Starting Plants

I plan on having a garden this year. Karl said that he’d be interested in helping.  I’ve had a garden here ever since we moved here and I had a garden for several years when we lived on the farm.

I enjoy gardening.  I had really hoped to have raised beds built this year but alas.  I don’t think that is going to happen.  I was talking to Buck about it and he said that lumber price is crazy high so it might be better to wait a year with the hope that prices might come down.

So, I started making plans for this year’s garden.  I was talking with Karl and I said that getting plants at the nursery got so expensive and then last year everything was so picked over.  Karl said that he thought we should start our own plants.  Well I didn’t want to go through the whole grow light process as then I wondered at the price of electricity and the price of starter packs, do you really save anything?

So I decided to just start some seeds on my own.  I wanted to do it as inexpensively as possible.  I ended up relooking at food containers.  Karl gets these when he buys chicken tenders from the convenience store.  I started saving them.
I cut the two pieces apart.

I am putting dirt in the top clear part and then setting that inside the bottom part.  You can see the holes, they will let the excess water drain away.  There are no holes in the bottom black part so that will hold the excess water.


I bought the 20 cent pack of cabbage seeds from Walmart and started them in a similar container.  Look at them.  I’m going to have to replant these in different containers soon.  Oh my, I never dreamed that 20 cent pack of seeds would germinate so well.  That is WAY more cabbage than I can ever eat…or have space for.


I started Morning Glories from the 20 cent pack too.

In the past, I have bought morning glory seedlings.  They were $1.50 for a pack that had three plants in it.  Last year I made a trip to the nursery and they were out.  Darn.  I ended up telling Karl if he was out and about to pick up two plants.  OH MY WORD.  Karl had do idea they were annuals.  He had no idea how much they should cost.  It was $9.95 a plant.  Granted they were huge but I would not have purchased them.

I took that container and split it into four containers.  They are in my kitchen window now.  I’ll have to give them something to climb before long.  If it was last year’s morning glory price that would mean I have $39 worth of morning glory plants in my window.


I typically buy seedlings of Zucchini and Summer Squash.  This year, I’m not.  I started seedlings the same way.  I have a divided container this time.  I put yellow summer square in one, zucchini in another, and butternut squash in the large section.


This was all going so well that I started peas too.

I don’t have more window space so I set the two containers outdoors.  They will act as a greenhouse…or at least that is my thoughts.  I planted lettuce into the long container.  I will thin what comes up and plant it in the garden.  We need to till it first.


I’ll start some other in the next couple of days.

I have a neighbor just a few houses down that has the most amazing garden.  It always is perfectly manicured.  The garden always seems like it is three weeks earlier than mine.  I could never figure out what I was doing wrong.  Then two years ago the neighbor stopped by and had a bucket of seed started.  All of the plants in the bucket were about an inch high.  I asked what it was and he said, “Radishes.”  Well, I never knew anyone planted them early in a bucket, then transplanted them.  He said they do that all the time.

Well, that’s what got me wanting to start seeds that aren’t traditional early start seeds.  So this week I’ll start radishes, beets and swiss chard with the hope they will be up and ready to plant once the garden is tilled.

I’m super excited…maybe I’ll have a cheaper bill at the nursery this year and maybe, just maybe, my garden will look a little bit better….and if this all goes well, maybe I’ll get brave and start tomato plants and pepper plants next year.

I’ll let you know it all goes…

18 thoughts on “Starting Plants

  1. Edna Gerrans

    Jo, It’s great to hear about your garden plans. I have some Chinese cabbage, lupin, kale and Johnny jump ups started. Kevin at agardenforthehouse gives instructions for what he calls winter sowing. That’s what I’m trying.
    Have you tried free cycle or Craig’s list for brick or cinderblocks to edge raised beds? You might find some for free. Free is the right price in my opinion!
    Congratulations to Kelli and Jason on the twins. How wonderful! And what a handful.

    Reply
  2. Hedy

    I’m not a vegetable gardener but my BIL is. He got hold of some vintage tomato’s that probably are the world’s best tasting tomatoes and he kept the seeds. He plants those seeds each year and gets a bumper crop for his spaghetti sauce. He loves to can each year and he saves his seeds for replanting.

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  3. Linda

    Starting tomatoes are easy. You can place your seedlings in the Garten early and place around them what is called wall of water I believe. It has channel that you fill with water to act as mini greenhouses. I did this when I lived in Idaho as summer was short there. Good luck.

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  4. Kate

    Such a great idea to use those food containers. The plants look healthy and will give them a head start. My sister tends her SIL’s huge garden so we get some of the extra produce so I don’t garden except for a couple of tomato plants. Anxious to hear more about this when planting and harvesting.

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  5. Sherrill

    I started some seeds in Dec. and they’ve been in the garden for a month now. I planted some ‘black krim’ tomatoes (haven’t tried them before but they look yummy) and some little jelly bean tomatoes (those are SO good). Also bought a chocolate cherry (I think that’s right) tomato from a neighbor and it’s doing good so will see. Have one other tomato, a green pepper, okra, cilantro, hot peppers and bush beans. Hopefully I’ll get some good stuff.

    Reply
  6. Carla

    Your seedlings look great, I’m jealous! I never have had success with starting plants indoors. Years ago I made 2 raised beds from field stones mortared together. I love them, and they held up for a long time before needing some repair. The stones were sourced for free…. just a thought.

