Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thinking About Spring Planting - Ways to SAVE

 We are all looking at magazines for ideas on gardens - reading the seed catalogs - and thinking about growing!  It is still pretty early here to plant anything (starting seeds).  But the time will be here before we know it.  

Here are a few ideas for starting seeds and helping your plants get to growing that cost you NO money!  That is always good.

Save your toilet paper cardboard rolls - they make great starting pots for seeds.  They bio-degradable, so can be planted directly in the garden without disturbing the plants roots.
My brother does this every year.  He starts all of his plants himself and he keep TP rolls all throughout the year.  
You can use them as is - you can cut in half - or you can fold under part to make a bottom to the pot.
Not only are you recycling, but you don't have to spend money buying grow pots and they breakdown in the ground once planted.  Earth to earth.

Make grow pots out of newspaper.  Very easy to do.  You can make rolls of paper and form a bottom if you choose.  You can wrap around a can or jar (a template) and tape together to make any size pot.  Again, these are recycling, saving money and they too are bio-degradable.  Win - win.

I just love the idea of using what you have and not spending money.  Recycling at it's best.

Save popsicle sticks to use as plant markers.  Another great recycle.  Sticks from the yard can be used as well - find some nice sticks - remove bark and write name in permanent marker or paint.
You can also save and use those cardboard egg cartons to start seeds in.  I like them for starting lettuce and leafy crops in - they don't have to have a huge root system to plant - yet they have been given a nice start.  Simply cut the sections apart.

Think about using your old food tins as well.  Clean them out well and poke holes in the bottom and around the side for drainage.  They make good starter pots as well - although you do have to remove the plants from them to plant.
The pull top lids from food tins or pet food can be cleaned and kept to use as plant markers in the garden.  I do this each year with my tomatoes.  I put tomato cages around my plants and then hang a lid with the type of tomato painted on it.

These work perfectly and even have their own hanger connected!  I use a piece of twine or wire tie to attach to the tomato cage.

If you are allowed to collect water - try to find a way to produce some type of rain barrel or water storage.  Natural rain water is so much better for your plants and it is FREE.  I have one purchased rain barrel and one home made.  The homemade one is a 55 gallon cleaned plastic/rubber barrel.  I made a hose to connect the two - so overflow from one goes to the other.  
If nothing else - place totes or buckets at your downspouts to catch water - you can always dump the water into a larger container.  Plants just grow so much healthier with rain water.  **It is also handy to have in a pinch for flushing or hand washing if your water goes out.**  I use the rain water for my birdbaths and pet waterers as well in the summer.

Compost if you can.  That is wonderful for plants and gardens.
Tea  bags, coffee grounds and egg shells are very beneficial for plants.  Keep an old coffee tin under the sink for these scraps to use on your garden (or in your garage).

Make your own fertilizer out of natural products.  This one is a homemade Miracle Grow recipe.  So much better than store bought - no unnecessary chemicals
Click on recipe to enlarge and read better.

So there you have a few ideas of things you can start getting together now to help you prepare for gardening.  If you don't have the objects, I bet you know someone who will save them for you.  It gives us a bit of something to do and gets us in the spring mindset.  


  1. Great ideas for using TP rolls and newspaper pots for planting seeds. Bathroom-size paper cups also work and that size is not wax-coated, so they're biodegradable, as well. I like the cardboard egg cartons for starting plants, but the styrofoam ones work, too (and hold water better), but the plants must be removed before planting. And, thank you for the reminder to check my seed supply, so I'm ready to go when the time comes. I've not had much luck in the past starting vegetable and herb plants from seed, but it's always worth another try. You can also cut the plastic sheeting that comes on the bottom of some bacon packs into plant identifying stakes, or use strips of styrofoam taped to a pencil or other metal rod for staking plant markers.

    1. I like to start some things - but others like tomatoes I buy pre-started. Grew them once and it sure is a lot of work!
      Great ideas on that heavy plastic and strips of Styrofoam.
      It won't be long!!!!!

  2. I love those spike markers. What a cute idea! Also think I am going to ask hubs about a rain barrel.

    1. They are really nice to have. The water is so much better for plants

  3. I love that hanger idea Cheryl...we eat Vienna sausages all the time so I'll be saving them from now on!

    1. They make for great markers - and probably other craft ideas too.

  4. Clever idea to use sticks from the yard for markers. I saved old mini blind slats and cut them into 6-8 inch lengths. Used a sharpie to mark the plant name and can throw them away when they are unreadable. TP rolls are perfect for starting plants, as is using newspaper. Rain barrels are the best! Rainwater is ever so much better than the tap. The Urban Farmer has a garage garden (I may have told you this before) and has a large tomato plant which can go into the ground in the warmer weather. He is a big believer in compost so he will have plenty for spring planting. We use nothing but non-chemical products in our vegetable and fruit gardens. No Roundup, no Sevin, no commercially made fertilizers, no toxic chemical compounds. The Urban Farmer puts the chicken droppings in the compost and we also have bags of chicken manure that he uses when planting. Stinks but it works! Gonna be a cold one today and tonight...stay warm!

    1. Great idea on recycling the blind slats!
      Mine is all natural too. If I need to kill weeds, I use vinegar and Epsom salt or scalding water. I have the Jerry Baker book on natural fix-its for about everything!
      Natural is the best for sure!

  5. Such great ideas, Cheryl. The art teacher at school has a can opener that doesn't make sharp edges, so she saves all her lids for her students to use in art class.

    1. Thanks. That is a great idea. I am sure there are many, many creative uses.

  6. I have heard of/seen the newspapers being used to start plants but never thought about toilet paper rolls. that is a brilliant idea