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I am so excited for spring this year! I have been trying to start a garden for a few years now. I always manage to get hung up somewhere along the line though. 3 years ago I was actually successful in planting a garden but then we ended up moving in July so we had to leave it behind. The last two years I have tried various methods for DIY garden starters. Neither was super successful and ended up dying before it was time to plant them. I am determined to make it work this year!

I have seen so many different ideas on how to make your own garden starters. Here is a great post from the preparedness mama. Most take quite a bit of preparation or saving of materials ahead of time. I wanted a cheap, minimal prep way to start some seeds. So I settled on paper cups and it has worked out great!

What I like most about using paper cups is that you can write on the cup what seed you are planting. In previous years I had to get creative on how to mark each starter. This was super easy!

Here are a couple options I found on Amazon. I love that the peat pots come with little markers. (These are affiliate links)


1. Pick what you want to plant and how many

This year I bought some seed packets at the dollar store for 25 cents a packet. I also bought a few at the hardware store for 2-3 dollars each. Amazon also has some great options that I considered. I am not doing starters for herbs though. They grow pretty quickly so I will just plant them from seed outside.

2. Poke holes in the bottomĀ of each cup(if you decide to use cups)

garden starters

3. Fill cups with soil and water them

garden starters

4. Plant the seeds!

General tips for garden starters

Since starting my seedlings I have learned a few things about keeping them alive.

Don’t over water

When you are waiting for the seeds to germinate it is good to keep the soil pretty moist. But once they have sprouted it’s ok to let the dirt dry before watering. Otherwise, some fuzzy mold can grow. I learned that this isn’t a total deal breaker for your little plants but it does impede them a little bit.

Don’t overcrowd them

Pick a container that allows the plants to breathe. If you don’t do this it can also lead to mold because the moisture can’t get out as easily. My plants are pretty packed in my container but I don’t have anything else to put them in. I’m trying to go easier on the watering and hoping for the best. I’m also thinking about switching them to a cardboard box instead.

Minimal direct sunlight

The seedlings need sunlight, but not direct sunlight because they can overheat and whither. I had them in a window where they got a little direct light in the morning and evening but I thought it was ok. I also put them outside early on in the season when it wasn’t too hot yet. Then I made the mistake of putting them out on a warm day. Some of them whithered after this. Luckilly most are still ok.

Don’t give up!

If your seedlings die, don’t get discouraged! Start early so there is time to replant. I am replanting some of mine that didn’t make it. If you follow these tips, you’ll probably have better luck than me though! Happy gardening! Stay tuned for more gardening tips as I go!

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