Posts filed under ‘seeds’

Make it: Free Downloadable Plant Markers

Here’s a new batch of grow indie seed markers, just in time for transplanting!

These are super easy to use—-just download the Word doc template, pick a cool font, add your plant name, print and cut out.  To make the plant “sign” itself, just cut out a few pieces of plastic (like from those salad containers) and tape the plant marker on. You can even laminate them to make them waterproof and last a few seasons.

These nifty plant markers come in two sizes, long or square, so pick what’cha like:

Click here to download the new growindie small plant markers.

And, here’s a link to download the larger version.

They also work really well if you are starting a bunch of plants in one pot, like this group of Peaceful Valley Basil that I started in those compostable salad containers.

I also sometimes like to put little markers in pots around the house, like this catnip (which already doesn’t stand much of a chance with our kitty kats.) And, of course, they add a nice touch of flair if you’re giving a plant away as a gift (which I’m notorious for since I always start too many plants)


May 11, 2010 at 3:15 am 2 comments

Create your Own Seedling Pots with Newspaper

After your seeds have started, these easy-to-make newspaper pots are perfect for transplanting your new seedlings.

Forget pricey plastic sets and excess pots—-all you need is some extra newspaper and a small cup or mason jar and you are on your way.

Since the newspaper will decompose naturally, you can then plant these right into the garden.

Here’s how to make your own newspaper pots in 6 easy steps:

Step 1.

Cut sheets of black and white newspaper in half or thirds, depending on the size of pot you want to make. Make sure not to use pages with color, since this will be going directly into your garden. (Color newspapers may contain heavy metals that are unsafe).

Step 2.

Align your mason jar or cup with the newspaper so that a few inches of paper are above the opening of the cup. Roll the newspaper so it circles the cup.

Step 3.

Push the sides of the paper that are above the cup opening inside, so they are wrapped around the lip of the cup.

Step 4.

Remove the cup gently, while still keeping the pot’s shape.

Step 5.

Use the bottom of the cup to reinforce the pot’s bottom by inserting it inside the newspaper pot. Tamp down the inverted ends, so it seals the bottom.

Here’s what it should look like after it’s done:

Step 6.

Add soil  and transplant or start your seedlings.

When they reach the size for transplanting outside, they can be placed directly into your garden. This will also alleviate root disruption for healthy, happy seedlings!

March 14, 2010 at 1:48 am 3 comments

DIY Seed Starting for Any Space

By Kaitlyn N. Watkins

If spending a hefty sum on transplants at the local nursery in the spring fills you with dread, why not try starting seeds at home? You don’t need a huge amount of space, just a nice windowsill, some recycling, and a few CFL lamps to get started.

cauliflower start in a reused soda bottle

Many plants can be started indoors several weeks before the first frost date, and you can use materials you have lying around your house or apartment.

Make a Windowsill Greenhouse

Cut an empty clear plastic soda bottle in half, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and fill with moist seed-starting mix. Plant your seeds by just pressing into the soil (you will probably need to add soil after they sprout to avoid “leggy”-ness).

Reattach the top half of the bottle to the bottom with tape, label, and set in a south-facing windowsill. The greenhouse will soak up warmth and light from the sun and collect condensation to water the seedlings. It’s a good idea to wrap the bottom of your bottle in tin foil to act as insulation to warm the soil and protect the roots from direct sunlight.

If you’re planting several seeds, reuse an old flat—the kind used by garden centers to sell plants. Follow the steps above and cover with plastic wrap. Also try setting your flats and bottles on a metal baking sheet, which will conduct warmth from the sun and replace the need for a costly heating mat.

Easy CFL Growlight Setup

Most seedlings need 14-16 hours of light to get a good start before being transplanted outdoors.  Instead of purchasing pricy grow light setups, try using a table lamp and a CFL light bulb, which provides a similar type of light spectrum. In the evening, place your bottles and flats under the lamp, or use two lamps and set plants between them. To focus light from the lamps, line the lampshade with foil. You’ll find that your seedlings sprout very quickly this way.

March 8, 2010 at 4:53 am 1 comment

Make Your Own Dried Hot Peppers

dried pepper

It’s pepper time, and last weekend, I stepped outside to find this huge box of mixed hot peppers on my side porch. They were beautiful:


My friend Karen, of Skylark Studios, had one of those utopic growing seasons—bunches of red beets, hundreds of carrots, loads of tomatoes, and bushels of hot peppers. So many she didn’t know what to do with them all. 

