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Frugal ways to start seeds

By Jeff Fruhwirth ·
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

It is almost time for one of my favorite activities: gardening. I'm getting ready for gardening season by starting some seeds.

Some see starting seeds as a waste of time and an expensive hobby, but it can be much cheaper than buying plants from a store halfway through the season. And it is more gratifying.

You don't need some fancy kits with a bunch of plastic cups, grow lights and adjustable shelves to be successful at starting seeds. You can do it all with things around the house you normally throw away.

Egg-carton gardening

You can start seeds in just about anything. One of my favorite things to use is old cardboard egg cartons. Simply tear off the top of the container and use that for a base. Stick a toothpick in each of the individual egg slots to keep your seed carrier above the base, and fill with soil and a seed.

Leave it in a warm area with ample sun until you are ready to plant. You can plant the egg container directly into the ground, as cardboard will biodegrade.

If you don't have any egg cartons, almost any organic matter will do for a tray. Avocado shells also work well.

Other frugal tips

Here are a few other frugal seed tips.

  • Usually, there's no way around buying potting soil this late in the game. But for next year, think about starting a compost heap. That will help you out with starter soil.
  • Use a window sill instead of a grow light. While grow lights are handy, they can get expensive if you want to make sure you are providing enough light.
  • Turn your seed starter kit into a little greenhouse. Find a clear plastic lid for the seeds that you have started and place them in the sun. The sunlight will keep the grow area nice and warm.
  • Share seeds with neighbors. Typically, seed packets come filled with seeds. Consider going in with some neighbors or friends to save on the cost.

Have you started thinking about your garden yet? If so, what helpful tips do you have to save money while starting your seeds?

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