Last spring, I wrote a post about our Kids Craft: Seed Starting Window Garden. From the response we received on our Instagram account, it looks like many of you were eager to try your own window gardens too. So imagine our surprise when we got tagged by one of our readers who was proudly showing off his own seedlings on Instagram! It is so exciting to know that we shared something fun and useful with our readers.
I’m happy to report that most of the seeds in our window garden successfully made it out to the yard once the ground had thawed. But, I had seedlings on the brain and never got around to letting you all know what happened. So, here it goes…
Once our seeds flourished and made their way to the top of their little plastic baggies, we had to decide what we were going to do with all of them. To be honest, I didn’t really think about that ahead of time! I most certainly wasn’t going to buy all new pots for these little guys, but they had to be potted up asap or they were going to kick it. Since Spring was still lollygagging about, the soil was way too cold for me to consider planting them directly in the ground. (We’re Zone 6 – so we are not free of frost until after Mother’s Day!)
My first course of action was to beg my husband to build me a greenhouse STAT. As I whipped out my KindleFire and started showing him my Greenhouse board on Pinterest, he looked at me like I had truly lost my marbles. Determined, I babbled on about how we would go to ReStore, snag some old windows and build it from scratch. While he sipped his (first) cup of coffee, he smiled lovingly (after 12 years, he’s used to my wildly animated morning conversations) and pointed out that we had no free time to build the said greenhouse before the seeds took over our dining room and kindly suggested that I come up with a more practical plan.
Disappointed, but never defeated, I went “Dumpster Diving” instead and inside our recyclables pail, I found all sorts of practical goodies to use. My favorite rescues were our monster-sized yogurt containers (we eat an extraordinary amount of yogurt in this house), crushed-tomato cans, berry containers, and the cutest little pea cans ever! We also have a ridiculous amount of saved toilet paper tubes and cardboard egg cartons in our craft bags (the kids can make so many crafts out of these things!), and I knew I could put those to good use too.
Although using recyclables to keep your seedlings safe may not be the prettiest way to garden, it is certainly the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly. I mean with all of the food and toilet paper that we go through in this house, I could transplant seedlings all year long! Plus, it gives the kids a real example of how recycling works — not all garbage is meant for the garbage dump!
But, I’m rambling, so to bring it all back home, once your seedlings have three leaves and have climbed near the top of the baggie, you can safely move them to a new home. Location is very important for their continued growth, so try to find them a warm, sunny place to keep growing. But not too warm — like a dummy, I placed the first batch on my heater, with no saran wrap covering, and they dried out to bits while I was sleeping. Grrr! With that said, a heater is great, but they must be covered in saran wrap to keep the soil moist or they’ll dry out overnight. I just sliced holes in the top of the saran wrap so they could continue growing up, up and away.
Potting up your seedlings and keeping them indoors will give them a safe place to start establishing the root systems they need to live outdoors. Again, using recyclables may not be the prettiest set-up in town, but I kind of like the colorfulness of it all. More importantly, I didn’t have to spend any extra money giving these seedlings a new place to call home.
USE RECYCLABLES TO POT UP SEEDLINGS
- Used, washed containers (yogurt, berries, tin cans, etc)
- Seedlings (you can start seeds in them too, but we started our seeds in plastic bags)
- Potting soil
- Windows (We used East and South-facing ones)
Step 1: Make sure all of your recyclable containers are thoroughly washed. You do not want any food refuse in your containers.
Step 2: Arrange all of your materials on a large work surface. Cover your table with a large sheet for easy clean up. Kids 8 and older can probably do this gardening craft on their own, but smaller hands will need help getting the soil and seedings safely into the containers.
Step 3: Using a sharpie, write the name of the seeds on each container. This will keep your organized as they continue to grow. Fill each container with potting soil and gently tamp down. Make a small hole in each one and plant seedlings.
Step 4: Carefully water the seedlings. You don’t want everything to be sopping wet or else it will mold. Just moisten the soil.
Step 5: Wrap the containers loosely with saran wrap. You need to create a little microclimate in there so they can continue to grow! Place near a sunny window, but not too close to a heat source or they will shrivel and die.
Step 6: Check on your seedlings every few days. Some will grow faster than others. Your kids will be able to clearly see the growth of the shoots. If you notice any rot occurring, remove those seedlings from the container(s) so they don’t infect any other seedlings.
Step 7: Once the ground has thawed and your seedlings are established little plants, you can carefully pot them up in a bigger container if they still need some TLC, or you can plant them in the ground. Remember to recycle your containers!!
Do you use recyclables to pot up plants? Let us know what your favorite recyclables are in the comments below. Or, tag us on Instagram, @weknowstuff, so we can stop by and see what you’ve been up to!