We are planning on planting a MASSIVE vegetable garden at our farm this year, and so I had to come up with a cost effective way to start my vegetable seeds. You could just buy seed starting containers. But if you need a lot of them, the cost can start to add up. I was rinsing a bunch of strawberries the other day that I had gotten for $.99 a piece, and the thought hit me.
Strawberry containers are basically built in greenhouses. They have holes on the bottom so that your seeds and plants have drainage. The humidity dome is the top that’s already attached. So every time I brought home strawberries, I made sure to rinse and dry the containers, and save them in my planting cabinet. And man, did they come in handy when it was seed starting season. I ended up saving about 20 strawberry containers, and only had to purchase two seed start kits which helped keep our cost very low for our garden.
Watering Your Strawberry Containers
I ended up starting some of my cold hard seeds in the strawberry containers just to test them out. There isn’t any updated photos yet but I’m happy to report they did AMAZING! I actually just take the strawberry containers and place them in my sink with an inch or two of water and let them bottom water. This way I’m not disrupting the seeds. Because the strawberry containers have drainage holes in the bottom, they soak up all the water that they need. But once the leaf seeds did sprout, I did open up the tops AKA humidity domes because you don’t need those once your seeds have germinated.
Planting In Strawberry Containers
For each strawberry container, I created six pockets for my seeds. This way there was plenty of space between each plant to easily transplant them when the time is right. I also saved some quart size strawberry containers, but have just used the pint size so far. Then I snagged some of the Jiffy brand natural and organic seed starting mix to start my seeds in. I think next year I will actually try to make my own seed starting medium, but this year I just wanted to keep this as low risk as possible. Many people have told me they’ve had good luck with seed starting using this soil so I feel confident it will work for my needs too!
Labeling Seed Starts
Some of my seeds I ordered online came with these thick paper labels. So I just used these to label which seeds were what in each strawberry container. To keep it simple, each strawberry container only contains one type of seed. So 6 identical plants in each container. Because they are sharing soil, they need to have similar needs. So you either have to plant seed types that have the same needs, or all the same seed. You could also just write with a marker on the top of the strawberry container to label your seed starts. The whole point of this is to use what you have. Recycle things you may not usually have a use for, or maybe don’t think of.
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Speaking of recycling and reusing, we will also be trying to do that with most of the garden. We have already laid out our basic shape and size which is going to be 50′ x 40′. We’ll be using saplings to create wood posts. Thankfully we have saved some wire fencing over the years and will be able to use that as well. Our only cost should be the renting of a piece of equipment to help us place the posts in the ground. My father also has a rototiller we can borrow to get our ground started for plants and seeds. Although I’d love to have a fancy garden off the bat, the whole point of this is to offset grocery costs. So we also have to be economical when designing the entire thing.
I’ll be sharing lots more of our vegetable garden and plants this year. Be sure to check back and see how we’re getting along with it!
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