October 7, 2014

It’s Gardening Time: Starting Seeds Indoors

Mar28

It’s hard for me to think about gardening when it snowed in NC today, and yet it was 80 degrees just last week. But even with crazy weather, every one can get a jump start on gardening season by starting their seeds indoors. One of my friends inspired me to stop procrastinating and get gardening by showing me what he managed to do with just a few dollars. By using recycled newspapers, he made his own seed trays by forming the papers into small cups for his seeds.

Starting seeds indoor is such an inexpensive way to get your garden going early. Not only do you get a jump start on growing season, enabling you to take full advantage of a variety of crops, and enjoy an earlier harvest, but you save so much money.

John bought this $40 Greenhouse from Lowes Hardware, and he’s been able to bring it indoors and out based on the weather. There are many inexpensive options for starting seeds indoors through Amazon and perfect options for those just starting out like this Professional Greenhouse 50-Plant Starter Kit.

I typically buy small starter plants, but that can run me upwards of $100 for my garden, where as starting the same vegetables and herbs from seeds would only cost me $5.

Yes, there’s going to be more work involved, but I am excited by the challenge. I really want to expand my garden this year, and attempt to figure out what destroyed all my squash, cucumber and zucchini plants last year, so I can prevent that tragedy this year.

With the continuing rise in food and produce prices, I want to be as self sustaining as possible during the summer months, but if I have a major garden fail again, I am thrilled by the knowledgeable country gardeners’ bounty all around me that sell produce at summer stands.

Every year I put in one on-line order for my flower bulbs and some of the veggie plants that I can’t start by seed, like my asparagus (do you remember my shock and surprise of growing asparagus in my garden) and blueberry/raspberry plants?

Here are a few tips I know to do now.

Start with a quality light mixture potting soil to start with and keep them damp, but avoid over watering. I seem to be the queen of root rot. As soon as leaves appear, feed your seedlings  with additional fish or sea weed, liquid fertilizer if you desire to say organic.

There’s so much more I’m learning about indoor seedlings and I’ll make sure to update through the process.

What about you all?

Have you started thinking about your garden? Have you started your seeds indoors already or do you wait till the weather warms?

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Comments

  1. We started some of our seeds about a month ago. We have pretty warm winters so I am able to start my seeds on my front porch without the help of a greenhouse. (Although, that one is mighty cute!). This year I tried something new and used toilet paper rolls that I cut in half. They worked pretty good. Here’s what they looked like http://schneiderpeeps.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-gardenstarting-seeds.html

    I’ve kept a notebook for years with all the info that I’ve learned about gardening in our area, and it came to an unfortunate end a couple of months ago. Let’s just say that sometimes things that are not trash get put in the burn barrel. So I’m starting over and will be posting the information, once a week, on my blog. Feel free to come on over and leave any tips that I haven’t listed.

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    Jen Reply:

    OH NO….your gardening notebook got trashed? Literally? I am feeling your pain…..ugh. Thanks for sharing..can’t wait to go sneak a peek. :)

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  2. Kristie Scott says:

    I started some tomatoes couple of weeks ago. A colleague of my husbands was offering heirloom tomato seeds. They are called Italian Heart Tomatoes. His father brought them to America in 1945 after serving in the US Army during WW2 and his last request to his son before he died was to “keep growing our tomatoes”. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!!

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    Jen Reply:

    WHAT??????????????????????? NO WAY! I want one little plant. :)

    That is amazing story…share in July when you have 50 and don’t know what to do with them. ;)

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  3. I have started my seeds inside and it is supposed to be warm enough to plant the potatoes and onions this weekend. In theory it was warm enough last weekend, but I took one step outside and pushed planting day back a week. :)

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  4. Although we are in Florida, so it is somewhat easier, we started our garden also. We started ours with our grow boxes. We have weather issues as well, especially this year. Thanks once again for hosting Tasty Tuesday!

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  5. Barb @ A Life in Balance says:

    I used to start my seeds inside, but when I had a number of little ones in a row, it was one of the activities that fell by the wayside. However, we’ve continued to have our vegetable garden because it provides lots of veggies for our family of 7, plus we have several fruit trees and fruiting vines.

    Next winter, I hope to get back into starting seeds again since my youngest will be 3.5 by then, and maybe he won’t get into the dirt. I hope.

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  6. My seeds are all growing in the basement under a grow light – which is a good thing since we had more snow last night. :(

    They look great right now – I’m just hoping I can keep them looking that way until winter decides to finally go away!

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  7. WOW! You have a lot of things to plant!!! We have a little garden we’re working on. We already planted spinach, carrots, lettuce and Swiss chard. I’m thinking with the cooler temperatures we might be able to sneak in some peas.

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  8. We started our seeds a few years ago inside..and one of them turned into a monster tomato plant that produced amazing tomatoes…but took over my whole front flower bed! It was awesome, and amazing…but a lot of tomatoes and a huge plant. I want to start some herbs. Are you doing herbs, too?

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  9. We’re starting seed indoors this year and are using a grow light system inherited from my brother! Hope we’re more successful this year than last when we lost many of our starts due to a lack of light. I’m longing for the warmer days of spring (we haven’t even broke 60F yet…), fresh lettuce from my garden, and little corn plants sprouting in my garden. Blessings!

