April 22, 2012

Plants From Seed: Thrifty or Not?

Posted by Ethne~

The girls’ mini pink greenhouses from the Easter bunny got me to thinking: I should start my flowers and plants from seed too – will there be savings in store?  I really can’t say yet.  If the plants live to maturity, yes, there will be savings.  If the plants die as seedlings (teensy sprouts) then it’s a bust.

I will have the girls hit my homemade mini greenhouse
with their carrot bats if my seed experiment fails

After all, plants from the greenhouse are, on the whole, relatively inexpensive.  But…seed packets are dirt cheap.  $1.00 for 10 up to 100 seeds, depending on what type of plant.  For example, a packet of pumpkin seeds would be about 10 seeds.  The packet of ‘true lavender’ seeds I bought for $1.00 contained 100 or so seeds.  That’s a lot of bang for the buck.

The seeds we used

Not a lot of work goes into this.  I’m just going to have flowers in my pots this year, so I’m just doing seeds that we used for the girls’ fairy gardens in the pink greenhouses: zinnia, dahlia, cosmos and lavender.

When Shaun and I were packing up things in the utility room last weekend, we came across a stack of dusty, medium-sized paper Dixie cups.  We were going to toss them, but then I fished them out of the garbage to use as seed starter cups.

I dug out potting soil from last year’s pots with a large spoon, filling each cup up to the top (because it will settle somewhat when it’s watered).

I used approximately 5-10 seeds per cup
(the lavender seeds are really small, so I tossed quite a few in)

I put several seeds in each cup, pushed them in slightly, then watered the cups until the soil was thoroughly wet.

Zinnia seeds

I made a greenhouse out of a Coors beer box – with no top.  Classy, I know, but you can get free, sturdy packing boxes from the liquor store, so we had several on hand.  There’s a THRIFTY moving tip, Friends!  Anyway, I covered the bottom and sides of the box with Glad Press-n-Seal wrap so if water spilled in the box the moisture wouldn’t damage whatever the box is sitting upon. 

I put the filled cups into my Coors beer greenhouse and covered the open top of the box with plastic wrap.

If these seedlings grow, the nice thing about using the paper Dixie cups is that when I plant them in my pots, I just have to rip the sides away and I can plant the whole baby plant, roots and soil.

So this is a test.  We’ll see if it’s THRIFTY or if it’s way easier to spend money on the greenhouse plants.  I’ll be able to do a little price comparison because when the local greenhouses actually have plants (too early in our zone), I am going there to get a few grassy and mossy looking plants for the girls’ fairy gardens.  I’ll let you know about my plants and the price comparison in a month or so!

PS – the girls’ plants are doing well.  Each seedling is 1-2” tall now, except the lavender seeds which haven’t germinated yet.  The kiddos think it’s great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can make seed pots even "thriftier" by making them from newspaper. I found the idea on Pinterest. Then you can either peel the paper from them or just plant the paper in the ground, and it will decompose around it (and attract earthworms). Super easy :)