Save on flowers, produce using seeds

April 5, 2010 10:02:25 AM PDT
Creating lavish gardens doesn't have to be expensive. If you start flowers or produce now -- from seeds -- you can reap all sorts of big savings and benefits.

"We save money because we don't have to buy the plants themselves, " says Penn State Extension Master Gardener Rachel Davies. "A packet of seeds is a bargain and you get lots of plants for it. "

Davies and fellow Master Gardener Susan Doblemaier say starting flowers or produce from seeds isn't all that complicated.

First, you some need containers.

"Any kind of conatiner, a yogurt container, a ricotta container, this just happens to be pudding," Doblemaier says pointing to plastic tub that once held Kozy Shack pudding. "It just has to have the holes for the drainage."

You'll also want soil that's moist -- not dry or dripping wet.

"Soil, unfortunately, you do have to buy from year to year because you want a sterile soil," Doblemaier says.

Use a pencil to make holes for the seeds and drop them in.

Then, cover the pots with saran to keep the humidity in and put them somewhere warm and bright.

Rachel says she starts her seeds on an old electric blanket on her ping-pong table, under flourescent lights.

It's a little more work than buying flats of already-started plants. But a seed packet that cost $1.15 can yield hundreds of tomatoes or dozens of square feet of flowers.

"And you also get healthier plants, because you have control over them yourself," Davies says.

For more tips on starting a produce or flower garden from seeds, click here for the Extension Service website or search "PSU Extension Montgomery County Horticulture" on Facebook for their Facebook page.