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Start Seeds Indoors on the Cheap

Updated on March 9, 2010
Your Miniature Greenhouse
Your Miniature Greenhouse

Why Start Plants from Seeds?

It's early March in East Cackalacky. This is the time to get to work on the garden.

If you keep one, you plant things. That's what gardens are for. There are several ways to get the plants. You can root them from cuttings, buy them from a nursery, dig them up in the woods, steal them from the neighbors. My favorite way, though, is to sprout them from seeds. There are four good reasons to do it that way: you know what you get in a seed packet from a reputable grower; the seeds cost you next to nothing compared to seedlings; you can start as many as you like; you can give them away to your neighbors so they won't steal yours.

Starting from seeds is a breeze if you have a greenhouse. If like most you do not, it still is easy as can be, with a little imagination. Just make your own miniature greenhouse indoors. This article is meant to show you one way to do that.

Seeds, Dibble, Planters, and Greenhouses
Seeds, Dibble, Planters, and Greenhouses
Mark Each Planter
Mark Each Planter
Moisten Them
Moisten Them

Make A Miniature Indoor Greenhouse

First, get some seeds. I keep a culinary herb garden, so that is what I bought. They cost me not much over a dollar for each packet. I got seven: flat parsley, sweet basil, common thyme, coriander (often called cilantro in America), chives, Italian oregano, and marjoram.

Next, get some potting soil. I used some I had dumped from a pot of geraniums last year. It still had some of the little fertilizer beads in it, so I didn't add anything.

You'll need something into which to put your dirt. I saved some plastic foam egg cartons. Mine happened to have a dozen and a half eggs, and therefore little cavities, in each, but that doesn't matter. Use whatever you have. Fill them with the potting soil, and scrape it level, so each cavity is full but not overflowing.

They need to be enclosed in a clear, or clearish, container, somewhat like a greenhouse. I had some disposable plastic casserole dishes lying around the kitchen, so that is what I used. They have clear bases and translucent covers. You could just put plastic wrap over your egg cartons, of course, but I wanted to catch any dirt that might fall out, so I used another container for each of my little planters.

Mark your planters so you'll know what is in each. If as I did you put more than one kind of seed in each carton, divide up the pockets, draw a line between each section of them, and write the name of the plant on the side of the carton where its seeds go.

Now you're ready to be a gardener and plant something. For larger seeds, poke shallow holes in the dirt of each pocket of the egg cartons. A tool that makes planting holes in the ground by hand is sometimes called a "dibble." A pencil makes a good one for seeds. I put five of the big seeds, e.g. the coriander, in each egg pocket. For the tiny seeds, such as those of oregano which are no larger than a grain of sand, just sprinkle eight or ten over the dirt in each pocket.

Moisten the planted soil. Do not hold it beneath the kitchen faucet to do that; it and your seeds will wash out. Use a sprayer instead.

Cover your planters. Place them in front of a south window where they'll get plenty of sun and warmth. Check them every day to make sure they remain moist, spraying in more water as they require.

Pretty soon, in a week or two, you'll see sprouts. Let them grow big enough to transplant, weeding out crowded extras if you need to, and when the danger of frost is past set them in your garden.

That's all there is to it. I told you it's easy as can be. You can't go wrong.


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    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I think seeds are the way to do it, SUSO, and this is the most efficient way I've thought of to sprout them.

    • SpeakUpStandOut profile image

      Criss 5 years ago from Southern California

      This is a smart idea. Last year I grew sunflowers from seeds, and it was one of the greatest experiences for me and my nephew. We watched them grow and it was exciting for him. We took his picture every week with the growing plants and it was fun to watch it grow taller than him (he was 3). He would sit on my chair arm and gaze out the window and tell me he was watching them grow. This sounds like something fun to do and also, something great to do with the kids. :)

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 5 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      That's a great point my brethren , for myself after many years of see advertisements and watching realities, it was clearly enough for me, and I was not again had any more time to waste. I had a plan coming in and moving on would be delightful or I am dead . But I saw the greatness that led me here. I never went ahead and signed for the money , like I said I had already tried them all , this though was my first writing outwardly, and it's all still going towards what I see.

      I understand what you mean.

      Bless you brethren.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Thank you for the kind comment, Sky. It's true I haven't paid as much attention to articles here as I might. Frankly, I've found Hub Pages to be less than a satisfactorily productive use of time. The social aspect of the site is growing at the expense of the writing side of it, and making money here as all writers not independently wealthy have to do is an elusive goal. I should give it more time, though. Perhaps it can improve.

      Take care, and come again.

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 5 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      And as you made me laugh,saying your favorite is robbing from the neighbors.

      As I read you beautiful answer to my question , I had to come over , but you are a man who is bust and don't write often, they are all great.

      Good to see you and thanks again . Hope you won't look at me as one who came, stole your bread and run , and here we go ! I have never seen that "Bud commercial" again. Since the Super Bowl.

      But soon is my planting season and I see you have some goodies for me.

      Blessing brethre, Thanks.

    • Triimarc profile image

      Triimarc 5 years ago from Salisbury, MD

      Artisan bread baking,,,indoor seed starting,,,we have a lot in common and could share recipes and cuttings. Take a trip to Maryland this summer and I'll introduce you to Skydiving.

      On a more sane note, your seed planting techniques are spot on. You are probably well aware of how well these herb plants do over winter with a four foot fluorescent lamp hung 6-8" above the soil or top of the largest seedling. Plugged into a cheap timer, the lamp becomes maintenance-free. Have started and grown mature basil, coriander, and oregano over the winter removes a lot of the "seasonal" out of "seasonal affective disorder". There is nothing quite like keeping something else alive and thriving to keep one out of the doldrums.

      I have a great, easy-to-build hydroponic unit the designs of which I would be glad to share with you to go from seed to plate in 6-8 weeks.

      Thanks for the Hub!

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I've done it this way for several seasons now. It works like a charm!

    • instantlyfamily profile image

      instantlyfamily 6 years ago

      These are great tips for seed starting.