Inexpensive Herb Centerpieces
Because my club needed 15 inexpensive centerpieces / member give-aways for an annual mid-August meeting, I volunteered to grow some herbs to create centerpieces. I have planted compact/dwarf or trailing varieties of the following: basil, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, johnny-jump-ups, and nasturium. I started 20 seeds of each a few weeks back and now have 2-3 inch plants with 4-6 leaves per plant, except the nasturtium which is supposed to be a 12-inch dwarf that is already 10 inches tall. They are currently in seed-starter trays, about a 1 inch square for each plant.
My question is, what would your next step be, keeping in mind we're trying to really minimize expenses? With my own herbs, I move them directly from seed trays into my large 50-gallon outdoor herb pot, but the centerpiece pots will (obviously) be substantially smaller.
-- Is it better or necessary to move them up to individual 2- or 3-inch pots to allow each plant to develop in its own space? If so, this will mean purchasing pots as I only keep about 20-30 pots on hand for myself, and I've got roughly 130+ plants that germinated.
-- The alternative is to move them directly in the whatever we decide to use as centerpieces, which probably will be no larger than 8-inch pots, and I'm hoping to get 5-7 plants in each. But will "crowding" them early-on in their growth cycle prevent them from developing well?
-- At what point would you recommend transplanting from the seed trays?
Also, I'd love to hear any suggestions for the actual centerpiece containers. My original plan was to find inexpensive toy buses, cars, trains, etc at dollar-stores or Goodwill (transportation theme for our meeting), but so far I haven't found anything large enough. At this point, anything that will be pretty and/or whimsical will be fine ... and they do not have to be identical.