During this quarantine, I jokingly was playing a video game about a post apocalyptic scenario and thought…
“I should plant crops to get through this with guaranteed food”
I found some old seeds my mom had and I learned 2 things very quickly:
- Video games greatly exaggerate the rate of growth and quantity of crop yield
- Plants …. are… SO CUTE
I also learned that its very easy to fail at gardening when you know nothing about gardening and you don’t have the right tools.
Here are the top things that I’m VERY happy that I got for my little home garden… at the cheapest price.
0. Before you Buy Anything! Look for things around your house!
- Cardboard egg cartons (not styrofoam) make good seed starting trays for plants with shallow root systems. The less professional version of this: (~$17)
- If you have a heating pad with a low setting, and a dark box you can germinate your seeds with cottons balls in some tupperware containers. This is because seeds germinate best with warmth (70-80deg max) and with darkness (think seeds under dirt, don’t see sunlight). They do sell heat mats specifically for plants (~$15)
- Anything can be a pot for your plant babies! It’s the second step of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. You can use mason jars temporarily… I like to use some of the plastic containers frozen food or sauces are packaged in. It looks really cute when lettuce grows out of a tub for eclairs! Just make sure you poke some holes in the bottom so water can drain and not rot the roots, and place it on a saucer to catch excess water. If all else fails there’s lots of cheap, cute pots. (~$16/8 pots)
Unless you have a Sunny window with VERY bright… most plant-babies need 6-12 hours of sun and depending on the plant your window might not be enough. Some lights can be super expensive and I have a purple LED light…. it HURTS my eyes. This broad spectrum is easy on the easy on the eyes and fits a standard indoor lamp bulb (E26)… and it opens up like a flower for wider spread!
If you don’t care about the spread of the light This Standard Light Bulb is also a good alternative (~$10-15)
2. Moisture Meter (~$15)
I killed many a Basil Seedling with overwatering because I had no concept of how much water is too much? Too little? For my poor basil babies that don’t like to be drowned… I gave too much.
3. Potting Soil
Potting soil is soft so seedlings can pierce through the top layer of the soil easily, as well as well draining. This is important in container plants because the water has less place to go and your plant baby roots might get waterlogged and rot. I like this variety of miracle gro the best so far: (prices vary widely from $10-25 based on time of the year)
4. And MOST obviously… seeds
I use amazon for most of my purchases since I’m stuck inside the house when I’m not working… and lucky for me they have great seeds! You just have to watch out for the estimated ship date because lots of seeds and bulbs are from China, which takes FOREVER to get here… and you might miss the growing season. Otherwise be careful with what seeds promise you because pictures are often heavily photoshopped… and if you know nothing about plants you’ll be like “Oh wow thats a lot of big bananas on a small tree that fits in a planter I should get that!
Here are some seeds I’ve had good luck with:
If you’re a COMPLETE noobie and you don’t know what to get then I recommend a seed starter kit. It comes with the dirt, as well as some biodegradable pots you can plant directly into the yard or into a pot in your home. I tried Nature’s Blossom and had a pretty good germination rate with it! It also comes with instructions… I wasn’t a huge fan of the spray bottle because it only delivered a super fine mist which was actually leading me to underwater my plants. But I can use it for non-watering purposes! They have an onion variety, and exotic fruits variety, tomatoes… you name it!
I’ve had really good luck with these Morning Glory from Seed Needs, and they’re shipping was right on time! High germination rate for all seeds except for the BIG ones had a harder time getting out of their thick seed coat. Can’t wait to have flowery vines all over my railings and fences!
I REALLY loved the fast shipping speed of Holt Garden. I ordered these lettuce seeds and some seasame seed leaves and the germination rate is so high! I have more lettuce than I know what to do with! If you’re Korean or appreciate some korean vegetables I highly recommend.
If you’re addicted to planting vegetables and you want have a little of everything… I recommend these variety kits! (This isn’t the exact one I purchased, but I think it might be sold out at the moment so I linked one with good reviews) I have some plantlings for cucumbers, corn, carrots, and peppers growing in my house. I recommend you plant little more than you need though because I’ve definitely accidentally killed some of them because I’m learning to be a better plant mom.