Saving Money - Seventy Plants For Under $5

This year we plan to plant some Roma tomatoes for eating, cooking, and canning. We live in a small place with very little ground for planting but we will try to do our best to put up some tomatoes for sauces to make things like spaghetti, lasagna, chili, etc. There are two reasons for this. It seems that the canned tomatoes in the store have high fructose corn syrup added in their recipe and also it is becoming more and more difficult to find canned tomatoes that do not have salt added to them. The other reason for growing our own tomatoes and canning them is to save money.

We started our seedlings in some plastic egg cartons. We first took the molded part of the carton that holds the eggs and cut a few slits in the bottom of the mold. We then filled the little cups with potting soil and added our seeds. The flat part of the egg carton was cut off and used for a water drainage tray under the egg-shaped portion of the carton. We put this in the window to let it absorb the sun, watering the seedling every day.

Soon we had so many tomatoes growing that we needed to transplant them into a little larger container before setting them in the ground outside. The individual water bottles that we buy for exercise and going on walks fit the bill perfectly. We had a bag of them waiting to go out for recycling. It was very timely that I missed the last pick-up.

We took the water bottles and cut them in half. We discarded the top part with the cap and then cut some slits to let water escape through the bottom of the water bottles. Now a tray to catch the excess water from the individual plant holders was needed. We then got some empty water gallon (liter) jugs that were also in the recycling bin and cut the top half of those off and used the bottom portion as trays to catch the excess water from the individual plants.

When we were finished with the project we had over 70 plants planted in individual small pots made from the water bottles. Our total investment was 1/2 of a pack of Roma tomato seeds and some potting soil that we purchased on a super Saturday sale. We were able to buy 40 lbs. of potting soil for $2.75. So all in all it cost us less than $5.00 for a garden of vegetables and spare plants to share with neighbors and friends.

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