Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Tag: seeds

Starting Eden Part 1

After spending a whole week worth of studying at night and a solid day taking notes I came up with all the information needed to plant my seeds. When, where, how far apart, pH level, days to maturity, and any helpful hints other bloggers have posted about. The Hubby’s new school notebook is now filled with everything seedlings related. He was super thrilled, not, but he will reap the benefits of fruits and veggies so it was ok.

all plotted out

all plotted out

Now is the time the Littles have been looking forward to, playing with dirt and tweezers in the house. Just a heads up we do not have a special light, trays or pots. We salvaged tuna cans, egg shells, orange peels, and egg cartons.  Pretty much anything we thought could hold a seed as it grew. The only thing we bought was seed starter.

2015.2.18 4 seed starting

top to bottom: just egg carton, half an egg shell, crushed egg shell

2015.2.18 2 seed starting

tuna cans and oranges

Here we are packing dirt, using tweezers for the tiny seeds and planting. The seeds chosen for inside were lettuce, tomato, red pepper, bell pepper, cucumber, and spinach. This has been their favorite part so far, getting dirty inside.

2015.2.18 6 seed starting

this is a plastic table cloth not a fancy lace one

It took a couple of weeks! Ok, maybe a week or so for the seedlings to sprout. I am so excited that the seeds grew but I am more afraid of keeping them alive. Everyday I have been moving them twice a day (for sun exposure)…EVERYDAY! Did I already say everyday? Well it was everyday. Moving them around was getting old and next year I will come up with a better way to do this. Time will tell what happens to the seedlings and by the way, the bell peppers have not sprouted at all!

all bagged up ready to grow

all bagged up ready to grow

How have you started seeds inside? How did you get them enough light?

Tune in to see if I can handle keeping seedlings alive indoors.


Planting Eden (Part 1)

As you know my seed starting abilities are just awful, so I’m hoping this planting straight in the ground will help m out. I know that my tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber and lettuce should not go directly into the ground but whats it going to hurt if i try? Along with all those seeds we are adding corn, strawberries, pumpkins, and watermelon today. I am super excited for the last two!!! Not too sure about my spacing, because all of my research has shown needing A WHOLE LOT of space but for testing out my soil I have decided to go with about 3 feet between the watermelon and pumpkins.

2015.3.30 46 gardening

lines of twine where we planted

While my Littles were helping me, we decided to five them their own garden. So we quickly ripped out the weeds and grass, dumped two wheel barrels full of “compost” (the previous renters never cleaned up under the big tree out front and now there’s a big pile of dirt, more on that later), sprinkled a little fertilizer and they got to plant one of everything minus the strawberries.


Unfortunately they have no fence so this makes me worried about the ground squirrels and bunnies since they have the biggest population here.

In about a week or two we will have some seedlings to report on…stay tuned 🙂

How was planting your seeds straight into the ground? What did you plant?

Garden Beginnings

My time has finally come!!!!!!

We are officially on our little patch of land and we are going to have a garden. In the past I’ve tried plants on my patio and killed all of them after a while. Half died from lack of water and the other half died from not enough sun. If we look even further into my past there was a year where my mother only got plants for gifts. There was a strawberry plant for her birthday and a honeydew melon plant for Mother’s day. Up until now these are the only crops I’ve harvested, a handful of small strawberries and a golf ball sized honeydew.

Fast forward to now and my train of thought is as follows “What plants do I want…for the first year lets just do a couple to get the hang of it…. tomatoes, cucumber, and pumpkins. We eat all of these (minus the pumpkins but they are for Halloween) and they are supposed to be easy…. Now I wont be overwhelmed or have to become an expert on a hundred different plants”

So I gathered up my Littles and off to Wal-Mart we go, I know this isn’t the best place for seeds but hey, its my first year and we aren’t spending a fortune on organic seeds. This was an AWFUL idea! $30 later I have every seed under the sun that I want to eat and have convinced myself it will still be totally manageable.

2015.2.18 18 starting the garden

the borders are drawn

Now the hard work begins. Everything so far has been picking a packet off a shelf. We plotted off the size of the garden and started turning the soil. About five hours later (over the course of a couple of days due to the Littles losing interest) I decided the original plot was TOO big and we had to settle for less. Measured out it came to be a crooked rectangle 9 feet wide and 25 feet high.

Yes, I know this is a super tiny plot for my original three types of plants, but now there are so many more plants to add in. Strawberries, corn, blue corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkins, watermelon, spinach, more tomatoes, peas, beans, and sunflowers. See it’s not that much (haha ya right).

One of the Littles digging out the borders

One of the Littles digging out the borders

Once the soil was turned we added barrel full after barrel full of compost found around the homestead. Then it hit me…..there are bunnies and squirrels and gophers…. I need a fence!!! Now there was twice as much dirt to dig out so the fence could be buried.

the neighbors dog trying to flatten the turned soil

the neighbors dog trying to flatten the turned soil

Thankfully the fencing was gifted by a neighbor because after researching I discovered wiring everywhere was trying to rob people. If I had not been gifted the fencing I would have taken the route of buying cheap fencing and using scrap wood to make and old-fashioned wood fence lined with wire. Something is better than nothing right?

So here is the freshly dug crooked garden with no gate (kinda forgot to plan that in) and absolutely no idea where to start planting.

2015.3.30 46 gardening

the lines are where our seeds will go

Do you like my beautiful dirt garden? How did you start your first garden? I love hearing everyone else’s experiences.

Ways to Start Seedlings

2015.2.18 5 seed startingStarting seeds inside is not as easy as everyone makes it sound. Unless you have a designated spot and tray and lamp and an easy method for watering. Most beginners do not have any of these…just like me!

So after pinterest-ing and pinterest-ing I finally came up with a few homemade ideas for starting our seeds. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for going and getting the pre-made seed starters, especially if you have the money and do not want to store the materials for months leading up to it. We were not in a position to go out and buy those items and a sun light for growth.

2015.2.18 4 seed starting

So we went with orange peels, tuna cans, egg shells, crushed egg shells and an egg carton. This is where we started the experiment and started taking notes so we would know what to NOT do next year. My theory was that “If I used different containers, then the oranges will do the best.” My rational for this was because oranges are biodegradable and would become food for the plants…or so I thought.
2015.2.18 2 seed starting

The experiment went as follows, all of the factors were the same, the only thing different was the containers. I watered them all from the top and kept them all together. Eventually the tomatoes came up, a few lettuce, none of the bell peppers (bad batch of seeds), a spinach, and no peas (next time I will soak them first).  We also used a heating pad under them during the night because our house has awful windows and it’s practically like we are sleeping outside. The make shift green house was made out of tape and Ziploc for the two on the left, and Saran wrap for the box on the right.

all bagged up ready to grow

all bagged up ready to grow

Conclusion, the orange peels grew moldy and rotten within days (this became a well duh moment for me after I realized I watered them and then wrapped them up with heat), the tuna cans should have had a hole in the bottom for water to drain, there was no real difference between crushed egg shells and just the carton. For the half an egg-shell I felt there should have also been a hole in it to drain water and after a couple of days of growth it seemed way to small.

Next year I will not try any of these methods again. I will attempt the toilet paper rolls and newspaper cups. Hey, I have the rest of my life to figure out which method works best for me.  Also another note about the egg carton…it turned to mush every time I watered and it would steal all the water from the soil. I’m assuming the same will happen with the toilet paper rolls and newspaper so I will be using thick rolls and doubling up on newspaper.

What has been your favorite way to start seeds indoors?