Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Frugal Garden Preparations

Well, that snow just keeps on coming.  Although the rest of the country is being covered  in snow, we are getting just enough to be annoying.  So, as I wait for the weather to turn drier and warmer, I have done what I can inside.

All of my tomatoes, green peppers (including bell, ancho and jalapeno), broccoli, herbs, cauliflower, cucumber and cantaloupe seeds are in little biodegradable pots in south facing windows.  By pouring the packets of seeds onto little white plates, I was able to get exactly 3 in each pot and then I put the leftovers back in their envelopes and back in the freezer for future use. 

I made seed strips this year for the first time.  I will be the first person to admit that I am not a patient person.  I usually start the carrot rows with good intentions, putting one teenincy seed every inch or so, but after about a foot, I start to lightly sprinkle the seeds and after about 3 feet I am scattering those darned seeds helter skelter all down the row.  This method results in my having to thin out and waste carrot plants later on, as well as finding the occasional carrot in the neighboring rows, too.

So, after reading Jeanette's comment on my post about planning this year's garden, I started investigating how to make my own seed strips.  Who knew they'd be so easy and save me from buying 5 packets of carrot seeds for a 15 foot row?  Here is what you do: cut newspaper into 1 inch wide strips (make sure not to use colored newspaper, as the colors contain lead).  Make up a thick paste of flour and water.  Spread the paste along the strip of newspaper (which by the way is a standard 18 inches long for those of you measuring and planning).  Pour your seeds onto a plate (solid colors work best here) and with tweezers, place a seed every inch or half inch down the strip of paste covered newspaper.  Let dry and store until you can plant it.  With this wonderfully frugal way of planting and ensuring a neat orderly row, I decided to make enough tape to do two rows on either side of the drip line we use in our AZ garden.  As I wait for warmer weather, I am also making tapes for my beets and spinach.

Lastly, did you know that Starbucks gives away all of their used coffee grounds especially for gardens?  They have these cute little buckets in front of their counters where they put bags of grounds for the taking.  I may be the last person on earth to find out about this, but just in case, I thought I'd pass it along!


Anonymous said...

Oh, this is brilliant! Thanks for sharing this...and for mentioning gardens in February. I miss my garden!

A Year on the Grill said...

great tip... i was planning (and already bought the seeds) to do an herb garden this year.. But, my move has delayed that to next year

Allie and Pattie said...

I will definitely be trying this!! Thanks!!
xoxo Pattie said...

I mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with one cup cold water over med head until bubbles. Remover from heat till room temp while you're waiting cut newspaper into one inch strips. Put mixture in a sandwich baggie. I put my baggy in a coffee cup for balance. Cut a tip off the baggy (a tiny, TINY tip). Read the seed package and space the glue dots however far apart you are supposed to thin to. Place a seed (I did 2) on each dot. Dry for 2 hours (I left it all night) and when you are ready to plant you lay the whole strip into the ground. I don't know how easy the flour is, but this is a breeze :) I did it last year and every seed came up.

Teaching Money to Kids said...

I don't think carrots do well in our soil. they just come up round and bitter.
I had no idea about starbucks. i should tell my mother in law. She is the gardener supreme, and she doesn't drink coffee

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

LOL nope I'm the last to find out as I just learned from you. :) Great tip thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I've never heard of a seed strip before! Thanks for sharing.

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