Posted by on Feb 27, 2009 in Tips and Techniques | 7 comments

We ask for savvy seed-starting kits and you did not disappoint us! Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your clever ideas for homemade seed-sprouting tools. You've proven that gardeners can take everyday objects and turn them into something cost-effective and quite useful!

As much as we would have loved to award prizes to everyone who entered, we could only pick 5. Our Grand Prize winner is Starr Pease, of Calimesa, California! Congratulations, Starr, you'll be receiving a $50 Park Seed Gift Certificate.

And the 4 Runners Up are Denise DeVault, of Morgantown, WV; Harley Frederickson, of Sexsmith, AB; Dawn Pannozza, of Naugatuck, CT; and Sherry Post, of Fairview, PA. You will each receive a $25 Park Seed Gift Certificate. Congratulations to all our winners and thank you again to everyone who participated! It's time to go get those seeds started!!

And here are the winners' savvy seed-starting ideas!

[Grand Prize] My friends are envious of my vegetable garden and always ask for small plants started from seeds. However, they are not always as quick to recognize which plant is which. Therefore, after I start the seedlings and they are ready to be planted into the garden, I recycle aluminum cans with the seedlings, and they are presented as a gift. A tomato paste can will contain roma tomatoes. Diced tomatoes will hold my patio tomatoes, etc. I use salsa cans to hold everything they need for a salsa container — onions, bells, jalapenos, and tomatoes. When they're ready to put the plants into the dirt, they know which plant is which! And a great gift for friends are containers filled with salsa vegetables, chinese stir fry, etc. — Starr Pease 

I'm a little too eager to start my garden. I just want to grow something even if it's inside! I don't know how "savvy" it is, but this is my seed-starting idea. I had several empty cardboard egg cartons lying around and was getting ready to take them to recycle. My son wanted to cut them apart to make various things and I thought the little "cups" would make a decent substitution for a peat pot. I had no idea if it would work or not. I cut a small slit in the bottom of each and them set each cup inside a styrofoam egg carton. I put potting mix in each one and planted spinach seeds. I still had a problem with light and heat, until I spotted the aquarium tank. A couple weeks back the last fish died, and I hadn't yet cleaned out the tank. In less than an hour that thing was emptied and disinfected and ready for my seeds. I placed small empty boxes upside down in the tank and put my carton of seeds on the top so they would be closer to the light. I also had an old temperature/humidity gage from when we had hermit crabs, and I put that in the bottom. When the light is on, the temperature stays at 68 degrees and the humidity fluctuates between 50 and 70%. Well, it actually worked! The seeds sprouted! But now I have no idea what I'm going to do with them because it's January 31st, and it's way too early to plant them outside! At least I know it works and I can use the rest of the cartons and seeds later. — Denise DeVault

IMG_3210 Wonderful idea Park Seed. Old Socks seek New Home. Old socks, old mismatched "cotton" socks. Fold sock back on itself to form seed pot. The sock pot helps to retain moisture and is easily planted in designated areas. If you like you can cut/slit the bottom one layer with scissors. The old "cotton" sock returns itself back into soil. Hail to the "Old Cotton Sock."— Harley Frederickson

I'm pretty resourceful when it comes to using recycled things to start my seeds. I collect my 14-lb kitty litter jugs and cut away the top 1/3 to use the bottoms as seed starters/planters for my herbs. I use the 28-lb kitty litter pails (and their lids to cover) to start/grow tomatoes and peppers. I've made a whole bunch of "paper pots" (instead of using peat pots) out of my old newspapers to start seeds in. I collect yogurt cups, cut down the 64 oz plastic juice bottles (Juicy Juice, Ocean Spray, etc.), reuse the plastic containers that store-bought mushrooms come in to start my seeds. I reuse Windex bottles as water spray bottles. I've found long wood boards to put over my radiators where I put all of my "pots" to keep them warm in south-facing windows. I reuse the plastic bags (bread, rolls, etc.) to cover my pots.— Dawn Pannozza

Christmas Light seed warmer I make my own seed-warming trays from two "waffled" flats used to carry plants home from the nursery/garden center and a string of C7 Christmas lights. I clip the lights onto the inside of the tray and anchor excess wire with plastic cable ties or twisty ties. Then I turn the tray over (see left) and cover with a cookie sheet to catch any drainage water from the plants. The lights are for indoor or outdoor use, so they won't short out if they get wet. I can control the temperature by slightly unscrewing some of the bulbs to turn them off.— Sherry Post