When I was a kid, I hated my parents’ garden. Mostly because it restricted where I could play, required me to weed, and determined the direction in which I could blow dandelions. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to love the feeling accomplishment found in growing my own vegetables. The accomplishment is even greater when I start those vegetable plants from seed. Sure, you can buy plants, but it is cheaper, more satisfying, and you’ll have more selection if you start from seed. (and no, that’s not a picture of my garden. Wish it was though!)
Each year, I find myself planting later than I should, but it is still not too late! You, too, can start your own vegetable garden!
Here’s what you need to start:
1. Seed starting kit. I like these. You can find them at all home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware), as well as many drug stores, Walmart/Target and other home stores. They come in various sizes – from 9 – 72 pellet sizes. I also like them because you can keep the plastic container and buy pellet refills. But, if you don’t like that option, you can also purchase small pots and potting soil and start seeds that way.
2. Seeds. Determine what you want to grow and buy the seeds. Some people are picky about organic seeds, name brands etc. You can find most seeds in the stores listed above, or at local nurseries.
3. A way to label. Always mark your seeds somehow – whether drawing a grid on paper, or by writing on markers. Seedlings tend to look similar and unless you know the difference by sight, you’ll want to know what you’re growing!
4. Water and Light. Keep your seedlings well lit and watered. More on this later.
Getting Started – When to Plant
When to plant seeds depends on what zone you live in. If you don’t know, you can check here. Most seed packets, or many online sites, will tell you to plant your seeds a certain number of weeks back from the last expected frost date for your zone. However, a well-known seed company, Burpee, lets you enter your zip code in their website and it will tell you when to plant. Many seeds can be planted directly outdoors, and some should be started indoors and transplanted.
However, I have to admit that most years, I don’t look at this calendar. And I rarely plant anything directly outside. I start all my seeds indoors and plant them outside sometime in May when I get time. So yeah, there’s the right way to do it, and then, there’s good enough. And, I’ve never had my way fail on me. See, planting seeds isn’t an exact science!
Planting the seeds
I’m gonna show you how I do it, because, well, it’s my blog. So, here goes:
1. Get out your seeds and your pellet pack.
2. Fill the container with water to expand the peat pellets.
3. Once they are full size, it’s time to plant! I use a toothpick to dig a small hole in the dirt. Then, place your seed and cover it up with dirt.
4. Label the seed so you won’t forget what you planted.
5. Put on the lid and place in a window or in a sunny spot.
Make sure you keep the peat pellets watered, but don’t drown them. Depending on the seed germination time, you should start to see the seedlings popping out of the dirt in a few weeks. So exciting!
In future weeks, I’ll give you some ideas of how to plant your seeds outdoors regardless of your available space. Apartment or house, you can grow your own vegetable garden!