By: Sarah Koontz
As you may know, I am a bit of a “Type-A Control Freak”. I work very hard to have my garden be as organic as possible and have often been disappointed with the quality of plants I bring home from the local greenhouse.
Last year was my first time starting seeds, and I learned some super simple time & money saving tricks I would like to share with you today. If you have the extra space, I highly recommend you try your hand at starting your own seeds this spring.
I learned so much about starting seeds by following this guy on YouTube. His videos are so educational, and his process is super simple to duplicate.
Here are my Top 10 Frugal Garden Hacks for Seed Starting:
- Old Plastic Tablecloth: I am not a fan of dirt in my house. But when you are potting your seeds, dirt is sort of an important ingredient. I lay down an old tablecloth on the floor and do all my potting, then roll it up and shake it off outside (shake it off..shake it off!)
- Rubbermaid Containers: I use these for so many things; the clear ones are the best! I keep my soil in one for easy mixing (yes, you want your soil to be damp before you pot it). I use the lids as trays for my seedlings. I use the clear ones for hardening off my plants in the garage or outdoors (adding the lids at night for a little extra protection).
- Shop Lights: There is no need for expensive grow lights. Just head to your hardware store and pick up some shop lights. Buy one warm and one cool bulb to put in them so your plants are getting the full spectrum of light (they will reward you for this).
- Milk Jugs: There are so many uses for milk jugs in the garden. My favorite use is to cut the bottom out and use them to protect fragile seedlings right after they are transplanted into the garden. I save milk jugs all year long and save money in my garden. Some people also use them as mini greenhouses.
- Solo Cups: If you are short on containers for your transplants, pick up some solo cups. I love to use these for deep rooted veggies like tomatoes. They also work for sensitive plants who don’t like their roots messed with. I poke some holes in the bottom, then cut them in half. I tape them back together, then transplant my seedlings into them. When it is time to put them in the garden, I simply cut the tape and the plants pop out easily.
- Yogurt Containers: This is one of my favorite hacks! I tried Popsicle sticks at first, but they didn’t hold up very well. Cutting old plastic containers into strips and marking with permanent marker is an ideal solution for frugal seed starting success.
- Egg Shell Planters: Take egg shells (broken neatly in half) and wash them out thoroughly. Then poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and put them in an empty egg carton. Then fill them with potting mix and plant your seeds. Be sure to crush up the shells a bit before you transplant the whole thing into a larger container (or the garden!).
- Dollar Store Condiment Bottles: I love to use seaweed fertilizer on my seedlings. This stuff is stinky and needs to be mixed with water. The dollar store condiment bottles work perfectly for this!
- Basic Fan: It is important to keep air moving around your seedlings. It also encourages them to build up their root system. I found one on craigslist for 5 dollars, best purchase ever!
- Simple Sprayer: There is no better way to water your baby seedlings than with a sprayer (typically used to spray chemicals on your lawn/weeds….something we DO NOT DO AROUND HERE because chemical exposure can cause a fibromyalgia flare up). It is a gentle mister and won’t damage those fragile little cuties.
I hope this list has encouraged you to take a step outside the box. There is really no right way to do things when it comes to gardening, only the way that works for you.
I figured out most of these tips and tricks out of necessity. I ran out of pots, so I re-purposed plastic cups. I ran out of Popsicle sticks, so I decided to cut up a yogurt cup. I got sick of the dirt all over the floor, so I laid down an old tablecloth I had sitting around. Be creative and get your garden on….IT’S TIME TO GROW!
Click on the thumbnails below to pin your favorite hack to your Pinterest Gardening Boards!
How do you reduce, reuse, or recycle in the garden?
This article has been shared at many of my favorite linkups.