Do you buy food in plastic clam shells? Think berries, tomatoes, greens, mushrooms...all those nice fresh fruits and veggies. These plastic clam shells are not easily recycled, but they can be hard to avoid at the grocery store. Rather than throwing them away, make an indoor greenhouse with your kids! The best ones have lids and bottoms, but even those mushroom container bases or plastic yogurt cups will do the trick!
You can use any type of seed, we've had great luck with herbs and flowers. Avoid root veggies (onions, carrots, etc.) as these prefer to be direct sown into the ground and can be finicky to transplant
- Plastic clam shell
- Plate or pan for the greenhouse to sit in
- Potting soil or soil/compost mix
- Non-breathable cover
First step is to poke some holes in the bottom of the container - about the size of a pencil should do the trick. Soil needs to drain so that the seeds and eventual roots are not suffocating in soaking wet earth!
Next, fill the container about 3/4 of the way to the top with your potting soil or soil/compost mix. You want to leave enough room so that you can close the lid (or cover it with plastic) and still have some space between the soil and the lid on the container.
Now, add your seeds! Follow instructions on the seed packet in regards to how deep they should be planted. We will usually start 3 in a container the size of the one pictured above. This gives us a better chance of having successful sprouts! If they all take off, then you can split them up when you plant them in larger pots or outside in your garden!
Next comes the water! Keeping the soil moist but not muddy is important for seeds. Moisture and warmth is what makes them sprout! Gently water the seeds so that the soil is damp. If you have a spray bottle, this can be a great way to get an even mist of water on the seeds.
Finally, put a lid on it! Once the seeds are watered, put your cover on the seeds. If you have a clam shell with a top and bottom, just close the cover up tightly so moisture won't escape. If you don't have a built in lid, you can stretch a piece of plastic wrap around the top and secure it with a rubber band. You want it to be closed up tight so that as water evaporates, it condenses on the underside of the lid and falls back down...like rain!
Once your greenhouse is secured, place it on a plate or pan in a sunny spot. The sun will keep your seeds warm and will help the water evaporate and re-fall on the soil. Feel free to open it up and mist it a bit every few days if it looks like it needs more moisture.
Once your little sprouts are poking through the soil and starting to touch the plastic top, you can leave it open for them to soak in the sunshine! Keep them watered and in the sun and watch your garden grow. As they get bigger, you can transplant them to a larger pot. If you want to move them outside, you have to do so slowly...follow the instructions for timing on your seed packet - especially if you live in a cold climate like Summit County!
Stay Wild and Free!