Friday, March 12, 2010

Seeds and Such

Happy hour enthusiasts?
Or, avid gardeners in disguise?
I'm guessing gardeners!
Toasting the success of another wild and crazy... 
Seed Planting Party!
Friends claim that all they learned how to do in college was drink beer. Perhaps they're missing the big picture.

Drinking beer might be all I learned how to do but I'm not asking for my tuition money back. No, no... I'm putting this knowledge to fine use!

16-ounce clear plastic drinking cups make great containers for starting little seedlings. (Poke 3 or 4 holes in the bottom for drainage.)

Why Clear?
- The price is right. As in practically free. They cost about 1/10th the price of those fancy little seed starter systems.
- Plus, they work like an ant farm. You get to see what's happening underground!

Everybody seems to love those seed pellet starter systems but I'm just not a fan.

Too small: I like to give my seedlings a fighting chance by growing larger plants indoors, before hardening them off for transplant into the garden.

A bit frustrating: The fabric mesh that holds those seed pellets together never goes away. I thought they decomposed in the soil, but now I know I need to tear the mesh off of them before planting in the soil.

Hatching in my sunny window ~ an entire Coneflower garden, great big Zinnias, Sweet Peas, Blue Cupidone, Linaria, and pretty Aubrieta.

* Wondering where YOUR seeds are? I've been quite the lazy gardener but I am getting my act together over the weekend and you should have them very soon.

Seed-starting mix makes a big difference. It contains more nutrients than potting soil, encouraging healthy growth.


Liza said...

Oh what a nice post! I'm thinking about starting a vegetable garden for the first time, and your site is definitely inspiring me! Thanks!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

While I'm all for reusing things for seed starting, and I'm certainly pro beer, drinking beer out of plastic cups is just -- I'm gonna go ahead and say it -- wrong! Thank you. I'm off to find a Bell's and pour it into a proper glass, LOL! :)

Titanium said...

Here's to starting things and new beginnings!

Cheers (raises coffee cup, spills espresso down sleeve, laughs and hits )


Kate said...

Go for it, Liza! Veggies, in particular, love these big cups because they tend to have huge root systems.

Dearest Monica; My, my you're a classy dame! Perhaps you were an ivy leaguer? Proper glassware didn't last a minute back in the day of our college keggers. :D

A toast to you, too, Titanium: Live, Laugh and...? LOAF!

kate smudges said...

I was sure Monica would mention winter sowing (and plastic containers). She has written a great guide for it. (I wonder if anyone would think I was crazy if I rifled through the recycling bin at hockey games to liberate the gazillion of clear plastic cups there?)

Noelle said...

Great tips. I didn't know that they mesh sticks around afterward. I love seeing the roots grow through clear plastic much better.

Kate said...

As long as you're rooting for the home team, I think you'll be safe, Kate! Perhaps we can talk Monica into re-posting that great guide.

Hi, Noelle; If the mesh coverings decompose it happens very, very slowly. I've found the mesh intact months after transplanting seedlings and it, of course, kept them very root bound. :(

Shady Gardener said...

Kate, Cute post! I'm for anything that works, as long as the seeds sprout and the seedlings grow in to real plants! :-) Happy Spring!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

LOL! Like your birth announcement Kate.
You are right about the pellets. I transplanted my seedlings into bigger pots this week and had to peel of the netting from them. The netting never decomposes.
Your plants look wonderful!
Have a great weekend Kate!

Will said...

Great looking seedlings. I have some lettuce ready to go out from the greenhouse. Yay! Gardening season is finally starting!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Ivy league, LMAO, funny. Alas, I didn't start drinking until my early 30s or so. Not even when I lived in Germany for 6 months. I know, it seems crazy now. But as an old fogey, I do have some standards and I really like beer out of glass containers--though the bottle is fine! Yep, I'ze one classy dame. LOL!

sweet bay said...

This post is hilarious. :) I'm not a fan of those pellet seed starter kits either.

Kate said...

Hi, Shady;
I'm with you. Whatever works is fine by me. :)

Thx, Lona; I hope you enjoy a warm weekend with plenty of time to play in the mud.

Yum, Will, fresh lettuce! Nothing better!

Hey, Monica;
Just teasing you a bit. hee hee. I could probably hang tough on no beer in Deutschland but I doubt I could survive without a dumpling, or two, or three...

Happy Spring, Sweet Bay! :))

Carol said...

I love the idea of a seed planting party Kate! Your seedlings look so lush and healthy! Love your announcement! Congratulations! ;>))

donna said...

This post arrived just in time. Out goes my Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse. I'll be planting my cucumber, pumpkin, moonflower, zinnia, sunflower and pepper seeds in clear plastic drinking cups. Thanks for the idea.

Dumb gardener I need to make holes in the bottoms of the cups for drainage or just be careful not to over water?


donna said...

