I will admit, I was never a big plant person. My mother used to say she had a black thumb so I figured it was hereditary….until I started gardening the lazy way. By that, I mean working smarter, not harder. Science already provided us with the research, showing that great soil is key to growing anything and water is life (or death).
First, start with really good, rich, organic soil that is the proper pH for your plants. Secondly, when it comes to watering, use Mother Nature’s rainwater whenever possible; there are too many chemicals, drugs, pesticides,….in tap water. I have seen a mere change in water source kill a plant in under 12 hours. Finally, use organic heirloom seeds; it’s a no-brainer, really.
You can, of course, sprinkle seeds right on the ground, throw some dirt on them and hope for the best. However, if your garden is a major food source for you and you happen to live in a cold climate with a short growing season, you will need to start your seeds indoors, then transfer the plants to the garden when Spring begins. I also do this in an easy, fuss-free way.
What you will need is:
A plastic bin big enough to hold cups for all the plants you want to start. Here, I used an under-bed storage bin that holds 39-40 cups.
A spoon (I use a side dish serving spoon, a little bigger than a serving tablespoon)
Syrofoam cups – yes, I know styrofoam is not eco-friendly. The fact is, paper cups and homemade seed starters from toilet paper rolls just don’t hold up in water, plastic is my nemesis and harder to puncture and remove, and styrofoam has the fill lines, hole marks, size and peel-ability that makes them perfect for this project. So, I am eco-friendly in many other ways but yes, a lazy gardener. I bought a bag of 50 cups for $.89 (2021 price).
A dowel, knife, or something to poke a hole in the bottom of the cup (you’ll see I used a dowel; this way I poked a hole through a stack of cups at one time, like shish kebab)
Soil, water, and seeds of your choice
I should note that this method provides a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness. I truly enjoyed sitting on the floor zenfully focused on each part. In no time, you can have your whole garden started and feel completely relaxed, knowing that soon these cups with be blooming with delicious organic food.
Okay, now for the fun part…
The bottom of your styrofoam cup likely has a little circle in the center. Poke that out. If not, just poke a ¼” diam. hole in the bottom of the cup and place it upright into the plastic bin. Repeat for all your cups. Next, fill the cups with high-quality soil. Two heaping serving spoons usually does the trick. The syrofoam cups often have fill lines on them so fill them to the second line down from the rim (about 1/2”-3/4” from the top). Poke a small hole in the dirt in each cup (you can use a finger or the spoon handle). Some seeds are tiny so I pour some seeds onto the spoon and then push 2 off into each hole so I don’t waste seed. Cover the seeds lightly with soil. When all the cups are planted, pour 1-2” of water into the bottom of the bin. Place the bin in a sunny window and relax.
Some people cover their bin with clear plastic for a greenhouse effect. I do not. I just thank the plants and leave them alone, just adding more water to the bin when needed. When it comes time to transplant the plants into your outdoor garden, simply push the plant out from the bottom of the cup or peel off the cup entirely – very easy.
Wishing you full harvests and happy eating!