Hi. My name is Laura, and I'm a hoarder. (Hiiiiiiii Lauuuuuura.) I'm also a little bit thrifty. Worst of all, I'm environmentally conscious. That awful combination means that my basement is an embarrassment, littered with random bits of paper and plastic that COULD become something because they CAN'T go into a landfill, and MAY save me money someday.
This makes my husband nearly insane and compromises my marriage, but it's good for you. Why? Because I have no end of oddball ideas to share about changing your junk into fabulous and useful stuff!
Let's start with seed starting, and some of my awesome ideas for gathering all your necessary seed starting supplies without breaking the bank..
1.) Find some gardening nerds
Gardeners are always giving it away for free (ha!) – “Here, take some zucchini, I have too many. And some cucumbers. And tomatoes. Take them. TAKE THEM, I SAY!” Although sometimes self-serving, the generosity is truly there. Tell your gardening neighbor that you’re interested in starting seeds, but need some help, and you’re likely to be thrown all sorts of seed packets and supplies. For example, this is what my seed stash looks like at the moment. Trust me, your garden nerd friend has too much of everything and is ready to share.
If you can’t find any real life nerds, there are plenty online at various gardening forums. Gardenweb.com is one example. Search for “free seed offers” and you’ll find some online pals ready to send you seed overstock for the price of mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope.
2.) Repurpose household equipment
This is where my hoarding really shines! Most everything you need to start seeds is likely lying around in your house, garage, or recycling bin. For example:
Seed starting containers - Small paper cups and cardboard egg cartons with holes poked in the bottom work and can be planted right in the ground along with the seedling. Plastic wrap on top imitates a greenhouse and holds in heat and moisture during germination. My personal favorite modified seed starting containers are the plastic packages from grape tomatoes, blueberries, or strawberries. They already have holes in the bottom for taking up water, and a domed lid as a cover. You can also make your own seed starting containers with newspaper and a tin can by wrapping the newspaper around the can, and folding the edges down to make a bottom.
Seed trays – The seed starting containers need to sit on something when being watered from the bottom. Aluminum foil baking sheets of various sizes and depths leftover from kid #2's birthday party can do the job nicely. Or you even just buy a bunch of brand new ones (the horror!) for next to nothing.
Grow lights and heat mats– The elaborate set up with multiple types of bulbs with different colored light wavelengths? Unnecessary. A regular basement UV shop light provides light and even some heat. If your seeds need to be extra warm to germinate, like peppers, a regular household heating pad set on low works. See? Check out this wacky set up of mine, which is make of four shop lights hung at different levels on a plastic storage rack. It's a bit spare right now, but this thing will be packed to the gills in a month or so.
3.) DIY seed starting mix
This will be tougher to pull off if you are a new gardener, so you might want to skip this part and get yourself an organic seed starting mix for this year. However, if you’ve been gardening long enough to have a supply of compost at the ready, you can mix your own seed starting soil with equal parts perlite, vermiculite, and compost. Buying the perlite and vermiculite in bulk knocks down the costs long term, and composting is just plain old fun! It’s a win all around.
OK, you’ve assembled your rag tag bunch of seed starting supplies. Now what? Well, that’s a different post, innit? Stay tuned
I am Laura; lover of plants, fan of words, drinker of wine, practitioner of yoga, planner of schemes, and conductor of the family crazy train, Check here for gardening tips (because I can't stand the word "hacks"), harvest recipes, and crafty projects.