Sunday, March 9, 2014

The DD's Comprehensive Guide to Saving Money by Growing Your Own Food, Part V: Starting Your Own Transplants

In the previous part of this guide, I wrote that I was going to have the next part of the series dealing with planting your seeds out in the garden, spacing and outdoor germination tips.  Although it's definitely within the realm of possibility for some people to go ahead and plant seeds outdoors, I wanted to talk about starting transplants first, for people who are more adventurous and want a greater variety of plants in their garden.  If you would rather not deal with the obstacles of indoor plant growing, feel free to skip this section for now.  Come back when--not if--you are feeling confident enough to start growing your own transplants.  Trust me, you'll eventually want to.

Why should you start your own transplants in pots?  Well, it depends on what you expect to grow and where you are located.  For some people, growing transplants may not be the best option.  For example, if you live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate area, you may be able to sow seeds outdoors pretty much year round.  Starting transplants may be more of a hassle than it's worth for you.  On the other hand, if you live farther north, where the ground doesn't even thaw out until May, starting transplants may be your only option to ensure a harvest in such a short growing season.  And to further complicate matters, some plants don't like to be transplanted in any growing conditions.  You must take all these factors into account before starting transplants, especially if you are thinking about purchasing indoor lighting to grow them.

Starting Your Own Transplants, the Frugal Way

To start your own transplants from seed, you will require a few things.  The first (and probably easiest) requirement is a source of water.  Secondly, you will need a container to hold the medium and the plant once it starts growing.  You will also need the soil, or medium, used to germinate the seeds.  Finally, and arguably most important, you will need a source of light.  Let's go through each requirement one by one.