Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Garden DIY

Although I'm really excited about gardening, and I know (or hope at least) that my efforts will save me money in the future, the start up costs have not been insignificant. So far I've probably shelled out close to $200 on seeds, containers, fertilizer, and soil and besides some sprigs of herbs, I don't have any food to show for it. I'm very hopeful that the vegetables will start rolling in a few weeks from now, but it the meantime I'm trying to save money where I can. There isn't much I can do about the cost of seeds or soil, but I have made some of my own planters.

For herbs, I've been saving two liter bottles and turning them into hanging planters:

It's really pretty easy and the only tools you need are duct tape, string, a hole puncher, and a drill. I also spray painted my bottles with chalk board paint in the hopes of labeling them, but that step isn't necessary. I found the tutorial at Urban Organic Gardener

I've also repurposed some wooden wine boxes into small raised beds. These weren't free, I got them each for $5 at Total Wine, but they are still relatively inexpensive and certainly much more attractive than most of the plastic planters at Home Depot. 

These were also really easy. I just drilled some holes in the bottom then varnished them. I found the instructions at Life On The Balcony. I have four boxes total, but I've only planted one so far. I transplanted my arugula and kale seeds outside to make room for more seedlings inside. I also planted new seeds in rows next to the seedlings in the hopes that I can have a more continuous harvest.

Here's another picture of the transplanted seedlings:

In other news, I think I've found the trick to starting seeds: plastic containers. So far I have not managed to get anything to grow in the Jiffy pots I bought specifically for that purpose, but anything I've put in an old plastic tub or the bottom half of a soda bottle has done great. I planted broccoli seeds weeks ago in Jiffy pots and they didn't do a damn thing. This Saturday I put a few more in the bottom half of a 20oz plastic bottle (I cut the top off) and covered it with Saran wrap and the next day I had sprouts. I think it must have something to do with keeping the moisture in the soil.

In addition to broccoli, I also planted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes this weekend. 

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