Monday, March 16, 2015

Got Garden Stash? How to Upcycle Your Seed Starting!

If you start seeds and do a bit of gardening year after might have some garden stash to work with!

See tips on dashing your stash this year right here.

Whenever I purchase starts for the garden, I try to keep the sturdy little plastic pots and the plastic plant markers. These add up over time and they are the perfect thing to upcycle when you're starting your own seeds. They stack well, so they don't take up much room in my potting bench.
Clean out your little pots before planting fresh seeds
This is the time of year for my zone in the U.S. when I usually start my tomato seeds on my protected south-facing sunporch (aka my greenhouse) along with some herbs, flowers, and a few squash varieties. I don't go overboard starting squash plants because honestly, the plants that have done the best each year seem to be the ones that came from seeds sown directly into my garden around the first of May. That includes spaghetti squash, butternut, zucchini, and pumpkin. I've had some nice pumpkins the last couple of years!
I have a lot of seed packets from previous years, and my husband bought a few new packets for me last month. Sometimes the older seeds work just fine, and other times they've lost their magic. That's why it's good to start several and see where you are. But I save some of the squash, flower and cucumber seeds to also sew directly into the garden as soon as I can. I also have a mailbox garden, and I sew seeds into it very early--the first of April--because I can then cover it with a plastic tarp, and get the beauty of that little garden going very early in the summer. If you have a patio or deck, you can do the same thing in the pots out there by just covering them well with plastic. Seeds need that moist, warm greenhouse effect to get started. Be sure and water them before covering. Check them after a week or so, and when the little starts pop up, they are ready for the sunshine. If it's still getting cold at night, bring them in after dark. I can't do that with my mailbox garden, so I just keep covering them at night until the beginning of May when the danger of frost for my zone has passed.
I grew last year's mailbox garden from a packet of seeds called "Mailbox Garden"

After I get my seeds planted in the little plastic pots, I use a Sharpie on the plastic plant markers I've saved so I know exactly what I have. Then I water everything, and cover them with either plastic seed tray covers I have on hand from last year, or plastic shower caps from the dollar store.
These pots are sitting in a foil roasting pan I had.
My husband built my potting bench many years ago, and it has served me well as gardening headquarters where I store everything and work with seeds pretty much from now until late in the summer. I just never stop planting seeds! I also try to overwinter some of my perennial herbs like thyme and rosemary. My greenhouse sunporch is not heated, so they've done pretty well this year. Happy planting!
A pot of thyme that spent the winter on my greenhouse

I've overwintered this rosemary for the last few years!
Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow

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