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Intro & Budget Breakdown

Seed Starting is a very budget friendly way to start a garden and to build up your landscaping.

I was recently at Walmart where I saw tomato starts selling for almost $5 a plant. This seems like an incredibly high price for tomatoes!

However, while starting seeds does have an upfront cost it can be a rather frugal and budget friendly option for gardening.

Even so, if you spend wisely, your seed starting supplies will last you for many gardening seasons.

Lets do a quick breakdown!

Tomato Seeds (100g of seeds/way more than 1 plant):$4.84 (via amazon)

Bag of Soil: $7.97

(cheap supplies) Seed Starting Kit: $24.99

Your all in cost for starting tomatoes from seed is $37.80.

Additionally, with starting seeds you’ll be able to start 100 different plants (your tomatoes AND other seeds) or for $38 you could buy 7 tomato plants.

I don’t know about you, but I want to stretch and maximize my dollar and starting seeds and my garden plants from scratch is one way I can do this.

Disclosure: Some of the links I am sharing are affiliate links. This means that, at ZERO cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

bag of seed starting soil laying on top of a seed starting tray
seed starting tray from bootstrap farmer

Lessons Learned in Seed Starting

Last year, I started my garden 100% from scratch. I bought little starter kits and thought this is incredible! Which is was. To be able to walk around the garden and see what was crafted was an amazing feeling, one of accomplishment and gratitude.

I have seen others use party cups for seed starting, for some this can be an effective way to start seeds.

Consequently, I actually did not enjoy this method for a multitude of reasons:

  • Wasteful: you cannot reuse these cups year after year. Many of mine split within the first couple of weeks of growing.
  • Lack strength and sturdiness: the cups are just incredibly thin plastic. They lack overall strength to help support the plant.
  • Transportation: when I would move my trays from inside to outside to harden off, the cups would tip causing plants to be damaged or would break. I don’t know about you, but I have just gone through all of this effort and I don’t want to have my plants break like this.
  • Watering: I like to water on the trays, underneath the pots to encourage the roots of the plants to reach downward and draw up the water. This technique helps to build strength in the plant. Using the solo cups, I found that it wasnt as effective for the roots to reach the water.
seed starts in solo cups in trays
2023 garden seed starts in solo cups

Here’s what I am changing this year: Investing in better quality supplies.

WHY? for the longevity of my supplies and to obtain the absolute best product for growing my garden.

Sometime last spring I won a seed starting set from Boot Strap Farmer. The Kit contained a base tray, seed cells, a greenhouse lid and warming mat.

The moment I opened the box, I knew that my amazon purchases were… well terrible and not going to last but one season. I am linking the trays I bought last year so that you can see, but let me make it clear DO NOT BUY THESE!

The Boot Strap Farmer supplies were night and day different. You could instantly feel the quality, see the quality, the attention to detail AND they are made in the USA!!

Seed Starting Supplies I Recommend:

1020 Trays

These are your foundation for holding your seed cells, pots or microgreen trays. The Humidity domes are designed to fit perfectly on top

Seed Cells

Think of these a little individual seed homes. The cells are like a crib and as your seedlings grow, they will transition to bigger beds. Rather they transition to bigger pots.

2.5” and 5” pots

The 1020 trays, seed starting cells and pots allow for individual seed starting areas. If you start with the seed cells, like I am, then you will need to transplant at a later date to a larger size pot. Herbs, lettuces, brassicas, will do well in the 2.5″ or 3.3” pots.

Did you know? Tomatoes will thrive in the 5” pots because it allows for their roots to grow. So just be aware if you are starting in cells, you will need to up pot at some point before your final transplanting into the ground.

Additionally, the 1020 trays and pots I shared above are designed to fit together. You should not have any issue transporting from inside to outside when you go to harden off your plants.

Humidity Dome (Lids)

The domes allow moisture to stay in the trays while harnessing the power of sunlight to warm the soil and keep our plants warm.

Think of these humidity domes as mini greenhouses. Make sure that you are placing these domes in a very sunny area.

Heat Mat

While the trays and humidity domes work insanely well, if you keep your house cold, like we do, then adding a heat mat is a great way to help ensure germination.

Some plants like a warmer soil to germinate, like peppers and tomatoes, while others, kale, can germinate at a lower soil temperature.

Go all in with a Kit, like this Pepper Kit or their other kits, the kits are a great way to get a lot more variety than buying individual sets, but do what your budget allows.

If you choose to shop at Bootstrap Farmer, I would absolutely love if you shopped through my link: www.bootstrapfarmer.com/THEFLOURINGHOME

Disclaimer: Shopping my link tells them that I sent you

One more quick note, I am also thrilled to start microgreens soon!

I have a variety seed mix I purchased from Amazon and these microgreen 1010 trays from, who else, Bootstrap Farmer that will fit my 1020 trays.

My friend, Meg, influenced me to start growing Microgreens.



You can’t start any plants if you don’t have any seeds.

Survival Garden Seeds has graciously given you 10% off any of these collections when you use my link: https://survivalgardenseeds.com/?ref=FLOURINGHOME 

Home Garden Collection (30 Pack, Homesteader Collection (50 Pack), Farmer Collection (100 Varieties), Ultimate Medicinal Collection.

I am growing the survival garden herbs this year and my goodness! The success rate on germination has been remarkable! Check out this basil!


Herbs are great for the garden for a multitude of purposes.

  • herbs help protect against garden pests
  • herbs are flavors and spices for the kitchen and cooking
  • many herbs are medicinal
  • many herbs are hardy and will continue to grow each and every year
  • many herbs come back so that you don’t have to keep purchasing year after year.

Remember for seeds, you are able to get a discount on the herbal kit: Ultimate Medicinal Collection through Survival Garden Seeds.

I also like the seeds from Peaceful Valley. My alpine strawberries were a pride and joy last year. Peaceful Valley has an INCREDIBLE selection on seeds, fruit trees, and berries.

I hope that this encourages you on starting seeds for your garden. If you’d like more help on gardening, I recommend this course through the University of Idaho extension office or these books:

I would love to hear from you! What seeds are you starting this year?

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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    1. I love a spring time garden! The new growth is exciting and soon you’ll find yourself obsessing and feeling the excitement as your plant grows and then flowers and finally produces fruit! It’s a wonderful feeling.

  1. Yay! Bootstrap Farmer trays are one of those things I didn’t think I needed until I tried them… there’s no going back! This post was super helpful. Thanks!

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