Simplicity is essential to a stress free life.

Your garden should not be any different.

We have tried many ways of organic seed starting and have had some successes, and many failures.

We wanted to share our favorite methods of starting seeds.

They are based on two simple requirements;

  • They are easy
  • They are cheap

Yeah, that’s about all we need.

Plastic Jugs

Milk jugs are great at organic seed starting because of the large size, as well as the fact that most of us have a plastic gallon jug or two available around the house. In fact, usually we are trying to solve having too many.

Plastic jugs are also beneficial because they give the seedlings lots of room for their roots. This is important, because issues with initial root development could hinder your plants later on.

We have started a variety of plants this way, and have always had success starting seeds.

Plastic jugs are not a viable idea for a very long time, so make sure once your plant baby begins to grow you have another pot for it to go into.

Coffee Cans

Any other coffeeholics out there?

Well, You don’t have to feel guilty anymore! You can save them to start your garden!

We have actually done this quite a bit. We started our cucumbers in coffee cans last year, and several other plants.

These work fairly well, we’ve expiremented a bit and found that plants can survive in them for quite a while. Of course, this depends on the type of plant.

Plants that require deep and complex root systems may not last long before needing moved.

So, keep a close eye and make sure you get it moved out before they start to starve!

Note: As coffee canisters are just closed metal containers, you must ensure that you’re getting proper drainage. I would recommend putting large stones at them bottom, or putting small holes in the bottom and placing something underneath it to prevent a mess.

Grow Pods

These aren’t technically homemade, but they are a very efficient means to grow food.

We have used these for a quite a few of our plants. Most of the trays we find hold 50- 70 plants, and they’re typically about $5.

So they are very economical. We usually buy two of them, giving us around 150 seedlings to start. We do this because even us with green thumbs can accidentally lose plants.

Our room has three large windows, and directly in front of it we have a massive shelf for our plants. It provides plenty of light, but also can make it extremely hot in the room. We found this out the hard way…

I came home and our room was too hot for our plants. I acted quickly, so it was minimized.

This is plant specific, so make sure you know what zones/temperatures that your plant will thrive in. If your room gets up to 85 degrees (F), it may be great for Aloe Vera, but it could be hell for Kale or Broccoli.

Grow Trays

These are similiar to the grow pods, but can be used in different ways.

The trays that we have used are only 1” – 2” deep. That means plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or kale will not survive. However, they can be started and moved from these trays.

Another use for these shallow trays is microgreens!

What are microgreens?

They are basically plant sprouts that can be harvest frequently. These typically include kale, broccoli, and a variety of other leafy greens.

The plants are started in the tray, and after a week they have reached “microgreen maturity.” Typically, these are only 2 – 4 inches tall.

The benefit of these baby sprouts is the nutrition! Studies have shown the microgreens are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Some suggest that sprouts have up to 40x more nutrients, making them extremely nutrient dense.

Using Mycelium For Seed Starting

We have an entire article dedicated to the fascinating world of fungi.

I would highly recommend doing more research on fungi, as it is not only beneficial for gardening but an all around interesting topic.

Mycelial fungi form bonds with the plants in your garden. This relationship is beneficial for both the plant and the fungi.

The fungi absorb Carbon and Simple Sugars from the plant, as fungi is unable to photosynthesize.

The plants receive more nutrients because the fungi creates a complex network of small root like structures called “hyphae.”

These hyphae are able to reach into smaller nooks and crannies in the soil, meaning the fungi helps the plant get to more nutrients.

This is beneficial for two main reasons:

The fungi helps the soil hold more water, meaning that your plant has more available water.

The fungi also helps with the opposite. Fungi has been shown to provide great benefit to plants during drought conditions. As it helps absorb more water in the soil, it is able to provide that water to you plants!

This won’t save your plants in any situation, but mycelial fungi will make your plants much more resistant to extreme conditions.

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