I've found that making healthier choices in food leads to a desire to grow your own food! That's how it happened for our family.
To begin a garden "adventure," I always suggest starting with Square Foot Gardening (or container gardening if you're in a borrowed space or have limited available land).
If you're new to gardening, learn from me…TAKE SMALL STEPS! It's a great idea to buy plants from a local greenhouse so that you can focus your time and efforts on building your garden area and adding good stuff to your soil instead of fretting over why your Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato seeds didn’t germinate!
Build garden + build soil = great accomplishment
If you’ve established your garden space, amended your soil, and have a season of gardening "under your belt", you might be ready to dive into starting your own seeds. Know this, you DO NOT need an elaborate setup for seed starting. The top of the refrigerator is a great, warm, spot to sprout seeds. A warm, sunny window provides some great “grow lights”. Remember my advice, “Learn from me…take small steps”? That being said, check out our “Germination Station”.
Here’s my system for seed starting. It’s definitely not the only way (or necessarily the easiest), but it works perfectly for us!
-Is it too late/too early to start seeds? I'll refer you to MY seed starting "bible." www.PlantingByColor.com
-Do I plant various seeds differently? The seed packets typically have good instructions for how to plant the seed inside. I never can remember the germination time, the plant spacing
-How deep do I plant a seed? A general "rule of thumb" is to cover the seed with dirt only as deep as the seed size. For example: Basil seeds are tiny, specks the size of black pepper and only should be covered with a sprinkling of soil.
-How long do I leave the seeds covered with a clear "dome"? When the seeds begin to sprout, just uncover them and be sure they are getting adequate light. A "shop light" is an inexpensive alternative to "grow lights."
-When do I water my seeds? It's best to combine your seed starting mix with some water before placing into your pots. This allows the soil to be damp without adding water that could disturb the newly placed seeds. I do this by combining seed starting mix and a little water in a bucket (with a little shovel) until the "dirt" can be squeezed into a ball. Be sure you CAN'T squeeze water out of the ball of dirt. If there's too much water, just add a bit more seed starting mix and stir again. Moniter the dirt over the next few days and use a spray bottle of water to keep the dirt moist. Once the seeds have sprouted, begin "bottom watering" by placing the pots in a tub/pan of water and allowing the soil to soak it up. Don't use a a watering can or cup! You could disturb the seedling and "wash away" your hard work!
Tips & Tricks
We get our vegetable, herb & flower seeds from seed saving family & friends and these places:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - www.rareseeds.com
Seed Savers - www.seedsavers.org
Sow True Seed - www.sowtrueseed.com
I could NOT plan my garden without www.GrowVeg.com SERIOUSLY! They feature a 30-day free trial too!! My favorite feature begins in the 2nd year of gardening with this service. Let me explain... It's best practice to rotate crops around your garden so that the soil isn't depleted of nutrients! Grow Veg shows an "alert" when I plan to plant a crop that isn't a good crop rotation! This feature ALONE is worth the $25 annual subscription!
Then, there's www.MySquareFootGarden.net Again, could NOT garden without this one! Based on your location in the United States and your area's "frost date", My Square Foot Garden offers a planting & transplating schedule by the week! I no longer have to wonder if it's time to plant cucumbers or is it too late to plant broccoli in the spring! I LOVE this tool! (And it's FREE!)
*These are not affiliate links, and we don't "earn" anything for recommedning them. These suggested companies helps are what WE use for planning, planting, and growing in our own gardens!*
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