Monday, March 30, 2015

Thrifty Seed Starting Tips

This time of the year, a few warm days and a bit of sunshine and the local gardening centers start calling out my name so I recently stopped in to check out all the new bedding plants that are coming in. I can not help but want to get these hands into the soil when I see all of the beautiful bedding plants! Color, color everywhere!!

One thing that I love to do when I have the time is to grow my plants from seeds or from cuttings. This means planning ahead! During the winter I order seed and bulb magazines and dream of what I will be planting the upcoming spring season.  I enjoy the process and it helps to keep my mind dreaming on what my garden will look like come spring.  There is just something about planting a seed and having a beautiful plant grow from it that makes my heart sing!

When I was looking at all of the beautiful bedding plants I realized that along with everything else the price of them has gone up.  Some money can be saved by implementing some of the thrifty gardening tips that I am going to share with you.  If you're a gardener you probably know about every tip here, but if you are new to gardening you may learn a bit!  And I will have more gardening tips in future posts, so come back and visit again sometimes if you have an interest!

1.  Plan ahead.  Order seed catalogs early.  It is much less expensive to plant seeds than to buy plants.  Many seeds do well when sown directly into the soil.  But it is always a good idea to start your seeds growing inside ahead of time. 
2.  Save those egg cartons! Although any of the egg cartons can be used to plant your seed, I prefer the biodegradeable cardboard ones. When you get ready to transfer your plants to the garden you can just put them right along with the plant into the garden.

3. Cardboard toilet tissue tubes and napkin tubes can also be used to plant your seeds. Just cut and fold in the cardboard on the bottom to hold the soil and insert your seeds. Again, biodegradeable so plant it right into the ground once your seedlings are ready to go into your garden.

4. You can even roll newspapers and fold them to make a bottom and use the newspaper seed starting pot to plant your seeds. And when you are ready to transplant the seedlings you can plant them in the ground  along with the newspaper pot because it is biodegradeable too! I don't use newpaper for food type seedlings because I am just not sure of the safety of the ink used in the newspaper print, but I do use them for flower seeds.

5. Save your film cannisters and medicine bottles. Wash and sterilize them and dry them well and you can reuse them to store seeds for next year's plantings.  Labels to identify the type of seeds and the date that you collected them. Store in a cool, dark place.

6. Eggshells can be washed out and you can break away the tops of the eggshells, insert your seed starting soil and plant your seeds in them. Again....... biodegradeable!

7. Save your popscicle sticks to use for plant markers. They can be washed and recycled. Write the name of the seeds, the variety and the date sown on the popcicle sticks.  Another recycling tip for making your own plant markers is to save plastic food containers.  You can cut the lid and the packaging into strips and write on them with a marker.

8.  Plastic food containers from yogurt, butter, non-dairy topping, etc. can also be used to plant your seeds.  Wash the containers well and then sanitize them by soaking them in a 10%  bleach solution for ten or fifteen minutes so that they are clean and free of germs.  Make sure that you put holes in the bottom of the containers so that they have adequate drainage and place them on some sort of tray to catch water.

9. Follow the directions on the seed packets.  A tip to check larger seeds for viability is to soak them in water for a few hours. Some seeds have a thick coating and may need to be nicked prior to soaking. You can accomplish this with a pair of clean, sterile nail clippers or by slighly sanding the surface of the seed with a bit of sand paper. In most instances the seeds that are still living will sink to the bottom and the ones that are not usable will float to the surface.

10.  Plant your seeds in pre-moistened seed starting mix and plant more seeds than you think you will need because all of them may not germinate or you may just loose some of the tender seedlings for whatever reason and also because you will want to be able to choose healthy seedlings when you begin to thin out the weaker or smaller ones.  Once you have sown the seeds in in your seed starting container of choice make sure that the soil does not dry out.  And once the seedlings emerge make sure they get plenty of light.
If you are anything like me when you see those little seeds pop their little heads out of the soil  you will rejoice and be glad of a job well done! makes my heart SING with glee!!

I hope that you found a tip or two to help you along in your seed starting adventures.

Til next time......

Many thanks to Stone Cottage Adventurers for featuring this post on her wonderful blog! Hop over and check out her lovely blog!



  1. What wonderful and resourceful tips you have shared! I will be pinning this ;) Thank you for linking up with the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week!

    1. Thank Jes. I hope it will help new gardeners and maybe even inspire some to garden for the first time. It's just plain fun and very rewarding to plant and grow and harvest.

  2. Awesome tips! I'd like to feature your post at Tuesdays with a Twist today! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  3. Hi there, I am returning the visit ;) These are all such great thrifty tips! Blessings, Cecilia

  4. I love these ideas. I was able to get basil seeds last year from my bolted basil after I dried it, now they are growing. I love the popsicle stick idea. xoox Su

  5. I typically use toilet tissue tubes to start seeds. I love using these so they don't end up in the trash and it's super easy because, as you noted, they can be planted right into the ground.

  6. These are great tips! I especially liked the egg carton one, I didn't know you could plant the biodegradable ones. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!