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Here are 5 easy ways to start seeds for your garden that will help you save money and have fun gardening. Our readers weigh in with their tips!

5 Ways To Start Seeds For Your Garden

5 Ways To Start Seeds For Your Garden

Here are some of our readers tips on starting seeds…

Egg Carton Starters

I save money at the beginning of the year by seeding a lot of my plants and veggies in clean egg cartons, which I save during the winter season. I also place a pin through each egg placement for drainage when watering. When ready to transplant, you just pop them out of the carton with a spoon and place in the ground. Works terrific!

I also save coffee cans to cover fragile young veggies in the spring in case of a freeze which could kill them! Hope this helps! Thanks, S. Hendrick



Warm Spot for Seedlings

When you’re starting seeds for your garden, place the trays on top of the refrigerator. That nice even warmth will help them germinate. When they’re about 1″ tall, move them to a sunny spot. Louise Reilly Sacco,

Note from Tawra: I do this all the time and it works great.

Grocery Store Seed Starting

I buy a vegetable at the store and plant the seeds. I have so many papaya plants from one fruit. I am now taking the seeds and roasting them and then grinding them into a “pepper” for salad dressing.

I cut the eyes off of a few potatoes. I took large old plastic pots and put a shallow layer of soil and the eye cuttings into the pots. As the plants grow, I keep adding soil. This makes the plants stronger and grows more potatoes, and all for free.

I took cloves of garlic, broke them apart, and have lots of new garlic plants growing, also almost free.

Cuttings of tomato plants grow very well. I dig a small ditch and lay the stem into the ditch, leaving only a few leaves exposed. The roots develop rapidly, and new plants grow. I do not buy seeds or plants: I simply dry the seeds from a few tomatoes, and then plant them. The same goes for peppers!

I bought coriander seeds at the spice section of a grocery store, and I sowed them, a few at a time. Much cheaper than buying seeds, and the plants are wonderful.


I love ginger, and I did not know what it would do, so I bought a few roots at the grocery store. I now have about 12 ginger plants. They have not flowered yet, nor do I know how the roots will taste, but at about 40 cents, I am having fun watching them grow, and I am very hopeful.

I bought some dried beans in the grocery store, and ended up with wonderful bean plants around my fence, and a whole lot more dried beans, and the ones I cooked were delicious.

I also have about 15 banana plants that came from one small plant someone gave me. I freeze the peeled bananas, and eat them year round.

I grow all kinds of spices and herbs, and some of these reseed themselves. I divide my plants at the roots to make new plants. This works especially well for my lemon grass and tarragon.

My gardening area is rather small, at most 400 square feet total. I sure do love eating the fruit from it. I tried Nasturtium this year, and the flowers are plentiful and delicious along with my mesclun salad plants.

Oh, I live in Miami, Florida, Dade County. We have extreme heat and dry spells, along with rainy seasons.

Rosemarie Bailey

Landscape Fabric

I loved your gardening tips, especially using milk jugs as greenhouses for young plants that prefer to be warm, and the ideas for kids.

My vegetable garden tip is to lay down landscaping fabric and then plant. I start my own seeds so this tip is easy to use, I just cut an ‘X’ in the fabric but it could be used for direct planting of seeds too. Using landscape fabric saves me from having to weed, which I dislike, especially in the middle of summer when everything seems to be growing green and fast.

And since it doesn’t break down, you can use the fabric for years.  -Paige

Note from Tawra: You can find landscape fabric for really cheap at yard sales. I got some free landscape fabric from a rebate at Ace. I have to say this stuff has changed my life! I used to use newspaper but now if the soil is good I will use landscape fabric instead. It is much easier to handle than blowing newspapers all over Kansas! hehehe

If you can’t find landscape fabric for cheap then just use newspapers. I would wet them, lay them down and then put mulch on top. You only need to wet them if it’s windy out.


Cheap Seed Starting

Hi Tawra!

I have a frugal gardening tip for you to use or pass along. I came across an easy, cheap and reliable method of growing seedlings, called winter sowing. It involves recycling milk cartons or other containers and using them as starting containers and mini-greenhouses for your seeds. Check out her website and FAQ: I’m going to try it out.

-Sara R.

Note from Tawra: This is the way I sow my seeds. I use all the deli contains, pie containers, milk cartons, etc., that I can find and start my seeds in them.