Forgot to add, I know all about beer....I'm from Wisconsin. Also know a lot about deep fried cheese curds:) And bratwurst and bubblers.


jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Love this post, dear Kate, and love the spring arrivals on your sidebar and in your header. I did a great deal of giggling, actually, because I went to Agricultural college way back when, and there WAS a fair bit of beer drinking...AND seed starting! Most of them legal seeds by most of us, but I distinctly remember one guy who had a 'special' plant growing in a clear beer cup. Who knew that he was years ahead of his time!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Kate girl how cute and practical is this ! .. I don't do seeds but if I did, this is the most logical choice : )
Congrats on the birth of the babies ! ..
I love your garden employees on the side bar .. and of course I can't help but favor the feline member ? LOL
Joy : )

Kiki said...

Yay..happy seedling birth...enjoy enjoy!! Smiles and sparkles..! I enjoyed this post!

Kate said...

Hi, Carol! It's fun to have some new green growth in this [argh still] winter world of mine. :)

Oh, Donna; Cheese curds.. How I miss 'em! This transplanted Minnesotan was outraged to discover that the Utah State Fair doesn't sell this delicacy! Hmmm... do I smell a new business opportunity? :)) PS: Yes, the drink cups need some drainage. I always forget to mention that because it is so dry out here I don't need drainage.

LOL, Jodi - It's probably good that what happens in college, stays in college. Unless of course someone starts a 'tell all' blog tee hee

Thx, Joy; I'll pass along to Pete the cat that he has the beginnings of a fan club!

Hi, Kiki; Spring really does feel like a new awakening. Seeds are a fun way to celebrate the promise of good things to come. :D

joey said...

Cheers to your seedy post, Kate! So glad you are back in the saddle again ... happy weekend :)

gloria said...

Hi Kate - you are inspiring me to get those seeds planted. I have them on the kitchen table and shuffle them around as if they were playing cards. Your plastic cups are a very good idea. I use all kinds of left over containers, like yogurt cups, etc. I use a large plastic shallow storage box as my "work table" it contains the dirt and water. I tend to be messy!

jan said...

Your plastic cups reminded me of my mom starting her seeds in styrofoam cups. She would take them out of the trash in the coffee lounge in her 'senior living' apartment. Sometimes it was hard to wash the lipstick marks off the cups before she used them - those old ladies used some powerful lipstick!

Wendy said...

the seedlings look great - definitely something to celebrate!

Cute "birth" announcement!

Liisa said...

Your Coneflower garden sounds delightful, and I look forward to seeing the Sweet Peas in bloom. I think your plastic keg cup a marvelous idea. This year I am trying pots fashioned from newspaper and a wooden form. I liked the idea of being able to plop them directly in the ground or a larger pot without disturbing the root system. Plus, I can cram a whole bunch of the tiny seedlings under my lighting system. The images in your sidebar are such a treat for these color-starved eyes! :)

gardeningAngel said...

Hi Kate, What a nice bunch of seedlings you have already. The plastic cups are a good idea. I don't use the pellets either, but I do have many growing flats and seed starting containers that I reuse every year, and plastic cups when I need bigger pots. You're so far ahead of me - I haven't even started my seeds yet. Kathy

Melanie said...

A wonderful post Kate, made me smile. I love all the photos of spring flowers, especially that some of them are coming up through snow.

Friko said...

lots of commercial plastic pots get used in my garden, yogurt pots, and such, and even margarine tubs.
It all helps towards saving money for seeds and plants.

Kate said...

Thx, Joey; Yes, feeling much better and so grateful for that!

LOL, Jan! Welcome home from your fun travels. :)

Hi, Wendy; I need to scoot over to your blog and see if I was remotely close in guessing your mystery.

Hi, Liisa; I saw that you were doing newspaper pots and I think that is a marvelous idea. I 'steal' a lot of newspaper from the recycling bins of others and use it as weed barriers.

Hey, GardeningAngel; I shouldn't be planting seeds this early. It's called trying to survive the winter doldrums... :)

Hi, Melanie; Nearly all of my bulbs bloom in the snow. They probably don't like it but we'll get snows up here until late May so we don't really have a choice.

I like your practical notions, Friko. Since I garden on a budget it pains me to spend some of that budget on items I feel are unnecessary.

Kate said...

Hi, Gloria;
I have the same kind of set up. It's a huge shallow tray that came with a lighted contraption for starting seeds. I no longer need the grow light but I love that tray because I'm kind of messy, too. :)

Kelly@LifeOutOfDoors said...

I love it! I'm sure you've heard the famous Ben Franklin quote: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And if you can put those used cups into seed starting service - perfect. Thanks for the great post.

vanzare apartamente said...

This plants look wonderful! I think that seeds grow better through clear plastic.

Kate said...

Thx, Kelly! :))

Grace Peterson said...

Congrats on the birth of your new seedling, Kate! May it live a long, prosperous life.

You're so right about that mesh on the peat pellets. For years I'd dig up remnants of them in my garden.

I'm not sure about that beer photo. The hands all look awfully clean!