Hooray! For those of us in Zone 5, it is time to start planning our gardens!!! Actually, at the end of last summer I made a list of what all I wanted to grow this year. It’s based on recipes Matt and I have enjoyed, what I’ve had success/failure with in the past, what I consider my “usuals” and I like to try at least one new thing each year. All throughout winter, I’ve been staring longingly at my list. I know it is still winter, and will be for a while…but, if you are like me and obsessed with growing most everything by seed, now is when you get that itch and know that soon you will get to scratch.
As I write this, it is cold and overcast out. I was brave and went outside to photograph my garden plot for you to see:
Looks sad, doesn’t it? At least it’s not covered in snow like it was last weekend. Before you know it, it will be full of life and color and flavor. At least that’s what I’m telling myself – the “before you know it” part. If you don’t have a garden plot, you can still grow your own food. Container gardening is pretty awesome and many cities have community gardens where you can rent a plot. Both are great options!
If you’ve never gone the seed route before, I highly recommend it. It’s cheap, it’s fun and it is so very satisfying and rewarding come harvest time. It’s not hard. Don’t let the back of the seed packet or garden shows on TV or gardening books overwhelm you. Just keep it simple and have fun with it. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Speaking of cheap…now is the time many stores have seed packets 10/$1. You can’t get much cheaper than that! In the past, Walgreens and Rural King have both offered this deal (am I the only one that thinks it’s a bit odd that Walgreens sells seeds? I guess most stores nowadays sell a little bit of everything…). I’m sure other stores have too. Check weekly ads and then have fun picking out what you want to grow. Even if you don’t find 10-cent packets, it’s still a better deal to buy seeds than plants.
There are a lot of seeds in one packet – you most likely won’t use them all. What to do? Store leftovers in the fridge for next year or…and this is super fun…host a seed exchange party! Have everyone bring seeds and then exchange some of this for some of that.
Now is also the time to start saving containers to grow your seeds in. There is really no need to buy those “starter kits” you see at the stores. You can use just about anything you can poke a hole in the bottom of: egg cartons, yogurt containers, styrofoam cups, plastic cups, etc. Look at what you have and be creative. Save something bigger (like a leftover box from a restaurant) to put the smaller containers in so when you water your seeds, the water doesn’t just run out the bottom and ruin your floor or table or whatever it’s sitting on. You can use your containers year after year after year.
Here are some examples from previous seasons:
You will need to make some room by a sunny window to put your seeds once you get them planted. I usually have to rearrange a few things so it’s a good idea to look around your house now and start thinking about where you want to put everything.
The only other thing you’ll need is some potting soil. Don’t be fooled or tempted by those “starter” soils either – just get normal potting soil and you should be fine. At least that’s what I’ve always done and my seeds have always grown.
Have fun preparing for your garden! I plan on planting my seeds at the end of this month or early March and I can’t wait!