Friday, April 22, 2011

Frugal Friday~

“I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.”
--John D. Rockefeller

Gardening is the one area that helps us out the most with our grocery expenses. We have a minimum of 3 gardens going every summer, and we can or freeze most of what we raise. 
 Even with gardening, we can find ways to cut costs and make it more affordable.  Starting most of our plants from seeds in trays is a good way to keep expenses down. 
I took an old plastic shelf from the toy room, drilled holes in the ends of it to hang the shop lites, purchased 3 shop lites to hang on it, and this was the result- (bottom shelf was cut off on the picture)

I reuse the trays and plastic cells, order seed from Fedco Seeds with a group of friends at a volume discount, and purchase 25# bags of potting mix from a landscaping company. 

To buy a tray of already grown seedlings of tomatoes would cost approx $18.00 from a store.  To start and grow your own, I've penciled out the cost to be less than $4.00 a tray.

I start out all of our tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, cabbages, tomatillos, broccoli, and brussel sprouts under the grow lights, and sometimes start lettuce for early transplanting.

Once the seedlings are growing, there isn't a lot of maintenance, except to keep them watered and occasionally douse them with fishmeal as a natural fertilizer.

[Note: to get the pepper seeds to germinate, they need to be warmed.  I sometimes put the tray in front of our wood burning stove or even on a cookie sheet in the oven on about 150 deg.  If you have an appliance that gets warm on the top, that works really well too.]

Hopefully, someday I'll get that greenhouse built that I've always wanted, but until then, this makeshift shelf will have to do. 
 Happy Gardening!

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