Oh, the ease with which we can stop off at a home improvement store or nursery for plants that have been growing for weeks or months and transplant them very quickly to our backyard gardens. While you won’t hear from us that this is bad for the environment, there is a cheaper way to do this and that is better for the environment.

Needed supplies:

  1. Starter containers
  2. Seeds
  3. Soil

Before you send your plastic yogurt, butter, and sour cream containers off for recycling, make sure you have forty or fifty clean and stored for springtime starter plants. Drill or poke holes for drainage in the bottom.

To begin a small garden of peppers and tomatoes, try one packet of green peppers, one packet of mixed peppers, and then two tomatoes of your choice, let’s say, Roma and Big Boy. With even this small variety, you should be able to incorporate your harvest into a broad range of recipes, especially alongside the herbs you’re growing in your indoor garden.

The seeds should be £1 to £2 per packet, and if you purchase four or five packets, you spent £10 on seeds for several seedlings of each plant. Compare that to £2-£4 per seedling from the nursery! Spend another £5 on a bag or two of soil that is suitable for starting plants and for less than £15, you have the necessary supplies.

If you did not manage to save containers for this purpose, purchase some biodegradable seedling containers from the same store where you buy your seeds. You’re still likely to come in right under $20 for this project.

Follow the directions on your seed packets for plantings seeds and transplanting seedlings later. Read online for supplemental information regarding gardening.

How is this any greener than using seedlings from the store?

This is greener because stores tend to game the system, growing more seedlings than needed, because they can do so for such small cost and large profits — it pays to never run out. They grow and water seedlings past when they could or should have been transplanted, knowing they still could charge often £5 for a seedling that cost much less than that to start — they buy in bulk and can get it even cheaper than you. Granted, they have all of the overhead and have paid someone to tend to the plants, and people are paying for the convenience.

If you want a garden, it’s time to plant, but you don’t have the seedlings, growing your garden at home, even from bought seedlings, is much much greener than buying the vegetables from the store, so by all means, still grow your garden!