    Reply
  7. Paulette

    I bet you’d get a lot of use out of a cold frame. Your kids and/or their spouses are handy and could probably bang one together pretty easily out of an old window(s) or a door (with panes) and some scrap lumber. My great-grandpa was a truck farmer and started a lot of his plants early in a cold frame made out of an old door.

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  8. Karen F.

    Great idea on the seed starters! This is a great video showing an easy way to use wood pallets for raised beds. She shows you how to tell which ones are safe for gardening. Your son could make a couple of these in a single morning.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouVUte5DS-s
    With more and more empty shelves in the grocery stores, this is the year to grow a garden and preserve your food through canning, drying, pickling, etc. Besides, home grown tastes better!

    Reply
    1. Lisa B

      I recently read an article that said there’s a shortage of wood pallets but I think that’s a good idea. Your Walmart seed packets are way less expensive than ours. One to two bucks per packet here. Growing up in WA state we planted the seeds directly in the soil Mother’s Day weekend and always had a bumper crop. Huge garden. Lots of work. Only tomatoes were seedlings.

      Reply
  9. RuthW in MD

    There’s also the “no-dig” gardening method. It says don’t dig between the rows, let the earthworms and bugs and compost do the work. This all creates a stronger, more nutrient -rich soil, and bigger and better plantings. Look it up! Less work! More produce!
    Congratulations on the babies’ growth and health!

    Reply
  10. JustGail

    I start cardinal climber vines from saved seeds every year, it saves me about $30 a year over buying plants. And okra. as the only place I ever found plants was Peck’s in Cedar Rapids, but they are no longer :-( Soaking seeds in warm water overnight can speed up the sprouting process by a few days. I’ve used toilet paper cores for the last few years. No need to remove from pots to plant, no need to wash pots for next year. For me, the hard part is not killing the plants off after they’re up.

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  11. Anne Fisher

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time– at first from Bloglovin’ -as I like Quiltville, MissouriQuiltCo. and a couple of others–but “follow” you!! Where you live and I live–isn’t that far apart. And I relate–as I was widowed at 47 with 4 kids -2 still in high school. Colon Cancer -and we had a year. Enjoy reading everything you share–and afraid I often end up in tears. Hate being so emotional, All that took place 37 years ago!! Just had to comment this time, with your seedlings started. I don’t have a good place to do that-so never have any luck. Mainly I wanted to mention that maybe your sons can find “pallets” that can be used for making raised beds??? Usually free– and can be found many places. My son just brought a load home from his workplace to make some raised beds–they are brand new!! He said they used to be taken back. Congratulations too!! Twin grandbabies!! Wow!!! Happy babies and mom all okay.

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  12. Jazz

    What a great idea, planting in those plastic food containers! I’m going to try it.

    It must be a regional thing, but I have never seen (or heard of) morning glory seedlings for sale. We broadcast the seeds here, and they reseed each spring. I get four seed packs (various flower and vegetables) for a dollar at Dollar Tree stores; they are comparable in quantity and quality to the more expensive packs at the nurseries.

    Your plans are great, Jo. I wish you all the luck with your garden, and with the two new babies as well.

    Reply
  13. NJ

    I’m not good with starting my own tomato plants. Where we live seedlings have to be “hardened off” before transplanting into the soil. That means I have to set them out in the daytime & take them in at night so it’s easiest for me to buy seedlings. I really only need 6 & I like to try different varieties. I wrap English cucumber seeds in a wet paper towel & keep them in a plastic bag to germinate before I stick them in the soil. They come up quick & I don’t lose time to replant if the seed doesn’t germinate.

    I cut my clematis down every Fall & get rid of the dry vines. They’re brittle & break anyway. Some say don’t cut them back but mine grows up again beautifully every year. Our neighbor can’t get his to bloom like mine but his roots get too wet where he’s planted his. I remember my Grandma saying “vines don’t like wet feet”.

    Reply
  14. Lace Faerie

    Have you ever watched any of Charles Dowding’s videos on YouTube? He is the gardener I want to be when I grow up! Heehee He advocates for no-till gardening and pre-sows his seeds quite heavily and pricks out the seedlings into larger pots until he transplants them into his no-till beds.

    I am giving his starting methods a try this year. So far, so good…

    Reply
  15. Sharon F

    Growing up in NC, I spent most of my pre-teen summers hoeing the morning glories out of my Daddy’s garden, where they grew wild and tried to take over. I moved to the west coast as a young adult, and was shocked when I saw packets of morning glory seeds for sale at the garden center. I couldn’t imagine anybody purposely planting those weeds! But I do agree they are pretty.

    Good luck with your seed starts and garden!

    Reply
  16. MicheleinMaine

    Peas can go right in the ground; I’ve never heard of starting them in pots first and transplanting. In Maine our growing season is so short that we do rely on seedlings for many things, esp. tomatoes which need a long, hot season. But squash, especially, is easy from seed. Good luck with your garden.

    Reply
  17. Kim J LeMere

    Good luck on the garden beds, I look forward to seeing the progress and I know the child care kids love your garden adventures. Raised beds are a wonderful idea. We had some in a former home and I put a soaker hose around the top of the beds and they were easy to water.

    Reply

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