Thursday, May 2, 2013

Starting seeds from the recycling bin...

OK, not literally, but your recycling does have a lot to do with it!

Instead of chucking all our egg and salad mix cartons this spring, I saved a bunch of them and made them into seed starters! I knew I had seen posts online about doing something like this, so I wanted to give it a shot for myself and also experiment with different materials to see if that made any difference.

I used two plastic egg cartons, one regular egg carton, and a plastic tub from some spring salad mix.

 At first I set everything up on the railing (wine and gardening are a perfect pair, in my book), but I realized pretty fast that I would need more room (especially so I didn't knock my wine over!), so I brought a scrap board over from the wood pile and ta-da! Instant potting table.

 This is what my final set-up looked like. 
Don't worry, the propane is for the grill!
I have plastic wine glasses for just such an occasion and I brought our binoculars out just in case an interesting bird came by. With this little station, I was happy on the back deck for hours!

Until I stumbled upon this guy, of course. YUCK!

He was hiding in my bag of potting soil and he almost touched me! EEEEEEW!

Despite my ugly visitor, I managed to continue my project (after a very careful extraction of my guest, that is) and started green bean, beat, and broccoli seeds. I put a few seeds where each egg would go, added some organic soil, and patted them down lightly. I also potted some herb seeds in the ceramic pots you saw above.

I used a knife and one of those little picks used for eating nuts to poke holes in the tops of my mini green houses.

As of now, pretty much everything has sprouted except the seeds I put in the normal paper egg carton. Those ones developed a mold and had to be thrown out. I was surprised by this! I anticipated that container working the best. It drained better than the plastic, of course, but I guess perhaps it retained too much moisture and encouraged mold spores.

I got two very nice, healthy bean sprouts out of the salad container and I have many small sprouts of beats and broccoli in the plastic egg cartons. The sprouts do seem to be very thin, though, and I'm concerned about them bulking up enough to be transplanted.

This is why they call it experimenting! Progress on the actual garden is slow due to planning and re-planning and re-planning, but we did manage to buy most of our materials for the fence and set four posts this weekend. Pictures coming soon!