March 28, 2011

Garden Fridays: March 25

plastic bottle holders
Plastic bottle containers for seedlings
plastic bottle holders
Basil sprouts
Genovese basil sprouts in half a windowbox
small pots
Reusing pots (I put the pots in the dishwasher to sanitize them)
Patio red peppers
Plastic bottle holders

I started several summer seedlings in makeshift plastic bottle containers. I cut the bottles (mine were 1.5 L water bottles) in half, placing the cap end down, and used the bottom-half of the bottle as a water holder. So the top-half of the bottle is your pot for the plant, where the narrow bottle top drains off water, and the bottom half of the bottle catches all the water. This does a good job of draining extra water, without having to worry about drowning flats. In these containers, young plants will have roots that come out of the bottom and stay moist from the extra water.

This is a cheap way to start a number of seedlings without having to transplant them into bigger pots. Put a small slit in the lower chamber so the pots can sit on top of each other. I made dozens of these over the winter and had them ready to go as soon as I needed them. I saved old smaller pots and disinfected them. You could use old yogurt containers, dixie cups, eggshell flats, even toilet paper rolls cut in half. I planted 3 seeds per pot in regular potting soil mix. As they get established (and if they grow) I will pinch off or thin out seedlings.

Any ideas on when/what/how to feed seedlings? These guys won't go in to the garden until early June. Do you have other good ideas on starting seedlings? I'd love to hear from you on what works well/ what doesn't. It's pretty obvious that I'm a lazy novice gardener, but I'm trying to learn from my mistakes while also being economical and creative. These are growing on a large window sill which receives late-afternoon southern light.

I totally want this seed packet from the Monticello Kitchen Garden Sampler.

Here are my seedlings:
Red patio bell peppers: 3 pots
Slim jim eggplants: 4 pots
Ida gold tomatoes:  3 pots
Siberian tomatoes:  3 pots
Genovese basil: 1 half of small window box
Coriander: 1 half of small window box


  1. Cool! I hope they work out, Neeli.


  2. Love the bottle idea! Let me know how you like it!

  3. I love it so far - they worked really well last year too.

  4. Wow! What an operation. I like the SPA bottles. Bubbling SPA, at that!

  5. Allison, we'll see how well they work - you can assess the garden when you come here this summer.