I was short on time (It’s been a bit crazy around here, with the Dine Indie Chef Tour kicking off last week), so I decided to dry a bunch, since this is one of the easiest ways to preserve hot peppers to store all year. Plus dried peppers are versatile, and can be used in tomato sauces, reconstituted to make mexican mole type sauces, muddled  in a mortar and pestle to make your own crushed pepper flakes, or added to a soup or curry for a little kick. All you need is a dehydrator and a bunch of hot peppers. Here’s how to do it:

Wash the peppers and wear gloves, just in case (These peppers are hot people!) Leave stems on and do not cut them or your kitchen will be filled with hot pepper smoke (not fun, trust me). 

washing the habeneros

Next, place them in a dehydrator. I have a retro convection oven/dehydrator I picked up at a yard sale in Provincetown, but the typical tray ones work great. Set it at 125 degrees and dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours. Sometimes longer depending on the size of your peppers. 

spaceship-dehydratorCheck to see if they are done. If they are crunchy, and break when you bend them, they are dehydrated.  The peppers should be totally stiff, and will have darkened, like this.

final product

Then, you just have to store them. I like to put mine in mason jars. If kept airtight like this, they’ll last up to a year. They also make great presents (you can even make your own labels and put them in fun jars.) 

dried peppers


October 4, 2009 at 7:09 pm 2 comments

Heirloom Varieties

Striped Chiogga Beet

Striped Chiogga Beet

It wasn’t until just yesterday that I realized I had a theme going on in my garden. A friend had stopped by to chat, and as I was showing her what was going on, I realized that I was growing alot of vegetables with stripes—Chiogga Beets, Dragon Tongue beans, Calliope Eggplant, and even Dragon Carrots. So actually, it’s more like a purple stripe theme going on.

Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans: These were so easy to grow, I just direct seeded in May, and they quickly bunched up with pretty violet flowers, followed by large yellow bean pods with wavy purple stripes. I love serving these raw, because when you cook them, they lose their stripes. They are also great stirfried with cumin, garlic and olive oil.

Chiogga Beets and Dragon Carrots

Chiogga Beets and Dragon Carrots

This is what I love about growing your own food from seed—-you have access to a world of different types of heirloom vegetables that you just can’t find in a store. These Chiogga Beets and Dragon Carrots are both just as easy to grow as typical beets/carrots, and they have such a story to tell. The Chioggas, dating back to pre-1940 Italy,  have peppermint-type rings inside, (which also means they won’t make everything pink when you cook them). Dragon Carrots, with their bright purple outside, and yellow/orange rings inside, have amazing flavor and look fantastic on salads.

And to complete the purple theme,  the  especially obvious Calliope Eggplant:

The Striped Calliope Eggplant

The Striped Calliope Eggplant

I had a friend share 12 eggplant plants with me last month, and this was the first to all-of-a-sudden show up with a bunch of tiny purple striped eggplants. So, yes, this one was accidental, but quickly caught on. The Calliope Eggplant is also good for containers, producing tons of purple striped fruit. I’ll let you know how it tastes when we pick them later this week.

July 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

Pretty Tasty: Nasturtiums

I have a problem, I admit it: I like to only grow things I can eat.

I love flowers, don’t get me wrong, but I tend to ask alot of the things I grow. The word ornamental just seems like a waste—put something useful in that spot!


So, edible flowers are the perfect mix, and will be all the rage at your next party. Everything looks better with a simple flower flourish, especially one you can eat. My favorite, Nasturtiums, do double duty, because they also are good for deterring pests and helping plants be more resistant to disease. Some say they are like a flower superfood, with natural antibiotic qualities and a plethora of other health benefits.

Nasturtiums come in several varieties, and can be compact or vining. They are really easy to grow from seed, and can handle a bit of neglect. I usually just drop a packet here and there throughout the garden, in between melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, around peppers, near the kale, and everyone’s happy. It makes a great living mulch too, blocking out those weeds.

nasturtium ensaladaAs for eating, every part of the Nasturtium plant is edible, but the flowers are the part I use. They have a slight peppery taste, and look fantastic in salads, on top of hummus, or on the side of a plate to add a little gourmet to your dinner party. And, it’s one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed (yet another impressive thing you can add to your list this summer). So, give it a go!

May 25, 2009 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

How to Get a Free Garden this Year: Tweet about Grow Indie and Win Free Organic Seeds!

A few months back, the folks at High Mowing Seeds, an awesome Vermont-based organic seed company, did a promo with, our sister site, and the seed fairy visited us! So, I’m sharing the wealth. Aren’t they nice? HighMowingWe have about 60 packs of primo seeds—-all organic, open pollinated, and non-gmo—to give away for helping spread the word about Grow Indie on our new Twitter account.

To win a 10-pack of seeds from High Mowing, here’s all you have to do.

1) Follow @growindie on twitter.
2) Simply tweet: Just entered to win a free organic garden! Follow @growindie and retweet to win 10 packs of organic seeds:

I’ll be giving away 10 packs of seeds to three readers at the end of May, and more in June. I have all kinds of seeds, including Nasturtiums, Peacevine Tomatoes, Kestrel Beets, Red Russian Kale, Dill, Basil, Scarlet Nantes Carrots, and Mesclun Lettuce Mix—yum!

So good luck, and thanks for helping get the word out about Grow Indie!

May 13, 2009 at 3:10 am Leave a comment

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