Other Articles for Organic Gardening with Jeanne

Use Recycled Materials for Your Seed Starting Projects


use recycled materials for your seed starting projects
Most raw and living food vegans that I know are also deeply concerned about the natural environment and support many green causes, from clean energy to thoughtful recycling.  Did you know that you can use plenty of recycled materials for your garden projects?  By grabbing some discarded containers from neighbors and friends and using some materials you may have around the house already you can start your organic vegetable garden project for just pennies.  Now that’s a great combination – thrift, organic gardening, and recycling!

Use What You Have

The first step is to use what you have around the house for seed starting projects. Many people have old flowerpots in the garage.  Plastic pots, terra cotta pots, and even the big trays with lots of pockets that you may have saved from last year’s trip to the garden center can all be used for seed starting.

Although you probably do not eat eggs, neighbors and friend may be glad to give you their discarded egg cartons. Old egg cartons work great as seed starting trays. Place a tray underneath them or wrap the bottom of the carton in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep drips from marring the paint on your windowsills.

Making Plant Labels

Garden centers sell white plastic plant labels in bundles, but you can easily make your own.  I’ve used old Venetian blind slats. When my neighbors threw away a set of blinds, my resourceful husband brought them home for me and cut away the cords that held them together, leaving the white thin slats.  He snipped them into 4″ lengths, and I had instant plant labels. Use a waterproof magic marker and label your plants and seeds on your homemade markers.

Dresser Drawers into Cold Frames

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, or so the old saying goes.  If you notice a neighbor throwing away an old chest of drawers, grab the dresser drawers.  Place them on your garden beds and fill them with soil for instant raised garden beds. An old storm window or a sheet of clear plastic purchased at the garden center and placed over the top transforms an old dresser drawer into a mini cold frame. This expands the growing season by several weeks, and many people can move their seed trays into the cold frame in early spring to harden them off several weeks earlier.

Bargain Seeds

Organic seeds may be purchased at home and garden center stores nationwide. Now I will tell you a little secret: if you aren’t fussy about varieties or types, wait until the flats of flowering plants appear in the garden center to buy your seeds. Chances are good that the store will mark them down to around 50% by the time the warm weather annuals appear. They can’t store seeds and many just want to sell out whatever stock they have by this time of year.  As long as you don’t mind grabbing what’s left, you can save a lot of money on seeds this way.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gardening supplies to grow great organic vegetables. The secret is to think creatively about alternatives for your gardening tasks.  What can you use as a watering can? A creative flowerpot? With a little creativity, ingenuity and patience, you can grow great vegetables for pennies.

About the Author
Jeanne Grunert is a writer and marketing consultant who moved from New York City to a 17-acre organic farm in rural Virginia. She writes about gardening, health and raw foods for many publications, and her gardening book, Get Your Hands Dirty – A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening, is available from her website, http://sevenoaksconsulting.com/GetYourHandsDirty.aspx

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.

Written by:  Jeanne Grunert
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