Spring gardening, here we come!

Last Friday, we had an exciting morning- we planted the first of our little seedlings, set to go in our garden sometime next month!

A good friend and her son joined us, as they don't have their own garden but are eager to keep up the skills they have and get in more gardening practice, so you might see them around in my garden photos this summer. :)

Here are all the seeds, soaking the night before. I like to soak my seeds before I plant them, as this helps them to germinate a bit faster (good for impatient gardeners like myself!) and I also wonder if it helps us to achieve a higher germination rate (this part is merely speculative). It does make them a bit more difficult to handle when putting into the pots, but I still feel like it's worth it.

I got my peat pots and starter soil from Walmart, and though I know there are cheaper options out there (like toilet paper rolls, newspaper, egg cartons, etc.), it was still very cheap. About $2 (Can) per package of 20 or so pots (depending on the size- small or large), and then just over $2 for the bag of soil that should easily handle the bulk of my many seedlings. $10 was a small price to pay for the convenience!

Oh look, Caden even found his way into the picture (he did not, however, think that planting seeds was fun. We'll give him another year.)

Look at the beautiful, colored coordinated arrangement my friend came up with! The other seed labels are along the front, which you'll see in the next picture. What you see here is two rows each of broccoli and cauliflower, plus about 8 different herbs (this year I'm doing lavender, dill, basil, oregano, chives, cilantro, thyme and peppermint, plus my parsley that's out in the garden already), as well as a few huckleberry plants, just for fun.

There they are, on the outdoor table that we brought into the family room and set up in front of the large window to catch the sun. My darling friend even cleaned the window and tidied my porch, in case you could see it in the photos- sweet, isn't she? I got this little greenhouse thingamabob from my MIL, who got it who-knows-where. I love it, though!

Just today I noticed one of my broccoli seedlings poking his little green head up through the soil! Spring really is coming, and boy, am I ever ready!

Sometime in March, we'll be planting these seedlings, as well as onion sets, carrots, shelling and snap peas, spinach, several types of lettuce, radishes, turnips, beets and possibly something else I'm forgetting about. Around that time, we'll also start all of our warm weather seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, etc.) inside.

Where are you at with your garden plans? Have you started your seedlings yet? When do you plan to actually get outside and start planting? And are you as excited as I am???

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Pretty interesting post, enjoyed it. Please keep them comming!

  2. This is a wonderful blog and the gardening community is better off for it!
    Thanks!

  3. Nola, give it a month or two, and I bet you’ll get back more energy and feel more ready to garden again. I overdid it last year, too, and by November I didn’t want to see my garden ever again! But by late January, I was suddenly getting interested again and now I can’t wait. :)

    Kimi, can you use any sort of fencing to keep them out? It’s a shame to lose all of your hard work to little Peter Rabbits!

    Babychaser, don’t be nervous about it! Just know that some things you plant will work fantastic and some just won’t work. That’s how my first year went, and my second to some degree as well. My the things that did work were so exciting and gave me confidence to try again the next year and the next. Good luck!

    Lisa, I can think of only two things for your tomato issue. The first is to use as large of plants as possible. They’re more expensive, the bigger they are, but it would help you get off to a much better start. Or if you start them from seed, start them really soon so they have as long as possible.

    Also, when you want tomatoes to ripen quickly, you can try this trick I read in a gardening book last year. Take a kitchen knife (serrated edge works best) and run it through the dirt and roots around your tomatoes, in about a 1 foot diameter circle. Cutting the roots like this shocks the plant into thinking that it needs to quickly pour it’s energy into ripening the fruit faster, and it is supposed to help for an earlier harvest. I tried it a bit last year and it seemed to help somewhat. Maybe give it a try?

  4. Your plantings look great. We are in Iowa and can’t safely plant everything until mid May. what would you suggest for being able to harvest tomatoes before August 15? We usually buy plants and plant them by memorial Day and we still don’t harvest until 8/15. We are trying to get school started by then but it’s hard when I’m trying to can up tomatoes and such. Lisa

  5. I can’t even tell you how scared I am about gardening this year. My husband and I are novice (black thumb novices) and are giving this a go from zero experience. We’ve found a book on square foot gardening that looks like we can handle it, but we are not in a good location for sun. We’re in a little canyon with trees high on both sides. Hopefully our seeds will arrive any day now and we’ll start the handful of seedlings that need to be started this early. I’m afraid, very afraid! :) Thanks for the glance at your seeds!

  6. I need to get thinking about it, if it’s going to happen! Last time I tried, it was a disaster as rabbits ate everything! But I am willing to try again. :-) Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Your blog has put me in the mood for spring! We still have snow here in MN so it will be a while before we’ll plant outside but we usually have something growing indoors (basil for pesto, rosemary, etc.).

