How To Grow Herbs, Vegetables, And Flowers From Seeds

This year we thought we’d try our hand at starting a few herbs, vegetables and flowers from seeds. After seeing this seed-starting post, we felt encouraged (if a child can do it…) and after seeing this baby at Home Depot,  we decided to take the plunge:


The entire greenhouse contraption was only $6.99, and all the seeds that you see laid out below (sage, lavender, rosemary, salvia, cilantro, tomato and basil) were just $1.59 each. Total spent for 72 potential plants (plus a reusable greenhouse)= $18.12. That breaks down to just 25 cents a plant!


The entire contraption is pretty idiot-proof. Just fill the bottom of the tray with two quarts of warm water and wait for the dirt pellets to fully expand. They go from little quarter-sized circles to two inch deep cylinders so you gently pull back the netting around the top of the pellet, create a little hole and drop in a seed or three. Then just fluff a little bit of dirt back over the top of your babies and place the clear dome on top of the tray.

The greenhouse then just needs to sit in a warm location away from direct sunlight (we slipped it on top of the dresser in the guest bedroom and didn’t even look at it again for four days- at which point we sprinkled a bit more warm water over the tops of all the pellets). And that’s when the magic happened. I don’t know if it was just the passage of a few days (4-5) or the sprinkling of warm water over the pellets after a few days in the dome, but slowly & surely, little seedlings started to emerge.


Look at that happy little cilantro! Next to it we have our tomatoes poking up, and some pretty lush looking basil out of frame to the right. We were sure to sketch out our rows on a piece of paper and label the seeds in each one so we can keep it all straight (ex: row 1: cilantro, row 2: tomatoes, etc).


Now we just keep them happy and growing til the time comes to pop them in the ground. And the Jiffy packaging (which we were sure to keep) even offers up a few tips for acclimating them to the outside environment (put them out during the day but take them in at night until they get used to it, etc). So far, so good…

If we can do it, anyone can! So grab a greenhouse of your own (or check out Katie’s egg carton method here) and get down to business. And if more seasoned seed-starters have any tips or tricks for growing your own herbs, veggies, and flowers, please fill us in! We’d love to learn anything and everything to help our little garden grow.


  1. Liz N says

    Hey Sherry & John –

    I have used this product before and hope you can learn from a few of my mistakes. 1. Don’t put the plants out too early. I was fooled by the South Carolina warmth and low and behold along came a frost – so be sure all your frosts are behind you. You are smart to keep them inside. I started them later (Mid March/early April on my sun porch) 2. The “biodegradable” wrapping of each seed pod didn’t really biodegrade :( – you might want to gently peel away its jacket when you place them in your containers or ground. I found the little jackets stunted the growth on some of my plants. 3. Be careful not to over water while they are in the green house. Objects in tray are wetter than they appear.

    Other than that this is a great way to start some plants. Even with all of my mistakes I had a few great herbs, bell peppers and tomatoes.

    Good Luck!
    – Liz

  2. says

    I use the Jiffy seed starter kits every year for my herbs. In Colorado we can’t plant outside until at least the middle of May, so I don’t start my seeds until St. Patrick’s Day. These are great for starting seeds – butyou might find that they outgrow the little pellets close to planting time.

  3. says

    Fun post, guys :) I did this with my children two years ago. I have something to share from my mistakes that might help you all out. Apparently, there’s something called “damping off” that happens when seedlings are about the size of your little guys. Suddenly, the stems just sort of go kapput. It can be prevented, though, with proper *air circulation* and not over or under watering. So, it’s advisable to run a little fan (and I know you have a cute one!), on low in the same room as your seedlings, and continue watering from below (letting the roots soak up). The fan should not be blowing directly on them, but just giving the air in the room a little movement.

    Also, sanitary conditions at planting time help with damping off woes, too, but you’re already past that step. Other readers may want to google “damping off” to read more about how to plant cleanly and avoid this pesky problem :)

    Jacci :)

  4. says

    You are going to love cooking with your own herbs. We have one of those aerogardens and we love it. It’s great to be making dinner and grabbing fresh basil and cilantro that you grew yourself.

  5. says

    One more thing, guys :) I want this to go well for you!! From the photos, it looks like it’s time to thin out some of your seedlings. That just means gently pulling all but 1-3 stems from each pellet. Keep the strongest looking ones! :) By thinning the plants out, you’ll be encouraging less but stronger, healthier growth. Again, a google search on “thin seedlings” would be useful.


  6. Melissa says

    Neat idea!

    By the way, I just ordered some burro tail plants via Amazon because I loved yours so much. Now I’ll have to try this idea too!

  7. says

    We live in zone 6 in the western NC mountains. Following the advice of local gardeners, we’ve already planted seeds for cool weather crops like snow peas, carrots, radishes, beets, and spinach directly in the garden. It seems a little early to me, but last year I gorged on snow peas “with edible pods” in a friend’s spring garden. She always plants her peas on February 6th! I should take a “before” picture just in case this little experiment works. We use Sherry’s method to jump start warm weather vegetables.

  8. says

    Talk about timely! I had seen Katie’s seedling post and decided this year would be a great year to try it for ourselves!! So last night, I stopped back at my dad’s house (where I still have tons of stuff in storage) and I picked up an old terrarium so I can start herbs as well. However, this kit looks pretty cool, so I may have to pick it up instead and use the terrarium for cacti and succulents instead!

  9. Kim says

    I plant an outdoor garden every year, but I start from 4 inch plants that I pick up at the local nursery. I have a few tips, make sure the soil outside is tilled up and watered a few days before you plant. Also (if your plants are tall enough) plant them a few inches deeper into the soil. So at least 1-2 inces of the stem is burried. This will help the plant stablize in the soil, because of the fine hairs on the stem. This helps grow stronger roots!! Then give them daily water (not when the sun is strong – better in the evening or morning) and watch them grow!

  10. says

    I’ve been looking for a good (cheap) way to grow herbs as wedding favors; thank you so much!
    My fiance and I really want to start and herb garden once we’re married and this will also be a good way to get that started :)

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