It’s finally time to start seeds again! After months of winter garden dreaming, action at last!
First come the onions. We’re planting a bunch this year, maybe not enough to grow all our own, but enough to make a dent. And we start just about every meal with sautéing onions in olive oil, so we’re starting 150 onion seeds, and we’ll see where that takes us.
While we’ve got some of those black plastic trays you see at garden stores for seed starting, we don’t have enough of them for 150 onions and everything else we’ll be starting later on. So we got creative.
Here’s what we did:
1) Got a bunch of egg cartons (Thanks, John!) and punched holes in the bottom, for drainage.
2) Cut out a panel from the lid on three sides, so we have a flap of sorts on top, while stapling the original lid closed (we tried glue, but staples were easier). This means we can fill the cartons with soil all the way to the top, giving our little seedlings extra room to stretch their roots.
3) Filled the bottom half of the cartons with potting soil, and then put in enough seed starting medium on top for the seedlings to emerge into.
4) Put in our seeds, one future-plant per cell. We’re trying some yellow storage onions, red salad onions, white sweet onions, and cippolinis this year.
5) Closed the flap on top to keep in moisture while the seeds are germinating. Once they’re up, we’ll rip off those top panels and stick the cartons under lights to grow until the garden is ready for them.
We consider gardening, at least at our skill and experience level, to be one experiment after another. We’ve always got high hopes. We’ll let you know how it goes.
Update 8/3/12: We had a lot of trouble keeping the soil in the paper egg cartons moist, because the paper just wicks away the water in the dirt. But it all stayed wet enough for some very colorful mold to grow all over the wet paper. Neither the moister level nor the mold was an issue with the one styrofoam egg carton we used, but then it was also not compostable at the end of the season. We are contemplating other systems to try next year.