    Love the photos, your children (and your friend’s son) are so adorable!

  8. I want spring! We have tons of snow still and are currently getting another storm. I can’t plant until at least mid to late May, but more touchy things its more like early June.

    I would normally have ordered my seeds and such, but this year I am not really sure what I am doing. I am a little lost at what to do. I don’t have much energy to think about it. My 3 year old insists we plant peas “mommy, when will the snow melt so we plant peas?” she asks all the time LOL I might not do as much this year…not sure. thanks for reminding me to think about this!!

    I wish I had your enthusiasm though. I think I overdid it last year so its affected how I feel.

  9. Lea, I did just notice that my greenhouse says Rubbermaid on the bottom. I wonder if you could find one or something similar at a hardware or garden store?

    Cynthia, I can totally understand not knowing where to start with the seed catalog! For your first year, I would definitely recommend starting out with varieties that are more basic and “normal”. Long orange carrots, romaine or green leaf lettuce, regular looking red tomatoes, squash varities you already know (like butternut or pumpkin), etc. I actually wrote about varieties I liked and disliked last year, and you can see those in this post:
    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2008/11/organic-gardening-carnival.html
    I also recently wrote some seed buying guidelines:
    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2009/01/buying-seeds-for-your-garden.html
    Hope that helps!

    Donielle, I completely understand! Ask me how my preserving is going next August or September with a newborn! Yikes!

    Terri, yes! You can just buy your seeds at Walmart and there is no shame in that game at all (to quote an old friend- I love her little saying!). Yes, the others are better quality, and there are reasons to buy heirloom seeds, but if you’re just starting out, go simple and just walk up to a seed stand and pick what looks good. Really. Hope you have a great first year!

    FishMama, it’s only my herbs and cruciferous (broc and caul) that I’m starting now. All my other spring veggies will go straight in the garden as seeds, so you’re really not behind at all!

    Laura, I’m blessed that I can start planting all of my spring veggies by March 15 (either slightly before or at my frost date). I know not everyone gets to plant quite this early, but maybe it’ll help to inspire everyone and get them pumped up for their own garden season?? :)

  10. Oh, I’m so happy for you! I’m so eager to start planting our seeds, but our last frost date here is May 4, so I’ll just watch your progress for the next couple of months!

  11. Thanks for the reminder! I think I missed my window for starting seeds, but I could get out there and prep the soil. We’ll plant out in April, so now would be a good time. (I know I should have in the fall, but my life was more than crazy.)

  12. 1st Time gardener here – Can I just buy seeds at Walmart (for convenience) or all the other a lot better quality?? Thanks for the help! Terri~

  13. I had big, big plans for a garden this year! But with the baby coming in April and the seedlings needing to go in the ground the middle of May, I figure I’ll be buying plants again this year. More expensive, but I don’t want all my seedlings to die whilst I’m on my babymoon! Cause I know they will. :-)

    At least this year I’ll be up and about at harvest time! Being in the 1st trimester last year left half our garden to go to waste.

  14. I got the Baker Creek catalog this year but am finding it a little too full of seed info for a beginner like me. (This will be our second year gardening.) Do you have any recommendations to help me with picking out seeds from their catalog? I would love to support them but I have no idea how to use half of their heirloom vegies. I don’t want to just buy seeds that I will not end up using. Do you just go through their catalog and buy the “normal” type seeds or are your vegies and herbs the heirloom type. Maybe I just need to look again at the catalog. If there is anything you can tell me to help me out it would be greatly appreciated!
    God Bless you and your family.
    ~Cynthia

  15. My daughter and I have done our first garden and we are pretty much at the same place as you guys (and we’re in Texas). Instead of soaking them we put them in moist paper towels inside ziplocks (my husband’s idea) and waited for roots, we are now waiting to see some color.
    I love that greenhouse thingy you have, if you ever find out where you MIL got it I’d love to know :) it’s so cool!

  16. Yep, they’re Baker Creek seeds! My favorite seed company, for sure! :)

  17. This is our second year of really trying to garden and we’re so excited. Like you, we’re desperately wishing for spring…our seeds will get planted next week…

  18. I love the system that you used! We are planning a rather large garden this year, and I am ever excited. This year is only our second year, and we decided to do everything from seeds.

    Are those Baker Creek seeds I see? That is where we got all of ours this year (we are just about an hour away from their farm) and I can’t wait to get into all of it. Thanks for sharing your wonderful system–love the color coding!

    Phoebe

  19. Planning my first garden this year with the kids. Need to do a bit more research first – thanks for the good ideas!