amaze Your Friends With A Verdant Vertical Garden
One of the latest trends in gardening is vertical gardens. It is a unique way to grow micro-greens, herbs, and small flowers. You can easily start your vertical garden indoors without the need to transplant.
Instead of more expensive setups from a nursery, create your own by purchasing or up-cycling a hanging shoe rack.
The best shoe rack would be the ones made of cloth. If you have to use a plastic one, poke small holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
Plant your seeds in each compartment and make sure that they get enough light, warmth, and water. After they have sprouted in the spring, hang the whole thing outside to enjoy.
Start Your Garden Indoors Today
Gardenistas do not have to wait for Jack Frost to leave before starting their garden. If you do some research and adequate planning, you will have dozens of strong seedlings that are ready to plant.
You can find frugal ways to get your fledgling garden the containers, water, and fertilizer they need. If you save seeds and cuttings, you will not have to pay money for new plants. In about 6 weeks, everything should be ready for the garden.
Another good thing about indoor seed planting is that the whole family can be involved. Your children can learn the stages of plant growth and how to care for them. When you start early, you will soon enjoy the fruits of your labor.