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Zero-Waste Seedlings

It's my favorite time of year again! The end of winter means no more barren garden beds and tons of seedlings getting ready to grow and be fruitful through the summer. Isn't that great?!

There are plenty of "what to plant now" articles for you; Neil Sperry does a fantastic newsletter that I highly recommend for your Texas gardening needs. What I specialize in is getting the seed to the ground without wasting a thing! Let's get started.

Everyone recognizes the seedling trays you can buy at any garden supply or hardware store, right? They're what your plants come in when you buy directly from the nursery. Did you know they're reusable? Any gardener who knows how to save money and resources will tell you to keep those little gems and use them for your seeds. The best way to care for them is to wash them out with 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar to 1 cup of water and allow to air dry. Also reusable? Plastic labels that can easily be washed in Castile soap and water, then reused for new crops in the fall!

Once your seedlings reach a point where the small trays aren't keeping them supported, it's time to move on to bigger containers. This year I'm trying cow manure pots that have very little odor and compost once buried. You have about a 12 week time frame between the manure pots coming out of their packaging and becoming compost, so make sure your timing is right! According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, we should be able to plant into the ground here in Region 11 during the first two weekends in March, when it's the rainiest and most moderate in temperature. In the meantime, "pot up" and move your small seedlings into bigger trays:

I cannot emphasize enough: use what you have. Our onions are going to be planted in the old red recycling bins the city no longer uses, because upcycling is a great thing to do - both financially and environmentally! It's so easy to go crazy with spending when you're picking up gardening for the first year or two, but you'll find that good ol' kitchen waste and paper shreddings make soil for your garden that's just as healthy as the new bags of soil you purchase from the nursery each year.

Enjoying the outdoors and the provisions in your garden that you've created yourself is much more pleasurable than seeing how much non-biodegradable stuff you can buy to work your beds. Go natural!

Till next time,

Dallas Farmer Gal

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