Friday, May 9, 2008

Green Friday: Seed starters

I’m going to take a break from junk mail this week. The sun is shining today (although it’s not close to warm yet—where is spring this year? My flip-flops would like to know) and my thoughts are turning more and more to gardening.

I’m not a knowledgeable gardener, despite the rather large library of gardening books I have, and I tend to garden more by accident and procrastination than by design. But the accidental successes I have are enough to keep me going—that and the fact that if I don’t, our forest will slowly but surely take over our yard and I’ll never see the sun again.

I’ve never been completely successful with starting plants from seed, due in part to my haphazard watering habits. But I’d like to master it because, in addition to being cheaper, it seems that it must be more environmentally friendly than buying pots of seedlings: no new plastic pots being made and thrown away, no truckloads of plants being transported. (Also, I have some craft projects in mind for empty seed packets so I have some extra motivation to plant seeds.)

This year I’ve decided to buy as few new plants as possible. Every year I divide my mature perennials in the seemingly impossible attempt to fill up this big garden of mine. In the past few weeks I’ve gone to a couple of plant sales put on by public gardens and clubs, where the plants are divided or started from cuttings and planted in reused pots (I also discovered that one of the gardens here will gladly take used plastic pots—bonus, since so many of them don’t have recycling numbers on the bottom and can’t go in the city pickup). And I’ve renewed my determination to get some little seeds to grow.

A couple of weeks ago, Child Two and I made 90-something of these seed-starting pots from toilet paper tubes.

I first saw the instructions in the February/March issue of Mother Earth News, and since then I’ve run across them on the internet too. We planted them up with a variety of flower and vegetable seeds and put them in our little greenhouse cart on the deck. It’s not an ideal place for them, but because of the Most Horrible Plant Slayer who lurks in our house, we can’t start them inside. They wouldn’t dare ever pop their first leaves out of the dirt for fear of having them chomped right off. When the planting season officially starts on the Victoria Day weekend, we can plant the pots right into the ground.

I would love to hear your tips for environmentally friendly gardening!


Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

My tip for your gardening? It will have to be to remember to water them. You know how I am about my own watering.

Love the idea of being able to plant them right in the ground. Your toilet paper tubes are white????

Susan said...

Yes, they are white, even though our TP and the tubes are made from 100% recycled, non-chlorine-bleached paper.

Margerie said...

I am not one to talk. We planted our plant graveyard, I mean garden. Then we had a couple of cold snaps. I can't even look anymore.

And LOL about your bad boy James. I had missed the Plant Destroyer post. He is a cutie ;) (except for the plant destroying part)

I had one cat that would hug the pots and knock them over. He finally broke them and now I am down to one indoor plant. It has been alive and in my care since 2005. I actually remember to water it only because it is right next to the kitchen sink.

Good luck with your plantings!

KathyLikesPink said...

One week ago I had my Sunday School class plant Mammoth Sunflower Seeds in paper cups. They each planted 4 seeds in each cup and they each had 2 cups. One they took home and one they left on the Sunday School window sill. This week they were already up more than an inch! It's pretty amazing.