Follow this easy guide to start your very own garden!
These seeding and planting techniques will get you growing vegetables that you can harvest throughout the summer and fall.
- Soil - It is recommended to use a seed starting soil.
- Seed trays with a cover - Clean the trays well, and have a cover that creates a controlled humid environment - it is also possible to use a paper egg carton as a tray, or news paper strips that you roll and fold into little pots (create them to be roughly the size of an egg carton slot). To cover your DIY seed trays you can use any clear plastic container. The plastic box that salad greens come in or the lid to the BBQ chickens from the grocery store work great.
- Seeds - There are plenty of easy seeds to grow, if you are seeking something that is no muss no fuss we recommend starting with beans, beets, lettuce, peas, radishes, carrots, swiss chard, zucchini, tomatoes, marigolds, nasturtiums, and sweet peas - be sure to keep your seed packets as there is valuable information noted on them.
It is important to choose only non-invasive plants for your garden. Invasive plants can cause great harm to the environment, and it is up to all of us to garden wisely. For more information on invasive plants, check out PlantWise.
1. Make a Plan
If you plan ahead, you can make sure that everything you plant will germinate at the right time so that you can transplant and harvest during recommended weeks. For this, we suggest you mark your dates on a calendar.
- These dates will vary depending on what you plant; guides can be found on your seed packets or alternatively, you can find planting charts specific to your location online.
- By sowing seeds at different intervals throughout spring, you can have continuous harvests in the summer and fall.
2. Seed Starting
Read the recommendations on the seed packages that you have selected. When you distribute the seeds into the seed tray/s be mindful of overcrowding, and place each seed in the soil covering them just enough without smothering them. The amount of soil needed to cover each seed is equal to the diameter of the seed. Once the seeds are planted, water them lightly and cover with the tray lid. Keep the tray indoors where they will be in the sun.
Remove the tray lid every so often to allow fresh air to circulate, you don’t want the soil to mold, and remember to water. Soil should be kept moist, but not soggy.
3. Harden off Seedlings
When your seeds have more than two leaves, they are ready to be hardened off. To do this, move them to a spot that is a few degrees cooler (70’F/21’C).
4. Prepare Your Garden
While your seedlings are hardening off, it is time to get your garden ready. You want to be sure to use soil that is filled with nutrients. A good way to do this is to add compost.
Each type of seed will have its own timing to be moved to the garden. This will be outlined on your seed packet (and should be noted already in your calendar). The seedlings’ roots should have reached to the bottom of the seed tray.
Transplanting is best on a warm day (not too hot or cold) that corresponds with the suggested planting time on the seed packet.
Take your seedlings to your garden and dig a hole for them to fit. Gently remove the seedlings from their trays by loosening the soil from the edges. This can be done by pushing on the sides and the bottom.
If you are using a paper egg tray then you can cut apart the partitions and gently tear the sides of each seedlings paper slot so the roots can more easily grow through after placing the egg slot and seedling into its garden hole.
If you used newspaper, you can place it directly in the soil as the paper will biodegrade.
Once the plant is placed in the hole, fill in any remaining space. Once in place, drench the soil with water, but don’t wash the soil away. Once your seedlings are planted, be sure to keep them well watered.