Thursday, March 11, 2010
Gardening with cups...knives...forks...and spoons...
Here is a flat of flowers and tomatoes that I recently planted with my children. Now...instead of spending money on those little markers to mark the rows...I use plastic knives...forks...spoons...and Popsicle sticks that my children and I write on with a sharpie. And instead of buying seedling pots...I use recycled party cups.
So how do I get all of those forks...knives...cups...etc?
Well...I attend family parties...church parties...school parties and so on. If there is food involved I will ask to make an announcement (I'm not shy). I will ask for everyone to put their empty cups and cutlery in a bucket by the trash. (If you have chickens...you could also have them put their leftover food in a bucket too!) At the end of the night...I collect the bucket and take it home to rinse everything off.
When I see that the cotyledon leaves have come out on my seedlings in the flat...and the first "true" leaves have started to appear...I know it is time to transplant them into the party cups. I prepare the cups by poking holes at the very bottom of the sides of the cups so that when I water the seedlings...the water flows out and doesn't drown the plant. If the cup is a paper type...or foam...this just takes a poke with a knife. If it is plastic like in the photo...I take a drill and pop some quick holes in each cup. I put some soil in the cup and then I prick the seedlings out of the flat with a knife and then transplant them into the prepared party cups. Finally I use a sharpie to write on the side of the cup the name of the variety of plant that is contained inside. Transplanting in to a larger cup like this gives the plant some room to grow prior to the final planting in the ground.
Oh...one more thing...the popsicle sticks for marking come from the summer eating of popsicles. The trick is to get them out of the kids hands before they chew them up! I have also seen them at the dollar store in a big bag for a buck which would be a good option if you are anti-popsicle...which of course is un-american...which is a secret you might want to keep!
It is nice be able to recycle what was headed for the trash...and to not spend one more penny than I have to!
PS...Group parties are a great source for picking up soda pop bottles to rinse out and fill for your water storage!