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the things i love

My Garden 2013: Spring Seed Starting Experiment

As y’all know, I’ve become somewhat of a Pinterest-holic. My special interest is recycling and up-cycling and all the things you can do with “trash”. So I was developing quite the stash of tin cans, milk jugs, yogurt cups, egg cartons, etc. I actually got to the point last week where I had a clutter-vention and spent several hours cleaning it all out and forcing myself to actually send the majority of the stuff out of the house to be recycled. I saved a few things from each category.

I am also really into planning my garden and in the last three weeks it has finally started to look and act like spring might be coming to Colorado. We are still a few weeks from the last freeze date, but I wanted to try starting my seeds indoors early this year. Last year I did plant a few seeds outside and most of them failed. I certainly never got anything truly productive out of them. By starting my seeds indoors, I am hoping to get more out of my garden this year. So I also collected several packets of seeds to start.

So on Friday (April 5), I planted a whole bunch of seeds in the various things that I had collected. This is going to be kind of an experiment to see what works best because I’m trying several different planting methods. I am using two OTT-Lite craft lights, and two light boxes that are meant for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. For the soil I used a mixture of some fairly inexpensive potting soil and some pretty expensive seed starting medium. I am watering the seeds with a combination of plain water and the “tea” from my compost bucket.

I planted some lettuce seeds in some eggshells and put them in the clear plastic egg cartons that come from Eggland’s Best. I woke up this morning to several inches of snow on the ground. I went to turn on the plant’s lights and I was so SHOCKED to discover that my lettuce had sprouted. And not just a little bit, some of the sprouts were almost an inch tall!

2013-04-09 Lettuce Closed Day 5 (11)2013-04-09 Lettuce Closed Day 5 (14)

I planted some flat Italian parsley seeds in some eggshells and put them in a standard cardboard egg cartons and topped them with a clear egg carton. None of these seeds have sprouted yet. I do think the soil in this cardboard egg carton is drying out faster than the plastic egg containers above. I’ll have to water more frequently.

2013-04-09 Parsley Day 5

I folded and cut some TP rolls, planted them with bell peppers and put them in a metal deli pan that had a clear lid. None of the peppers have sprouted yet either. But I have high hopes.

2013-04-09 Peppers Day 4

To make it a true experiment, I am comparing the effectiveness of the recycled items to a commercial plastic “professional” seed starting kit that I bought at O’Tooles, our local garden center. I used the same soil. I planted carrots, basil and cantaloupe in it. I have no clue where I will put the cantaloupe if it actually grows, I only have a 10’x10′ patio and a 2’x12′ garden to work with!

2013-04-09 Pro Kit Day 5 (1)2013-04-09 Basil Day 5 (2)2013-04-09 Pro Kit Day 5 (2)

Finally, I planted little peat pot with several sunflower seeds that a good friend had given me. They are already sending down little roots. I hope you can see them.

2013-04-09 Sunflower Seeds (2)2013-04-09 Sunflower Seeds (3)

Here’s a closer look at the lettuce sprouts. I love them!! I have microgreens!  I plan to post more pics later.

2013-04-09 Lettuce Day 5 (7)2013-04-09 Lettuce Day 5a (1)

2013-04-09 Lettuce Day 5 (8)2013-04-09 Lettuce Day 5 (2)



2013-04-10 Seed Starting Day 6 (7) 2013-04-10 Seed Starting Day 6 (6) 2013-04-10 Seed Starting Day 6 (2)

2013-04-10 Seed Starting Day 6 (3)


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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by in Reuse, Self Sufficiency and tagged , , .

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