It’s Alive! Seed Starts!

You know, we bloggers focus on the things we’re good at.  Which for me, is short, no-commitment projects.  But I am often so inspired by what others are doing (and my word for 2012 is “try”, after all!) that I’m encouraged to step outside my comfort zone on occasion… and I’m WAY outside on this little undertaking!

Whatever the opposite of a green thumb is, that’s what I have.  A brown thumb, maybe?  As much as I savor fresh veggies and appreciate beautiful flowers, I am not a gardener.  I could make the excuse that I live in a condo, and there’s not a lot you can do when you don’t own your yard, but there are always pots!

So I am taking the plunge into potted herbs this year, for the first time ever!  And let me take a moment to admit that I didn’t blog about this last week when I got started, because frankly… I wasn’t convinced it would work.  I mean, this is me we’re talking about.  But I just discovered some tiny shoots, and I am SO EXCITED to see them!!  It’s green success!! :D

These are my basil babies.  (And you know I can’t wait for them to grow up so I can corrupt them with this recipe, mwahahaha!)

Anyway, I found some seed-starting tutorials, including this cool post on recycling toilet paper rolls and starting your seeds in them.  So I picked out some basil, peppermint, and rosemary, and some seed-starting potting soil, and I got to work making my seed-starters.  I cut my tubes in half and just folded up the bottoms.

Then, my husband kept insisting we also needed oregano, so we made one more trip out for oregano seeds, but then I also decided I wanted to try some spearmint, and he got so excited about the idea of jalapenos that we are apparently doing those now, too (you’ll see one of those to the left in the above photo). :)  Since I didn’t have enough toilet paper rolls left for all these extras, I bit the bullet and bought some actual cardboard pots… which I discovered were only 99 cents a dozen.  So I really needn’t have saved up my trash and spent the time on the toilet paper ones from a cost standpoint, but hey – I upcycled and did something green, and plus – a DIY-mama has to feel like she has done-it-herself, after all!

Anyway, after reading up and asking around, I came to the conclusion that I needed to start my seeds now in Michigan – by mid-March.  If I lived farther south, I should have done it already. :)  A delay in starting them isn’t bad, but maturity on the variety I have chosen is 70-80 days – the end of May.  I just figure, if I am going to do the work, I might as well enjoy them for the longest season possible.  (But if you are reading this and thinking you’d like to start seeds too, it’s not too late, go for it!)  Anyway, I assembled my jumble of starters, filled them up about 2/3 of the way with seed-starting potting soil, sprinkled 3-4 seeds into each one (apparently you really only need 1-2 seeds per pot, whoops) and then added about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of soil on top.  To remember which plants were which, I just wrote it on the outside of the containers.

I didn’t have a fancy greenhouse kit (which they do sell, if this is too DIY for you, or you don’t have the same apparent collection of trash to put to purpose), so I chopped the top off of a box and lined it with plastic bags to make my own tray, because that’s what I had without making another trip and spending any more money.  Then, I watered them.  They need to be well-watered – enough to fully saturate even the cardboard.  That’s why the necessity of the plastic liner – my cardboard tray sure wasn’t going to last long with wet starters in it. :)

Then I covered it up with clear plastic wrap.  I just taped it on.  If you have a clear plastic dome or cover, go ahead and use that.  Now, just put your starters by a sunny window, and wait.  As long as your cardboard stays wet, you shouldn’t need to do any additional watering.

Each type of seed packet should explain how long they need to germinate.  I knew I would be waiting for 7-14 days for these all to start popping up – but when I checked on day 6, I saw green!  (That’s right, my plant babies are over-achievers.) ;) This picture is day 6, at lunchtime.  They are not quite to the tops of their containers.

By the same evening, they were already over the tops!  Apparently nature is serious business.

I’m trying to remain casual about this, because there’s a long way to go before these little guys can survive the transplant to the planter outside.  I’m also still waiting on the rosemary and the mint to emerge.  But I’m so encouraged that I just had to share!  What about you – what are you growing this year?

I link up to these great parties!
~ Adrianne


  1. Danni Baird says

    Good luck with your herbs! I love the idea of the tp roll pots. So clever. I'm getting ready to plant hundreds of pumpkins, gourds and a couple of fields of corn for our fall pumpkin patch. I'm going to try growing a GIANT pumpkin this year too. Here's hoping for green thumbs!

  2. suzyhomemaker says

    That is so exciting. I NEED to start my garden soon. Time just gets away from me. But I definitely want to do one this year since I skipped last year. Seeing other people grow inspires me.

  3. Cameron Meerdink says

    So glad they are growing!! I love having fresh herbs all summer . . . but I never quite manage to get them started this early!

  4. Jana says

    So excited for you! I love growing things from seed too~it such a great feeling watching those little babies grow.

  5. Kadie says

    Good for you!! I LOVE watching things grow from a seed. It is amazing to put some seeds in the dirt and a few days later you have a plant. I am hoping to get my Basil planted in the garden in the next few days. Corn and zucchini are next.

  6. Terry says

    Woohoo. That is fabulous. I love how much those little buggers grew in a single half-day. I always put in too many seeds – there is something I mistrust about the process like if I don't increase my chances, I won't get any results. Ah well. :) So happy for you and your budding family.

  7. Heather says

    As an avid gardener, each year I try and grow seeds – terrible success as I think I have a brown thumb in that department. I'm loving the toilet paper roll pots – will have to try that with some tomatoe seeds I want to plant up. I do have some butternut squash seedlings going – they just have to wait for warmer temperatures to be planted outside.

    Good luck with your seeds – have fun!!

  8. Jenny says

    Using toilet paper rolls??? That's genius!!! I have been saving ours for projects so we have a bunch. Totally going to use them! Thanks Adrianne! And thanks for linking up. :)

  9. Chandra says

    I'm taking the plunge too and hope to have edible things growing around my place too:D Love this idea!


  10. claudia b says

    Aw this is so awesome! I am growing my whole veg garden from seed this year, I have tomatoes, broccoli, onions, carrots, and peas planted. Once it's warmer I'll sow the corn, squash and beans – best of luck!!!

  11. Its So Very Cheri says

    HOW fun–I need to do this with my kiddos again.

    Cheri from Its So Very Cheri

  12. Tasha says

    Good for you!! And I hope it all goes well. We love gardening! And have been gardening as a hobby for 6 or more years. It is finally becoming a way of life for us. My boys LOVE planting season-spring and fall.
    Make sure you post more about your new venture with herbs.

  13. Jen says

    Such a great way to use all the things we just throw away! Seeds and plants in general are so rewarding when they cooperate. We started our seeds too. Some inside and some out. We have baby peas and beets outside. The inside of the house is starting to resemble a greenhouse. It is fun though. Just a warning to think about where you are going to put the mints if you put them in the ground. They will spread like crazy!!!!



  15. Jenny says

    This is such a great idea, I never would have thought of that! I would love if you would add this to the Lovely Things Thursday linky party!

  16. Jill says

    Love this idea!!! I need to start something like this!! Thanks so much for sharing this as well at Thursday's Temptation.

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