Blog / Tori Sparks

  • Garden Journal

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    Make your own Garden Journal!
    Materials:
    A journal of your choosing
    glue or tape
    scissors
    plant stakes
    something to write with
    Remembering what you planted last year or figuring out what works with what can be all too much for your busy mind to remember. So we've come up with an easy and fun way to observe your garden by making your own Garden Journal. By logging what you have planted and remarking on each as they grow through the season, you not only learn more about your plants, but its a great way to advance your garden.
    First, sketch out the lay of your land (or in this case, the fire escape we are using). Determine when you get the best light, from what direction, and what time. Take a before picture if you can then later, an after shot. Label where you planted each plant and notate the bloom cycles of each. Understanding when each blooms or not can help you design your garden.
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    Next, save the plant stakes or labels to the plants you have purchased, or the seed packets you used. Most of these include vital information about your plant's name and needs. If you don't have these items, go online and research a bit about each.
    Remark on when you planted each plant, the conditions it requires, when it blooms, when you fertilized, etc.
    What plants are annuals? Which are perennials? Did it come back from last year? Was it happier in more or less sun? Did it thrive better in a container or in the ground?
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    If you don't have plant stakes, you can also print pictures from online or that you have taken with your own camera. Go ahead and do this anyway as visuals are a great learning tool!
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    Keep adding to your journal as the growing season progresses. Include personal anecdotes and discoveries. Be sure to comment on those plants that flourish in the winter months, too. Next year, when you take a look back you'll be delighted at your accomplishments and revelations.
  • DIY Seed Starting for Spring!

    Spring is here! We wanted to share some ideas for DIY seed starting using upcycled materials. These are great projects to do with kids, and very inventive ways to save money!

    Toilet Rolls

    We found two clever ways to reuse toilet rolls as seed starters. Either use each roll individually or combine multiple in one container. There is no need to remove the fragile sprouts either. Just stick the seedling in its roll right into dirt!

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    2 Liter Bottles

    Repurposed 2 liter bottles can easily be turned into self-watering containers. All you need is a 2 liter bottle, string, soil, Phillips screwdriver, hammer and a sharp blade to cut the bottle with (for complete instructions go here). This is a brilliant idea for those who forget to water!

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    Eggshells and Egg Cartons

    Here are two ways to repurpose eggshells and/or their cartons. One way  is to use the eggshell to the sprout seeds and the carton as their holder. When the sprouts are ready for transplanting, gently crack the shell and plant. The shell biodegrades supplementing the soil with calcium.

    Another is to use the egg carton by itself  with plastic wrap. Use the classic kind of egg carton - plastic and styrofoam won't do, it needs to be able to absorb moisture. Fill each compartment with moistened soil. When you've finished putting seeds in, loosely cover the egg carton with plastic wrap and place in a sunny window. This helps create a mini-greenhouse effect, keeping the seeds warm and moist, perfect for germination.

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    We think its great you don't have to buy anything to get your seeds started. However, if you haven't the time for such projects we are here for you. We have the Hydrofarm Jump Start Kits in varying sizes. A great and simple way to get your seeds going!

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    "Make your own mini-greenhouse from one of Jump Start’s trays. Place a seedling or cutting into the fast-expanding, earthy-friendly biodegradable media, and watch your garden grow!"

    Remember to label your seeds, set it in a bright windowsill, and wait for 'em to sprout! Seeds want to grow, so experiment and have fun.

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