Looking for a way to save money on gardening? Then consider growing seedlings yourself! Read on to discover how starting seedlings indoors is easier than you might think!
I don’t know about you, but I get an itch every year in the early Spring to make things grow! I just love gardening, and I’ll tell you my dirty little secret…I normally buy plants at my local grocery or gardening store to transplant into my yard.
I think it’s fairly common, actually, but I got thinking and planning early this year, and I planned a garden on a little larger scale.
I moved into a new home last Spring (no time to garden that year!) and my yard is really bare, so I planned to not only put in vegetables but flowers, shrubs and trees as well!
Below is a picture of my flower garden at the full height of its glory last year, but this year, I wanted to go bigger!
Since doing all of that was going to cost a good sum of money, I started thinking about how I could save some of my hard-earned cash and still get what I want, and I came up with the perfect idea – instead of buying seedlings from the store, I would grow my own seedlings!
Growing Seedlings Saves Money
Let me give you the breakdown.
When I got looking around, several of my favorite stores already had seedlings for sale. The cheapest prices I could find were $1.50 each for a small, individual tomato seedling. Everything else I looked at was even higher priced, and many of the plants didn’t look so healthy.
It didn’t take me long to figure out how to save a ton of money on gardening!
I was able to buy packets of seeds – some for as little as $.20 per packet! Each different type had multiple seeds inside and endless potential!
Now, instead of a single seedling for $1.50, I could grow my own for a mere fraction of that cost!
If you are interested in how to grow seedlings, this simple process will allow you to spend less and grow more, all at the same time.
Supplies for Growing Seedlings
- Seeds – you choose which types, but be sure when picking vegetable seeds to pick things that your family will actually eat!
- Some type of “starter” planting medium: there are tons of different ways you can start seedlings, but I did mine as quickly and easily as possible because time was of the essence with my busy work and life schedule. I bought a pre-made seed-starter kit.
- Seedling starter trays (if not using a kit)
- A fork that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Warm water
- Saran wrap or another greenhouse-like cover
- Popsicle sticks or some other item that you can use to label your seedlings so you’ll remember what they are as they are growing. I actually used stickers for mine, as you’ll see in the pictures below.
Before Starting Seedlings
FIRST – Before you go pick up any of those supplies listed above, take some time to sit down and figure out what types of plants you want to put into your garden or landscaping, and where you’ll place them. Before you invest in anything, you want to be sure to have a well-thought-out plan. Well, thought out doesn’t have to mean you’re an artist – just look over your available area and do what works for you.
Check out my original landscape plan:
IMPORTANT SAFETY ADVICE:
*When digging in your yard, it is important to call 811 and have all utility lines located prior to digging. I had sat down in advance and drawn out a gardening and landscaping plan for myself, but I only called for the utility lines to be checked AFTER I had drawn up the plans, planted my seeds and ordered my trees. Not so smart.
So, good reader…learn from my mistake. For instance…here is where my trees were all supposed to go!
Yes, folks, that’s a gas line running right through where all of my trees were supposed to go! Good thing I checked it – always remember, safety first!
SECOND – label your pots for each type of seed you’ll be planting ahead of time. It will make it easier to keep things straight once you open up seed packets.
THIRD – prepare your planting medium. If you bought an easy seed starter like mine, just follow the simple instructions on the package. My favorite one is this kit from Jiffy:
Here are my Jiffy peat pots, ready to go:
If you’re making your own seedling planting pots, the process is still super easy. You can buy ready-made planting mix, or create your own mixture.
For my actual garden spot, I did create my own mix using Vermiculite, Peat Moss, and Organic Compost. You can put your mix in anything really – egg cartons, cardboard box tops like from a case of printing paper, paper muffin tins, or whatever makes sense to you. Or you can buy little seedling starter trays.
Growing Seedlings Indoors
1. Once the soil is ready, create a hole using your fork (a spoon works too!)
2. Drop two to three seeds down into the hole in each pot.
3. Cover gently with soil – do not tamp it down!
4. Sprinkle lightly with lukewarm water (not hot, not cold!)
5. Cover your pots. If you have a seed starter kit, it probably came with a lid. Otherwise, use saran wrap.
Basically, you want to create a small greenhouse effect.
6. Seeds will germinate easier in a dark, warm spot, so be sure you have a good spot to put them aside for a few days.
7. Once your seeds have sprouted, remove the covering and place them in a sunny location. You’ll be amazed at their growth rate when they reach this stage!
If your seedlings are having trouble growing, you may need to look into grow lights for seedlings or a seedling heat mat.
This post is actually part 1 of a 3-part series. Watch for the next installment here at www.WhatsUpFagans.com. Better yet, if you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up here and get more posts on family, household, cleaning, budgeting and general tips on raising great kids and staying sane. Plus, you’ll get notified when a new gardening post goes up!
Find more general gardening tips check out these posts: