Oh, how I love starting seeds!! It gets me all psyched up and ready for spring!! I finally started my tomatoes today. I had the coolest idea! I am a first grade teacher and we party a lot- birthdays, holidays...any excuse for a cupcake! I decided to put those cupcake boxes to a new use. I used a large thumb tack to put drainage holes in the bottom of each well. I then placed the container into an aluminum pan I bought at my local dollar discount store (2 for $1). I LOVE how that top just snaps right down over the container!
On my last post I was using organic seed starter mix, but this time I FINALLY found some pellets at a local hardware store for 19 cents each. After using HOT water to fluff the pellets I placed my tomato and pepper seeds inside. (Yes, I m starting more pepper and eggplant seeds. I just don't like the looks of the ones I started in the last post. Maybe they will surprise me, but better safe than sorry.)
*Before planting in your garden, remove that netting from those pellets. It's just too hard for those roots to spread out if you don't.
In the large cupcake container I started Aunt Ruby's Green German, Amish Paste, Pink Brandywine, and Bonnie's Best- all heirloom from Baker Creek.
The above pic is a mini cupcake box containing pellets and two plastic fruit cups (the kind mandarin oranges come in.) My daughter takes the oranges to school and I beg her to save the cups for me. I have her save her yogurt cups, too. (Bless her heart...) I covered the fruit cups with produce bags from the grocery store. (They are thin enough to let in some light, but still keeps in that humidity.)
In this one I started tomatillos, Jujube Cherry, more Brandywine, and Bonnie's Best.
In the last mini cupcake container I started more peppers (Orange Bell, Emerald Giant, Golden California Wonder, and Tam Jalapeno- also from Baker Creek). The round container (formerly a feta cheese container) contains eggplant.
I decided to start some cat grass for Phoebe, our cat. Supposedly it will keep her out of my other plants. Knowing Phoebe, there is no telling...
These (above) are tiny snapdragon seeds I saved a couple years ago. I'm not sure what the germination rate will be, since they are older. We'll just have to wait and see.
I also started more marigolds to guard my garden and basil to plant with my tomatoes. Basil is supposed to enhance the flavor of tomatoes. Marigolds are distasteful to many garden pests. (They add a nice splash of color, too.) Along with those, I started some large zinnias, bachelor buttons, and cosmos. Starting seeds is so much cheaper than buying flowers at the garden center. These were from saved seeds- either my own of those shared from friends.
Here are a few seedlings that have sprouted from that last planting.
The cosmos above are too leggy. My fault- I didn't catch them in time. I am trying to correct the issue with more mix, but I don't know that it will help. (They are in a sour cream container with drainage holes poked in the bottom, I used the lid as a tray.)
Above are tiny celery seedlings started in a styrofoam egg carton. I took off the lid and used it as a tray, covering it with a produce bag. It's a little late for these, but I'm going to try placing them in a cooler spot and see how they fare. You never know until you try. That's part of the fun.
These are dwarf marigolds, also in an egg carton. I agree with another blogger who said the cardboard egg containers are no good for this. They turn too mush way too soon for planting. They just can't hold up. I am NOT a fan of styrofoam, but if is making it's way through your door, you might as well make it work double duty.
I finally drug out my seed rack last night and my husband hooked up the lights. My rack is a metal shelf I purchased a few years ago from a local store. (To see how we made the rack, click here.) During the rest of the year, my seed rack doubles as a storage rack. (I am big on multi-tasking. Can ya tell?)
If you haven't started your own seeds, it isn't too late to start. It's easy and fun! Always buy from a reputable dealer and avoid those GMO's!! (Google that if you are unfamiliar.) You can find dealers who have signed the non-GMO pledge online.