“Mondays in My Garden”: Four Easy Ways to Save Money when starting your Garden

There are a few blogs that I just love. Household 6 Diva is one of them.  Ann Marie is a down to earth Army spouse recently relocated from Germany to Texas and there are so many times that I think, "Wow, would we be good friends if our lives had ever crossed."

She started a series called "Mondays in My Garden".  Be sure to read her inaugural post here: Welcome to “Mondays in My Garden”

Ah... my garden.  Just the thought of it has my heart smiling. Yesterday it was 72 degrees out in NE Ohio.  The back door was open all day.  The front door was filled with sunshine.  Smiles, laughs, giggles could be heart throughout the neighborhood.  (Didn't know you could hear a smile?  I know exactly what they sound like!)

I sat on my deck, hands in the "mud", filling cups with dirt, setting filled cups on seed trays, wetting the dirt with warm water, putting one tiny seed in each cup, and finally putting the plastic seed tray lid on each tray.  When I got into bed last night, I /fell/ into bed.  Such a good feeling!

However, it's mid March in Ohio.  Snow is in the forecast for Wednesday.  Therefore, right now my garden is in my kitchen, snug and warm on a shelf-unit with wheels which can move out of the way if necessary, up against our warm glass-deck door.

Find ideas for Reusing, Repurposing and Recycling:

This year I'm beginning to appreciate the cost-savings of gardening. I have been herb & vegetable gardening for almost ten years now and so have grown to appreciate the investment that it takes to get it all started.  If you are thinking of undertaking a garden here are four easy ways to save a little money.

Four Easy Ways to Save Money when starting your Garden:

  1. Grow your own plants form seed.  It is a bit of work but it's fun work to watch seeds turn to plants and in the long run you get a lot more bang for your buck by buying a packet of seeds then plants that are already started for you at a nursery
  2. Save those cups.  Over the years I have use kids' cups from restaurants.  I put a couple holes in the bottom with a sharp knife for draining.  These cups are a much better size then the small 'seed started pods' I had bought several years ago.  When I start veggie plants this time of year they need room to grow and they have more space in the larger cups.  What else can you use?  I also used larger yogurt containers, milk jugs, adult size fast food cups, planters from different plants I've bought over the years.  If you clean them up after your plants are in the ground.  Stack them nicely and box them up till next season you may notice quite a savings. (I know you  may need to purge for a PCS so it may not always be possible to save and reuse, but even reusing for a year or two will help.)
  3. Spread out the age of your plants.  Part of my overall-garden plan this year is ONE seed per cup.  Other years I have done two or three seeds per cup and then pulled the weakest looking plants.  But I tell you it breaks my heart with each growing plant I have to pull.  This year, however, I did one seed per cup to start with.  After the seeds have started if there are cups that don't have plants yet I'll put a new seed in them at that time.  This will spread out the 'age of the plants' so that I don't have 20 tomato plants giving me 100 tomatoes all on the same week. (Same idea with my milk-jug garden, as I get an empty milk-jug I plant another seed.  The seeds aren't all started at the same time.)
  4. Behold the power of a toothpick.  This one might seem silly but have you ever tried to put one *tiny* basil seed in a cup?  My fingers suddenly become big fat chunky useless tools when put to the task of placing one seed in a cup.  If you make a toothpick slightly wet (a little spit will do, just saying) and then put a few seeds in the palm of your hand you can easily pick up a seed, one at a time. AMAZING!  I'm telling you it's a game changer for me.  So instead of dumping 5 or 6 seeds in a cup I can easily place ONE seed in it. This is a saver because in the long run I will have more plants, loosing less seeds to waste.  (I've also saved my sanity in knowing  I haven't lost all hand coordination in the process.)
What have I started so far? Tomatoes, broccoli (I've never grown broccoli before), hot peppers, sweet peppers, basil, rosemary, & marigolds (good for keeping our rabbits out of the garden).  I have more in the works but I don't start my cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, sunflowers, peas, or beans indoors.  They get to wait till the ground is freshly rototilled and grown right in the great outdoor dirt.

My pieces and parts of my indoor Garden Cart

How about you?  Do you love to garden?  What do you grow?  What haven't you every grown but want to try someday?

We've blogged about Gardening many times before.  Check out these posts! http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com/search/label/Garden

- Leanne at MilitaryAvenue.com

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  1. What I wonderful post :) I founf it via pinterest and have to repin this. I got these self watering pots for christmas, but I still have not had the courage to plant anything yet... I might have to start soon though!

  2. Just found your blog, also via pinterest. I too discovered the toothpick trick last year...glad to see you passing it along!

  3. ive planted, basil, thyme, coriander, oregano, lettuce, carrots, pumpkin (unsuccessfully), peas, corn. id love to try potatos, and beetroot, and kale

  4. I'd like to mention that I like to recycle those rectangular plastic containers from fresh baby spinach, spring greens, and baby kale which I buy in the off season. I use these with as few as 4 seeds up to 30 depending on how close it is to setting them outside or transplanting them to larger pots. I leave the top on so it is like a little enclosed greenhouse for them until they get a few leaves and grow too tall for closing the top.

    The few times I might get something like a sundae at McDs or a special smoothie with those domed tops, I use them as well.

    Leanne, I planted everything you did about the same time except the rosemary. Here in New England I still have two feet of snow on the ground and single digit temperatures.

    P.S. Remember everyone to put in drainage holes...and a teaspoon of activated charcoal in the bottom works great too. Good luck everyone!

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