Sunday, February 5

Spring Garden

It's February! Time to get your sun hat on and head out into your gardens!

Today we're exploring the time-honored tradition of bell jars.
More after the jump!

Okay, sure, it's still freezing outside. But I can dream of warmer spring days and I can definitely get a jumpstart on my gardening!
This is the same Celosia as above. It became a monster.
I don't start all my plants and flowers from seeds, but I do like to get at least a percentage of my total flowerage from seeds. Even though it's still very early in the year, starting seeds is sort of a consolation prize until I can go to the nursery and pick out some lovely annuals.

And of course, it's always fun to point out a huge, healthy-looking Dahlia and be able to say, "I started that from a seed." Gardening is good for the soul. Kids love it too; it brings with it a healthy sense of anticipation, a bit of responsibility, an exhilarating sense of accomplishment.
I started that from a seed.
But seeds can be tricky, especially for gardeners who live in harsher climates. Even here in Southern California frost regularly wipes out crops. What to do, what to do...

We've all seen bell jars. Our grandmothers used them to protect their collectible porcelain dolls from dust and curious fingers. We use them ourselves for our vignettes and terrariums. But they're also used in gardening, to protect seedlings.
They love to lean into the sunlight.
Think of them as tiny little glasshouses. They allow the sunlight in (however weak and fleeting it may be) and keep wind, frost and harmful insects out. Plus, they're totally cuter than those ugly plastic trays you get from the Home Depot garden department.

But since they're expensive and I'm cheap, I've cut out the "bell" part of the equation and kept the "jar." My obsession with jars is well documented, so it's a no-brainer that I have more than enough. The beauty of jars is that they come free with your purchase of mayonnaise and jelly. And they're perfect for this job.

As an added bonus, if you plant your seeds directly into a pot as opposed to say, a crummy plastic tray, they won't go into transplant shock. Another bonus is that the jars will keep the seedlings warmer, and heat is known to accelerate germination and growth.
Hello, Begonias!
All of these pictures were taken in my patio last year. It was my first time trying out the bell jar method, and I have to say my seeds made a very good showing. I'm doing it again this year with even more seeds, and I'll post an update later in the season!

Happy gardening!!


  1. This is a great idea. Why haven't I thought of that before. I've about bell jars and cloches but it never dawned on me to use mason jars. Neat!

  2. Brilliant idea! If I'd have seen this, say 2 weeks ago, I would have about 30 basil plants thriving in the backyard. Instead, I lost all my seedlings because I didn't get them transplanted in time and they all dried out and died.

  3. I just came across your blog, and love it! But am so bummed to see you haven't posted since February :( Hope you start back up soon! I love your ideas, and went through every single one of them :D

  4. you can also use plastic pop bottles or juice bottles as well. keep the waste out of the landfills. I have started sunflowers and many others that way> As well as in clamshell packaging for donuts and cakes

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