Grab your seeds, trowels, planters, and soil. It’s time for the April 2021 Use It Up Challenge. This month we are focusing on seeds. Garden season is fast approaching. In fact, some may already have started their gardens, especially if you live in the southern climates. However, for those of us in the North, there are a few weeks to go before we can safely get our hands in the dirt. Since many plants can be started indoors, this is the perfect time to work on using all of the seeds you have accumulated over the last few months or years. So grab your seeds and get ready to use them up!
In the first year of this challenge, we have tackled notebooks, candles, cleaning supplies, craft supplies, clothes, bath items, books, food, toys, games, sentimental items, and holiday decorations. Feel free to go back to a previous month’s challenge to ensure that you are giving your home a thorough decluttering.
April 2021 Use It Up Challenge – Seeds
What is the Use It Up Challenge?
This is a monthly decluttering challenge that focuses on using the items instead of simply getting rid of them. This helps to reduce waste and also gets your money worth out of those items. Each month, a new category is chosen and we will focus on that category all month long. However, you don’t have to stop once that month ends. Keep decluttering and using up those items all year long. It will have a huge impact on your home and life at the end of the year.
If you are joining in, be sure to share your progress on social media using #IHUseItUp. I’d love to see how everyone is getting along with the challenge.
Where to start
This is a very simple step. Find all of the seed packets that you have. Maybe they are a few years old or you recently purchased them. Depending on how serious you are about gardening you may have a few packets or an entire container full. Grab them all and then sort them into categories, such as tomatoes, legumes, leafy greens, etc..
Once you have all of your seeds gathered and sorted, you next need to start planning your garden. You will need to know how much space you are committing to your garden before deciding what you will plant. Each plant requires different amounts of space, sunlight, and time to grow. Planning out your garden layout can be somewhat time-consuming but is a necessary step in the process. Some plants need to be on opposite sides of the garden while others can be planted close to each other.
What about really old seeds?
Seeds tend to have a certain shelf-life. Each seed type can vary from a year to several years while it remains viable. How your seeds are stored can also affect this. However, that doesn’t mean that a seed that is only viable for 2 years is useless if it is 3 years old. The only way to know if a seed is still useable is to plant it. Last year I planted some zucchini seeds that were 5-7 years old. While about half of them didn’t germinate, I was still impressed with how many plants I did get – and it was a bumper crop too! It may seem like a waste of time and effort to plant older seeds but it’s better than tossing them on the belief they won’t grow. So give them a try, they may surprise you.
How to use them up
Okay, it’s not quite as simple as that. Everyone is in a different grow zone and may not be ready to plant seeds just yet. Seed packets will generally have information on when to sow them, usually just before or after your last frost date.
Once you know your grow zone and have a plan of what and where to plant, it’s time to get started. Keep your seeds watered and weed-free and before you know it, you will be harvesting your garden.
You may be a beginner gardener and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the process. Don’t worry. Most plants are fairly hardy and can tolerate some neglect while you figure out your green thumb. Plants like radishes and lettuce are great for starters as they require little attention and grow quickly even in less than ideal conditions.
What I’m using up
As an avid gardener, I have quite a few seeds at my disposal. While it would be amazing to use them all in a single growing season, I need to be realistic – I don’t have the space to grow everything all at once. Even so, I know I have some older seeds that really do need to be used.
I have been busy planning my garden for the growing season ahead and while April is still a bit early for growing – we still have snow on the ground and can get more, I will be starting a few things, like lettuce and spinach. These early plants are great for our cooler climate and mean we get to start harvesting before most of the main garden is planted. Some of my lettuce seeds are fairly old, so I will be using those ones first and if they don’t germinate I will move on to fresher seeds.
Otherwise, I will be following my garden plan and putting as many seeds into the ground as possible.
Will you be joining the April 2021 Use It Up Challenge? What seeds will you be using and growing this month?