The garden has begun in earnest this year. The unseasonably warm weather has everything popping up and getting started about a month earlier than what is normal so I was definitely late starting seeds this year. Late or not, they had to be started 🙂 This year I started more varieties from seed than last year. Primarily because I had collected enough seedling pots to properly start seeds and not rely on commercial seed starting kits (they are awful, please don’t waste your money…I have tried for 3 years with three different kinds of kits and every one of them is a failure).
The best way of starting seeds is by collecting or purchasing seedling pots from your local nursery (save everything). Before you plant any seeds in the pots, make sure they are washed and disinfected. You can then fill them to the top with organic soil-less potting medium. Once they are filled, make sure you water the potting medium until it is completely saturated. Before planting your seeds make sure you have appropriate markers to identify the seedlings once they come up (frankly at most stages a lot of the seedlings look alike…particularly different varieties of the same kind of plant, say squash). Plant two to three seeds in each pot (it isn’t wasteful…it is to ensure that you get a healthy seedling in each pot), you will thin them out as they leaf out.
Make sure your seedlings are well watered and covered in plastic or another covering until they sprout, once sprouted, you can keep them in a sunny spot and well watered for the next 6-8 weeks. About two weeks before you transplant them you will want to harden them off by leaving them outside for increasing intervals daily to acclimate them to their future home. Transplant these seedlings after any risk of frost has past (that is around May 8th here in central Ohio)…but with our weather, who knows 🙂
Starting your garden from seed is an economical and great method for both novice and experienced gardenders. Seeds can be used over two years giving you more plants for your money and it also allows you to plant more varieties of plants than your average nursery will carry!