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  10. I can’t wait to get out of this tiny apartment so I can have a garden! I may pot some stuff on the balcony anyway!

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  11. Yes, we started our seeds! I’ve got tomato, cherry tomato, basil, oregano, and cilantro sprouts in the next room…now if only we’d get our sunshine back so they don’t wilt!! :)

    About the squash, I don’t remember exactly what you said happened last year. But if they died in the middle of the summer, I’m going to guess squash vine borers–the adults lay their eggs in the growing vines, and when the eggs hatch, the little beasties eat the plant from the inside out. Gross, right?! Well, a lady at my church just told me to try wrapping the baby plant stems with aluminum foil. The adult borers supposedly won’t cross the foil. I’m going to give it a try! :)

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  12. I’ve got broccolie and cauliflower started in my basement now! SO much cheaper than buying plants…
    BLessings!

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  13. I haven’t started any seeds yet but I’m wanting to grow some herbs, tomatoes and bell peppers this year.

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  14. Good for you Jen – don’t you love starting seeds at home? It’s a great home school lesson and a huge savings! We have the same little greenhouse and it works very well for us, but it’s too cold here to get it going yet!

    I started some seeds two weeks ago inside under the grow lights and everything is growing like crazy – sadly we are expecting SNOW tonight and tomorrow, but hopefully it will warm up soon enough to transplant the cool weather things like lettuce and peas. I plant by the Farmer’s Almanac schedule for our area and try to keep on top of succession planting so that we have veggie throughout the summer and not just for a couple of weeks. Last summer my health issues precluded a planned garden expansion, but perhaps since the children are older and able to help more we will go ahead with it! I have sweet and lemon basil started, along with chives and cucumbers. Everything is coming along so well!

    I would suggest Rodale’s Garden Pests to help you identify the culprit from last years garden failure – and I would definitely rotate your plantings so the pests can’t find their favorite crop!

    Happy gardening! She who plants a garden works hand in hand with God, and grows a heart of thankfulness at the same time!

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  15. House Pretty says:

    Hi, happy Spring! I started some seeds a couple of weeks ago for tall 6ft. spiky purple, pink, and white plants, that I got from my mother-in law a couple of years ago. I started them in tiny sample cups. When they get big enough, I will be transferring them to those recycled newspaper pots that you are using. I also saw this idea on another blog a few days ago. Fantastic idea!

    Since they were all collected in the same container, I have no idea which seeds are which color. It is going to be such a pretty surprise to see what colors come up!

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  16. I’d love to try this out…. although, I don’t have a green thumb… a brown one more like it! :-)

    Here’s my recipe: http://ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2011/03/rice-crispy-easter-eggs-to-make-with.html

    Love,
    Traci

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  17. Last year, my garden was ruined from powdery mildew and late blight – ugh. I shouldn’t have stuck so many veggies in the garden, but sometimes I just can’t resist. I think I’ll be trying my hand at seeds asap.

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  18. Last year my garden was a disaster. The fact that I paid almost $4 for some of those plants that died made it even more sad! This year I’ve started my plants from seeds, and I’m hopeful for a better outcome. I found a neat tip that has helped shore up my damaged gardening ego…diy sprouts! I started with wheat berries and within 3 days I had delicious, fresh sprouts for sandwiches and salads. I’m planning to try other types of sprouts, I’ve read that broccoli sprouts are supposed to be really good.

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  19. Just discovered your site and loved your post from a few months ago on frugal vs. cheap. I’ll share a story in that vein – years ago, I had a friend who wanted a new VCR, so she bought a cheap one. A year later, it died and she bought another cheap one. I am sure she bought at least three VCRs. I was in the market for one, too. I saved up and bought one that was about the price of her three VCRs but was also a good, respected brand. I wanted to buy something that would last. Guess what? I used it a lot and, even though I don’t use it often now, mine is still working very well. No telling how many hundreds of dollars she has spent on VCRs, DVD players etc. in the years since. Sometimes “cheap” costs you a lot more in the long run.

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  20. It gets too hot here in the summer for a vegie garden if you don’t have some shade. My neighbor tried growing tomatoes last year and as soon as it got really hot the poor things just got cooked!
    I am sharing my recipe for Banana And Chocolate Layered Dessert. This recipe is gluten free, but can be made with “regular” flour if you don’t have issues with gluten.
    Thanks for hosting!

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  21. I linked up a cold bean salad that is my frugal and healthy lunch for the work week. I am enjoying it so much I plan of having it again next week and am even getting the kids to eat it

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  22. Hi! Thanks for hosting the linky. I can’t wait to check out the great recipes!

    I’ve just started my Spring garden and posted about it a few days ago: http://jewelry4change.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-spring-garden-gardening-gloves.html

    I love your awesome shelves for starting seeds. I can’t wait to see pictures of your garden in a couple of months! :)

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  23. I’d love to grow my own veggies, but since we are in a rental apartment, the only thing I can grow is a few herbs … I hope I get the opportunity to grow more stuff in the future … Thanks for hosting this blog hop again, theres a lovely assortment of recipes!

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  24. We have some seedlings growing in the greenhouse and some things are already in the garden. We have already enjoyed some fresh radishes from our garden and can’t wait for more goodies to come.

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