This year I decided I was going try to grow some vegetables from seed. I went to the store, looked at their selection, and bought two--spinach, which is a cool weather plant I could do right away, and Swiss chard for the warmer weather. Driving home I envisioned delicious bowls of greens freshly-picked from my patch in the back yard.
In this area, spinach seeds can be planted outside right after the first frost, which should be in mid-March. However, this year the cold weather wouldn't go away; on the first day of spring the temperature barely made it to freezing, and a little over a week later we had a foot of snow on the ground. Since Mother Nature wasn't cooperating I decided to start the seeds inside.
I started with a cardboard pulp egg carton. First I cut off the lid, then filled the cups almost to the top with potting soil, added three spinach seeds to each cup, and covered the seeds with a light layer of soil. I placed the bottom of the carton into the lid (which acted as a support) and watered the soil until the cardboard was soggy. Next, I set the carton on a baking sheet and slid the whole thing into a plastic bag to create a "greenhouse". The makeshift greenhouse went on the east-facing window seat in the kitchen.
According to the packet, I could expect the seeds to germinate in 8-10 days. However, at the end of that period I only had two straggly sprouts, but since the weather still wasn't cooperating and it was too cold to plant things outside I took the plastic bag off and waited a couple more days. The extra time allowed a few more seeds to develop, so half the cups contained seedlings.
This week the nighttime temperatures finally rose above freezing; it was time to plant outside!
This afternoon I turned a section of the garden soil over, then cut the egg carton cups apart and planted them (even the empty ones--I'm quite the optimist) directly into the ground and watered the area well. The cardboard is biodegradable and should quickly fall apart. I hope it works. The packet of seeds was $1.35, though, so if it doesn't at least I'm not out a lot of money.
Five years ago today: New Thing #85--For The Birds