It is finally sloooooowwly warming up here! We still have lots of snow to melt so it will be a while before we see all of the ground, but I feel like there is some hope for spring to finally come at last! I am eagerly awaiting the time when I can go and scope out the yard and see if any plants are starting to poke up out of the ground. : ) Can you tell spring is my favorite season??
I’m going to share with you today the first of my favorite ways to save money when you garden. If you’ve ever been to a garden center and picked out some plants (or maybe a shrub or two), you know how quickly they can add up when you get to the checkout. Ouch! Especially if you go somewhere that has higher quality plants…then you are really in for a painful moment at the register! And you may give hubby a heart attack if he happens to be with you!! (Kidding!!) Whether you are planting perennials in the ground or annuals in hanging baskets or vegetables, there are ways to make it cheaper.
Probably the most obvious way to do this is by starting seeds yourself. I try to start as many plants from seed as I can. Some years this works out better than others—for example, in our previous house we didn’t have as much natural sunlight so the plants didn’t always grow very well. Depending on where you live, late winter is the perfect time to start some things ahead of spring. I love to see those little green tops poking up out of the soil—it just makes me happy. : ) I know a lot of people start tomato plants ahead of time…but you can definitely start more than just vegetable seeds. I have hollyhocks, marigolds, delphiniums, sweet williams, bells of Ireland, zinnias, and some other annuals and perennials planted in trays right now, and my mom even plants petunia and impatien seeds. A packet of seeds is generally pretty inexpensive depending on the type and where you buy it…most of the ones I got this year were around $2 each, though I do buy them from a seed catalog so it is cheaper than buying them from the store.
There are a lots of good resources out there for starting plants from seed; here are a few I found:
Seed Starting 101 from the Empress of Dirt
Start Seeds Indoors from Organic Gardening
Seed Starting for Beginners from The Kat’s Garden
And, to make it even more thrifty, you can save seeds from plants you already have (after they flower), dry them, and then plant them the following year! I haven’t been organized enough to do much of that, but I plan to change that this year.
The kids are loving seed starting too…we learned about how seeds grow a couple of weeks ago and watched a number of time-lapse youtube videos of seeds sprouting and growing…then I let them plant a few bean seeds in glasses so they could watch the sprouting/rooting/growing process up close and personal. Every day they check to see how their beans are growing—and they are growing—they were pole bean seeds so they are a now a couple feet tall and I need to figure out a support system. : ) Fun!!
If you look on Pinterest you can find multitudes of ways to start seeds very cheaply…some people use egg shells or empty egg cartons or TP rolls. I don’t have an elaborate system and it seems to work ok for me, though I’m sure the plants could do with a bit more light.
A lot of our backyard is currently under a few feet of water or snow, so it will be a while before those seeds/plants will go into the ground, but they certainly make me hopeful for springy weather and green grass again!