Get Your Grow On

We've got Spring Fever. In a big way.
I'm in a gardening frenzy. I could easily unload my whole paycheck at the garden center. 
But I won't because I like to eat.

Since it's still early in the season, and the threat of frost is still looming over us here in Central Georgia, we're playing it safe and not planting too much outside yet. I am, however, getting a jump start on the gardening season by starting some seeds indoors.

I've been eyeballing these mini-greenhouses for a while. You can plant seeds in anything (I was planning on using some special seed starting soil and empty egg cartons for mine) but I picked up the Jiffy Greenhouse at Lowe's for several reasons. It was pretty inexpensive, and  at about $7 the greenhouse cost less than a small bag of seed starter soil. The container can be used over and over again because Jiffy sells refill soil pellets. I also liked the fact that the greenhouse is self-contained and can easily be moved around if it's in the way. Moving this little greenhouse will be much easier than moving 10 egg cartons full of dirt, yes?


Truth be told, I really dig the fact that it's called a "Professional Greenhouse." I am now referring to myself as a Professional Gardener. I mean...I have a Professional Greenhouse for Pete's sake.

The Jiffy Greenhouse is super easy to use. Each of these little pellets is a pod of special soil for planting seeds. My greenhouse contained 72 pods, but they have smaller greenhouses with fewer. When you open it up, here's what they look like:

The instructions say to gradually add 1/8 cup of water to each pellet or, for my 72 pellet greenhouse, about 10 1/2 cups total.

I used my scratched-up measuring cup to ensure accuracy. Professionals are all about accuracy.

Adding the water is really fun, because the pellets grow! Here's what they looked like after I added about 4 cups of water:

And here they are after 8 cups of water. Don't give up on them! They will get bigger. It's not instant, but it's pretty fast. I'm sure your kids would like this project...I kept calling David inside from mowing the grass to check it out.

After 10ish cups of water (there's that Professional accuracy) they will be full grown planting pods. All you have to do now is to slightly loosen the mesh at the top of the pod and plant your seeds.

Seeds are not included with the greenhouse. The seeds that you buy will have helpful instructions on the back. Plant your seeds in the pods according to the directions on your seed packet.

These are squash seeds. My seed packet instructions said that they should be planted 2 per hole and 1/4 inch deep. And that is what I did.

Because I was planting several different types of seeds in my greenhouse, I used painters tape to identify what is planted in each row. I put the name of the plant and the date the seeds were planted. The dates will be helpful as I move baby plants to the garden and plant more seeds in the greenhouse. I'll be able to keep up with what's new in the greenhouse and how long it's been there by looking at the date it was planted.

Here's the whole greenhouse planted and put together. We planted Zinnias, Mint, Cilantro, Basil, Parsley, Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Squash, and Zucchini.

Greenhouse, professional variety.

And here she sits in my window. It's like a mini-maternity ward.

The greenhouse is satisfying my need to plant and will save us big dollars down the line because seeds are much less expensive than buying plants for our garden. I'll still buy a few plants later on, but this is a good start.

Go get some seeds and get your hands dirty!
Melissa Dark
Professional Greenhouse Manager

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