Quarantine has left many of us with new habits, some including gardening and more around the home projects. Planting a garden is a wonderful way to have fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Even if you don’t have a large space for a garden plot you can still have plenty of room to plant in containers, pots, or even smaller raised garden beds. While different regions have different planting times for starting your seeds. Depending on where you live and what you will be planting in your garden, starting seeds for your garden can be helpful in the process.
Starting Seeds Indoors
Before starting your seeds, be sure to read the packet or do a little research about how long before planting you should get your seeds started. In many cases, the time will be between six and eight weeks but can be longer or shorter depending on what you are planting. Additionally, the packet should give you an idea of when the seed is best to plant based on your region. You should time the seeds based on that guideline.
Starting seeds can be easy with seed starting mix or potting soil. It’s best to break it apart and then moisten it. It is best to avoid outdoor soil or soil with added fertilizers as seeds won’t need the extra fertilizer or organic materials from nature and too much can actually cause problems for a starting seed.
Once you have prepped your soil, it is time to fill your seed starting trays or other containers 2/3rds full. Put a few seeds in each container or section of your tray and cover them with more of the dampened dirt/mix. Add a little bit of water and place the containers in a warm, sunny place. Cover them with a thin sheet of plastic wrap or plastic seed starting domes to control the humidity and help the seeds sprout.
Starting Seeds Outdoors
Some plants, like many flowers and some vegetables like squash and beans, do better when they are started outdoors. These are often described as “direct sow” seeds because they are typically planted directly into the ground instead of being started in pots. This is most often the case with plants that germinate and grow quickly, since they are likely to rapidly outgrow indoor growing spaces. If you want to get a jump on these seeds, you’ll need to grow them outdoors.
If you have a greenhouse set up, you can start a variety of seeds, including those you might otherwise start indoors. Even if you don’t have a dedicated greenhouse set up, you can replicate the benefits by taking gallon water or milk jugs, cutting off the bottoms and placing it over the seeds you wish to start. If nothing else, a tent made of plastic sheeting can give the same effect.
If you don’t want to start the seeds directly in the soil, small flower pots filled with the same seed started material you would use for indoor seed starting can be used. This will provide room for the plants root development while still fitting into a greenhouse for warmth and weather protection. Once the plants outgrow their greenhouses or fill their pots, they are ready to transfer to the soil.
When it comes time to plant seeds that were started either indoors or in pots, the process is pretty simple. Indoor plants should be placed in a partially shaded area that is protected from the wind for a few hours each day, gradually exposing to more and more sunlight and wind for seven to ten days before planting. Once you are ready to actually plant, dig a hole slightly larger than the container you started your seed in and add more starting soil to the bottom of it. Remove any excess sprouts from each starter, leaving the strongest as you transfer the plant and its surrounding soil into the hole. Fill it with soil then water.
Growing a garden can be very rewarding, especially if you are growing fruit and vegetables that you will get to have on your own table in the future. There can be a lot of work early on but the rewards are worth it to see the beauty that nature can bring you.