GARDENING SERIES PART 2:  A TIMELINE: DECIDING WHICH VEGGIES TO GROW & STARTING SEEDS

GARDENING SERIES PART 2: A TIMELINE: DECIDING WHICH VEGGIES TO GROW & STARTING SEEDS

There are several things to consider when trying to decide which vegetables to grow in your garden. First of all, you want to pick vegetables that you like to eat. You will also have to consider what the hardiness zone is where you live. Knowing your zone will tell you when your last frost date is, so that you can pick your vegetables and plant your seeds accordingly.

Here on the Eastern Shore, we are in Zone 8. Our last frost date is April 1 st and our first frost date is December 1st. Now is the time to get those seeds growing! Click here to find your zone.

Other things to consider are the purpose of the vegetables you want to grow. Do you want to can vegetables to have in the winter? Do you want to eat fresh veggies or do you want to freeze them? What is already grown locally? You could pick veggies that you can’t get from other local farmers. It really is up to you!

Here are some vegetables suggestions that are productive plants that are relatively easy to grow.

Tomatoes

Zucchini squash

Peppers

Cabbage

Bush beans

Lettuce

Beets

Carrots

Chard

Radishes

Marigolds to discourage pests and add some color!

Here is a step by step guide to planting your seeds.

1.Fill clean containers with a moistened potting mix made for seedlings. Don’t use regular potting soil, as it may not be fine enough for seeds to root through properly. There are seed starter kits you can purchase that work well. I like to use a cardboard egg carton to start my seeds. When it’s time to move them to a larger pot, I just transplant the whole thing. A fun way for kids to get involved is to use eggs shells to start the seeds in. They fit perfectly back into the egg carton, and fit nicely on a kitchen windowsill. Be sure to rinse the egg shells well beforehand, and  poke a small hole in the bottom of the egg shell for drainage. When they are ready to transplant, put the entire thing in the pot or in the ground! 

2.Plant your seeds according to the seed packet. Most seeds can simply be gently pressed into the mixture; you can use the eraser end of a pencil to do so. When planting seeds, plant the largest seeds in the packet to get the best germination rate.

3.Cover containers with plastic to keep them from drying out too quickly. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick for ventilation.

4.Water newly started seeds carefully. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Try using a meat-basting syringe (turkey baster), which will dispense the water effectively without causing too much soil disruption.

5.When seedlings start to appear, remove the plastic and move containers into bright light.

6.When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, prepare individual pots filled with a potting mix with plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new pots and water well. Keep seedlings out of direct sun for a few days, until they’ve had a chance to establish themselves in their new pots.

Things to Keep in Mind:

You may have to soak, scratch, or chill seeds before planting, as directed on packet.

Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F

Find a place in the kitchen where there is natural bottom heat—on top of the refrigerator or near the oven are good spots. (Move the tray if the oven is on, as it may become too hot!)

If you keep your seedlings next to a window, remember to rotate the containers every so often to keep the seedlings growing evenly. If you’re using a grow light, remember to raise it a few inches above the tallest seedling every couple of days.

We hope you enjoy choosing your vegetables and getting your seeds started! In the next series, we will learn where and how to transplant your vegetable seedlings. We will also learn about the tools and supplies needed to keep this garden growing. Thanks for reading! God bless.

Adapted from:

americanmeadows.com

alamanc.com

Parkseed.com

Mar 1st 2019 QCF

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