It’s that time of year when leaves are budding, the grass is finally turning green and gardens are beginning to show life. One of my favorite seasons of the year is Spring! I just LOVE all the colors and new life. But mostly because I get to plant a garden, YAY!
It’s been a few years and I’m in a completely different climate than I have been used to for the last 20 or so years. In Arizona, I would have planted in the middle to end of January and by March I was harvesting and replanting. Summer is a bit sketchy because of the blaze of the sun, but with sun screens and careful attention, we were able to grow almost all year round. In the hottest parts of the summer, 2 to 3 waterings a day were often required. Some plants really just can’t tolerate the heat and dryness, like peas...even when I put them in the shady spot with lots of soft breezes, sigh. No peas for me.
This year, we are in the Midwest and it’s time to plant, but there is a chance that we could have another freeze up to around the 15th of April. Sheesh. The solution is to start plants inside, you can use a heat lamp, or my preferred way is to put them in a window sill so they can get all the natural light. If it’s still a little too cold, you can use a heat mat.
And the best part of gardening is that you can do it even on a tight budget! We started with some egg cartons that we’d been saving, but you can be creative with whatever you have. An old 2 liter, lol plastic Easter eggs that my grandson found in the park yesterday could even work. Your imagination is your only limitation!
Where you really don’t want to scrimp on are the seeds, non gmo ( plants genetically modify naturally due to environmental factors, but we are talking about the kind that occurs in a lab), heirloom, organic, these are all the keywords we are looking for in seeds. You can find organic seeds pretty cheaply too.
The other area you don’t want to use inferior quality products is in your soil. Your soil is CRUCIAL to growing the best plants possible. This is where most of the nutrients are coming from for your plants so if you want nutritious foods, you have to use nutrient rich soils. So much of this nutrient rich soil has been destroyed across the planet through mono cropping and land development, but we can begin to change that the more we work with the soil around our homes. I could really diverge here so let’s just leave it for now, but there will be more on this topic in a later post.
We used a really simple system to denote which plants are which in the egg cartons, color coding and a legend. You could make little flags, plant flags, whatever works for you. If you do use the method that I used, just be careful as you water so that the color doesn’t dilute or fade.
The best way to tell what depth to plant your seed is to look at the seed itself. Is it big or small? The bigger the seed, the further down it needs to be planted, the smaller, the less depth. A teeny tiny strawberry seed is pretty much right on the surface, whereas a sunflower seed is quite a bit bigger and requires burying in the soil.
I also plant at least 2 seeds (usually 3 or 4) to ensure that a plant comes up in each cup, you never know if one is a dud or too weak to survive. It is always best to plant more, than less.
Another way to sprout your seeds is to place them in a moist paper towel in a warm place that isn’t going to get direct sunlight. My husband likes to put them on top of the refrigerator. For me, this doesn’t work because I am an out of sight, out of mind kind of gal. If I can’t see it, I tend to forget.
Once you’ve planted them, it’s very important to not allow the cartons to dry out. I check on them in the morning and a few times throughout the day but if you haven’t got that kind of time, try to check on them at least once in the morning and again at night. And before long, you will start to see babies sprouting from the soil!
Happy Planting! We'd love to see your gardens in the comments!