Green Life = march break

by Jen in garden,Green life,kids

I have been itching to get into the garden. I love gardening. Getting into the garden is peaceful, great exercise, results in beautiful flowers and it also provides us with delicious food. We have a large flower garden in the front yard. The front yard is filled with native perennial flowers and grasses. Our back yard is quite tiny…as most city yards are. We have a couple of flower gardens and a small vegetable and herb garden. I try and plant vegetables that will be successful and interesting for my daughters. Last year our zuchinni plant was amazing…but a little too large for our limited space. Other favourites are swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, lettuces and peas. My herb garden is always awesome. We get just the right amount of sunlight to produce some gigantic plants.
We have always wanted to try growing plants from seeds. Not only is it economical, but it is educational. This year I decided to give it a try. I decided to start with some sure fire winners, herbs and marigolds. I always plant marigolds along the perimiter of my veggie garden. My mom told me that marigolds keep pests out of the vegetable garden…and I believe her! I headed to the store and selected; thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and marigolds. The other key component to growing seeds is selecting what you will grow your seeds in. There are a lot of different options on the market. They include small peat pellets that swell with water and various tray options. I have decided to use cardboard egg cartons and cardboard toilet paper rolls. Here’s how we did it.
What you will need

– seeds
– cardboard egg cartons
– scissors
– sharp knife
– toilet paper rolls (empty)
– potting soil (I used “container soil”)
– water

1. using the scissors, cut the lid from the base of the egg carton – set the lid aside

2. turn the egg carton over and using the knife, poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of each section of the egg carton

3. now fill each section of the egg carton with the soil
4. working with one type of a seed at a time – pour the seeds into a bowl
5. drop the seeds (according to the package directions) into each section of the egg carton
6. repeat the process with all the seeds

7. place the egg carton into the lid – the lid will now act as a tray
8. lightly water the seeds
9. place the egg cartons in a spot that is warm and has indirect sunlight
Toilet paper roll option
1. cut the toilet paper roll in half (across the middle)

2. cut 4 equally spaced, 1/2″ slits up from the bottom of the toilet roll

3. fold the 4 equally sized flaps in the same way you fold the top of a box…overlapping all the way around
4. now the tube has one closed end and one open end

5. fill the container with soil and repeat the same planting steps as above
The best thing about using these cardboard based planters is that once the seedlings are large enough to be transplanted you can actually plant the container as well. There is no need to fuss with removing the plant from the container…it will biodegrade in the new pot or in the garden.
So, now the hard part…remembering to water! I have added a weekly “water the plants” note to my calendar. Once a week should be enough…however check in on your plants to be sure. They should be damp, but not wet…you want them to grow, not rot. Also, I have placed our trays on top of a placemat, on the top shelf in my kitchen…warm and out of direct sunlight. Fingers crossed in about a week or two we should see some sprouting action!!
Hot Tip: when opening your seed packet, cut it open at the bottom of the packet – the most important information is written at the top of the packet and you will want to keep that info for future reference.

Hot Tip 2: seeds can be stored for next years crop – however in general they need to be kept dry and cool – we’ll be keeping ours stored in a ziploc bag in the garage, with our other gardening supplies.

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