Posts filed under ‘seed starting’

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

Printable Grow Indie Seed Markers!

small_seed_markersI have always loved making cute little signs for my seedlings, and received an email asking if I could share them with the Grow Indie folks (thanks for the great  suggestion, Alex of  Mimsy!). So, here are two, free downloadable seed marker templates that work in any Word program. All you do is download the template you want, type in the seed name, and print it out on cardstock. If you want to go really crazy, you can laminate them so they’re waterproof and all…

Click here to download the small plant marker template or here to download the large version.


Enjoy and happy planting!


March 10, 2009 at 3:43 am 3 comments

DIY Mini-Greenhouse

DIY Seed Starting

Here’s another, do-it-yourself seed starting setup that self waters, creates a cozy greenhouse to start seedlings, and is super easy to make. All you need is one of those ridiculously overplasticized Eggland’s Best egg cartons (I will never understand why they use three layers of plastic for their cartons, but for starting seeds, it’s perfect).

eggland's best overplasticized carton

To make this mini greenhouse, cut the top off the egg carton and save. Then, take a safety pin, and poke a hole out of each of the 12 egg shapes (this is where the water will go up to the roots). Put the top underneath the egg carton, and fill with soil and seeds. Then, water, and use the old top (now on the bottom) as a reserve. The perfect egg carton greenhouse!

The plastic water reserve on the bottom of the carton keeps roots growing down, making for happier transplants when it’s time to head outside.

poona kheera transplant about 2 weeks from sowing

seed starting egg

March 7, 2009 at 4:14 am 2 comments

Seed Saving: Lion’s Tail

Watch out for the spikes!

Watch out for the spikes!

Lion’s Tail, (aka Leonotis Leonurus and Wild Dagga) are one of my favorite flowers, and they are really easy to grow—it’s  saving their seeds that’s the hard part. These exotic African plants are known for their fuzzy orange flowers that hide the spikey ball-shaped thorns that can really hurt if you aren’t paying attention. So, you can imagine what getting seeds from these suckers is like, but I’ve developed a no-fail system: 

Dried Lion's Tail FlowersFirst step: Dry the flowers throughly (I  put them in a paper bag for a few months)

lionstailcanThen: Get a can and put the flower upside in it. Rattle the flower head against the can and listen for seeds to come out. The seeds are tiny, so check to make sure you’d gotten some.

Here’s what the seeds looks like:



Planting: Now’s the time to start seeds. They grow pretty fast, and are super easy to propogate by cutting. Just plant in full sun, wherever you want an exotic, 15 foot plant to grow (makes a great privacy fence). Used to hot, dry climates, these guys don’t require much water and are pretty independent. They start flowering in late July/August through frost, and branch out about 2 feet each. Hummingbirds love them, and they work well as a backdrop of flower beds.

Bonus: Besides being the most exotic looking flower you’ll grow this year, Lion’s Tail offers medicinal properties as well (they don’t call it Wild Dagga for nothing). Dry the leaves and flowers to make a calming tea (I like to brew it with a sweeter tea to cut the bitter taste). Definitely good to help get through the depths of winter.

February 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm 5 comments

Seed Starting: Onions

red cippolini onions and falltime leeks

The Red Cippolini Onions I planted are starting to take off. It’s amazing how fast these grow. I just planted these less than 2 weeks ago. The secret to onions is to start from seed, not the sets that start showing up at every hardware store and Home Depot in early spring. Onion sets are really onions that were grown late last year and overwintered. Onions from seed, as long as you start them early enough, tend to do better, and become larger. Especially these guys:


candy onion

Candy Onions can get to be softball size, and produce fairly well in the North and South (because they are Day Neutral). When these starts get bigger, and are ready to plant out in about a month, you actually trim the top and bottom of each plant, so there are about 2 inches on the root and stem end. (this will give them a good start and get them to put more energy into the bulb.) Then, plant out and wait until the tops brown and fall over in late June/July to harvest. Onions are great because they can be grown anywhere, and picked early for spring onions. Seeds are so much cheaper than sets, too, and you’ll be able to grow rare italian onions like those Red Cippolini ones I can’t wait to try.

February 23, 2009 at 3:43 am Leave a comment

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