Early spring is the perfect time to get your hands dirty and prepare for a garden. To speed things up, you might want to sow seeds for replanting later in the yard or in containers. It’s always a sense of accomplishment to grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables from seeds. Plus it saves money by not having to buy seedlings at the store.
Gather your supplies before you start. You will need:
· Clear plastic containers-milk jugs, fruit containers, or anything that will let the sunshine in.
· Empty toilet or paper towel rolls
· Felt tip magic marker-make sure it’s as fine tipped as possible. The fatter the tip-the more of a chance that your letters will run together.
· Seeds-whatever kind you want to grow.
· Spade or large spoon for shoveling dirt
· Duct tape
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to sow your seeds (please see the attached slide show for photos of each step)-
Step 1: If you are using milk jugs, you will need to cut them, about half way down, on 3 sides, for easier access. Fold the 4th side down when you are done.
Step 2: Label the toilet paper rolls. Write the name of the type of seed you will be using in each one, at the top of every roll. If you are using paper towel rolls, cut them into thirds, so they will fit in the containers and then label them. This ensures that you know what type of plant it is when it’s time to move them to their new home.
Step 3: Add about an inch of dirt into the bottom of each container.
Step 4: Place rolls into containers and wiggle into place. Add more dirt to fill each roll about 2/3 full. Then place your seeds on top of the dirt in every roll. If they are large seeds, like green beans, only place one in each roll. If they are smaller seeds, like dill, place a few (2-4) of them inside each roll. This give more seeds a chance of survival when they start growing.
Step 5: Put dirt on top of seeds-about an inch worth. Do not pack the dirt down. Now water each roll. They don’t need much, only about ¼ cup. The water will trickle down into the dirt at the bottom of the container and will also be absorbed into the paper roll. Note that the water line does not reach the writing on the roll. This is good because later you will be able to read what type of plant the seedling is.
Step 6: Tape each jug along the cut line with duct tape. Make sure that the two halves of the jug are brought together as you tape. This will keep out rain and bugs while the seeds are taking root.
Step 7: Place containers in a sunny place.
That’s all you need to do, until it’s time to repot your seedlings. Essentially, you have created an outdoor terrarium for your seeds with recycled items. The duct tape seal will keep the moisture inside the container, so you will not have to water it. Keep an eye on your containers and make sure they get enough sunlight.
If you used containers that have small holes in the top, you need to put them under cover when it rains. Also, check the jugs after a hard rain to make sure no excess water leaked in. If that happens, just remove the tape, drain out the excess water and re-tape.
When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, you can repot them-cardboard roll and all-into the garden or in a pot or similar container. If more than one seedling grew in a roll, you can separate and plant them, but just keep the strongest and/or largest of the batch and discard the dead or weakest ones. This will ensure your garden will produce the hardiest flowers, herbs, and vegetables.