Valentines are an excuse to show your appreciation for someone just for the sake of showing it. If you want to give your Valentine something unique this year, try giving them a seed starter that can later double as a votive holder. Wondering where this idea came from? February is generally when I start planning my spring garden, so as I planned my Valentine’s Day-related projects, I had seedlings on the brain. Why not combine my love of gardening, the husb’s love of Michael Jackson (this will make sense in a minute…), and our mutual love of basil into a Valentine worthy of more than the paper recycling bin?
mini mason jar
seeds for your Valentine’s favorite plant
coffee beans and/or small pebbles
glass adhesive, heart-shaped stencil
stiff bristle paint brush
small piece of cardstock
Clean the jar you’re going to paint with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and place your adhesive stencil. I used the new Martha Stewart glass paint stencils for this project because they stick right to the glass itself.
Dab the glass paint over the stencil with a stiff-bristle brush until the stencil is filled completely. If your jar is see through, you can Â turn it around to ensure full coverage of the stencil.
Let paint dry completely before carefully removing the adhesive stencil. If you use the Martha Stewart glass paint, it will air-cure over the course of three weeks and become dishwasher safe.
Now for the fun/messy/gardeny part. Cover the bottom of your jar with coffee beans or small pebbles. ThisÂ facilitatesÂ the drainage necessary for seeds and plants. Mason jars aren’t necessarily the best container to start seeds in since there’s no drainage at the bottom of the container. Making sure to have pebbles/beans for drainage is therefore really important.Â I used coffee beans because coffee grounds make good fertilizerÂ due to their high nitrogen content and because I had coffee beans on hand.
Next, add potting soil to your jar, leaving enough room for your seeds and the soil coverage they require. Check your seed packet to see how deep to plant your seeds, how many seeds to use, and how much soil to cover them with. My sweet basil seeds needed a decent amount of space, and 1/4-1/2 inch of fine soil coverage.
Give your seeds a good watering, but don’t overdo it! Different plants all need different amounts of water, but a good soaking is the first step to seed starting. Don’t completely saturate your poor plant. You first of all don’t want to be giving your Valentine a cup of mud as their gift. Secondly, a good rule of thumb – if your jar is see through – is to pour enough water so that just the soil is moist (not sopping) throughout with a little bit of water along the bottom with the beans/pebbles. My potting soil was really dried out, so I had to use a decent amount of water to get everything moist.
Finally, cut a little card out of some cute cardstock and punch a hole in the upper left.Â Valentines are the one medium in which it’s totally okay and encouraged to make lame puns, so to round out this Valentine, I added “You wanna be startin’ somethin’” to the tag. You can, of course write whatever message you like inside if you’re not as much of an MJ fan as we are. ;)Â If your Valentine is completely lost when it comes to plants, you might want to also include some instructions on the basic care and keeping of seeds:
- water regularly but not too much
- keep in a warm, light-filled area
- remember to transplant to a bigger pot with good drainage once they’ve sprouted
Tie your card to the jar with some embroidery floss wrapped twice around (once around just looked too thin to me), and secure it with a cute bow, trimming excess string from your bow tails. For easy transportation, put a lid on the jar, but remember to let your Valentine know that lid needs to come off asap to avoid a moldy jar of dirt.
PS: After the seed has sprouted and been moved to a bigger pot to thrive, you can clean out the jar and have a cute votive candle holder to last year round.