Seed Starting 101: Planting Peas

Spring Gardening Begins with Peas (Updated February 2020) Soon it will be the first day of spring…..have you got your peas planted yet? Planting peas is usually my first act of getting the garden going for the year. It is the first thing that gets planted outside in the garden in the new year, along with fava beans. Also known as broad beans. Fava beans are simple, just stick them in the ground, down about an 1″ or 2″, and you are good to go. Peas are a little more tricky, so in this article I will share my tips for planting peas successfully. Other Gardening Tips you may be interested in: The Secret to Easy Gardening, No Weeding with Mulch! Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment How to Freeze Your Green Bean Harvest Our favorite homesteading and gardening tools in our Amazon Store! Fresh Peas From the Garden Taste the Best! If you or your family are not a fan of peas, have you ever tried them fresh from the garden? Eating raw peas fresh from the garden is like eating candy. They are so sweet and crisp and yummy! Nothing like store bought canned peas which in my opinion are just gross. Freezing peas from the garden are almost as good as fresh. See my article on freezing beans, I use the exact same method for freezing peas. After shelling them of course! Than blanch and follow the same exact procedure. Although you can preserve peas by canning them, I find them unappealing preserved that way. So give them another try and grow them yourself and you will see. Types of Peas There are three different types of peas: shelling peas, snap peas and snow peas. Shelling Peas: shelling peas are the ones…

Seed Starting 101: Planting Pepper Seed

(updated Feb 2020) Today I will be writing a guide on planting pepper seed indoors in winter, and I will also share some tips on how to successfully grow peppers in a short cool growing season!  You may be interested in these related posts: Seed Starting 101: Planting Tomato Seed Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing Our favorite Homesteading and Gardening tools in our Amazon Shop! Some of My Favorite Pepper Varieties for Planting in the Pacific Northwest: I grow peppers in the Pacific Northwest in gardening zone 8b. We have a cool, short growing season, so it is hard to find peppers that do well here. I am including a couple of varieties that have done well for me here. Oda Peppers:  These are the most beautiful royal purple color. Worth growing for the sheer beauty of the color! Thin walled and yummy for snacking or salads. These have grown really well for me and are worth growing just for their beauty. They have a thin white wall and their flavor is not my favorite. But if you are looking for a stunning variety to grow, this is my favorite for that! King of the North: This is a short season pepper and it has done really well for me, both for flavor and productivity. Turns red when fully ripe. Very productive large fruits. The photo below, I took the first week of June last year in my unheated greenhouse. Purple Beauty: Purple Beauty has become a fast favorite. It produces well and early for me, and keeps up well with King of the North. Tastes great too! Planting Pepper Seed: A Step by Step Guide If you haven’t checked out my Seed Starting 101 Series: Essential Seed Starting Equipment  post…

How to Disinfect Seedling Supplies and Plant Pots

Before you begin planting your seed, it is very important to disinfect seedling supplies and plant pots! When the holidays are over, I get that itch to begin gardening again. Browsing through seed catalogs on those slow winter days also stirs those gardening desires. After I place my seed orders, I set aside time to disinfect my seed starting supplies and later before transplanting, I will also disinfect all my planting pots. Related Articles You May Be Interested In: Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment The Best Way to Store Your Seeds How to Make Money Selling Seedlings Scroll down to see more related articles on starting seeds or seedling care, at the bottom of this post! Our favorite Homesteading & Gardening things in our Amazon Store! Why You Should Wash and Disinfect Seedling Supplies and Plant Pots It is super important to wash and sterilize your seed starting pots and supplies, so that your young tender seedlings don’t pick up any viruses or pathogens from them. If they do, that will weaken or kill your seedlings. After all the hard work that goes into starting your seeds, you don’t want all your efforts to go to waist because you used dirty supplies. Of course, buying new seed starting pots each year, would be the easiest way to avoid this step, but this is not an option when money is tight. Don’t forget to also wash and disinfect any planting trays or tools that you use for seed starting as well. Why You Must Wash the Pots Prior to Disinfecting Before you can disinfect all your planting trays and seedling pots and 6 packs, you must first remove any and all dirt or potting soil residue from them. This is important, because any…

How to Harden Off Your Seedlings (a must do step before planting in the garden!)

This post explains how to harden off your seedlings and why it is very important to do so before planting them in the garden! Have you grown your own vegetable starts by seed? Or flowers? Have you spent months taking care of them? Are you excited to plant them out in the garden? DID YOU HARDEN THEM OFF FIRST?!?!? Please read on to find out more about this critical step that many new gardeners are not aware of. Other related articles you may be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing How to Build a Straw Bale Cold FrameOur favorite gardening and homesteading equipment in our Amazon Shop! What Does Hardening Off  Your Seedlings Even Mean? Simply put, hardening off is the act of slowly allowing your baby plants, to grow accustomed to living outdoors. Here they have grown up so well indoors, being pampered by you for months! They have had just the right amount of heat and light. Just the right amount of water, the right soil, everything is so perfect! And now you want to plant them outside in your garden where there is wind, fluctuating temperatures, harsh UV rays from the sun! If the baby seedlings go from one extreme to the other, they will not fair well. They need time. They need a slow introduction. They need to acclimate. This is what hardening off is. What to do Before Hardening Off Your Seedlings Outdoors: OK, before you even begin hardening off your seedlings outside, there are a couple of things you can to inside to help them begin their adjustment to moving outside. One thing I like to do is place a oscillating fan on my seedlings once they have germinated and I remove the dome lids off…

How to Build a Straw Bale Cold Frame

Make a simple DIY straw bale cold frame using old windows, to either harden off your plant starts or to extend your growing season! Today I am going to share with you how I created more room for my plant starts. My growing rack was getting full, and I came up with this simple DIY project, making a straw bale cold frame with old windows we had lying around. Articles you may be interested in: How to Harden Off Your Seedlings Simple Easy Gardening, Use Mulch for No Weeding! Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing Our gardening and homesteading favorites in our Amazon Store! DIY Straw Bale Cold Frame It’s so simple, it will only take a moment to tell you how we built it. We bought six bales of straw. The straw will be reused later, for mulching in the garden. Don’t use hay if you want to mulch with it. Hay has lots of seeds in it, straw has less. We had 3 windows lying around, that had blown their seals. So six bales of straw was the perfect size for us. Depending on what old windows or glass doors you can get your hands on, you may need to buy more or less. We simply placed 2 bales end to end on the long side, 1 bale on each end, and placed the windows on top. Hardening Off Plants in a Cold Frame We built this cold frame to have additional space for our veggie starts. I needed my growing rack to start peppers and tomatoes, but it was full of celery, asparagus and artichokes. If it is still cool out, this works very well. We had a heat spell this week, where it got in the high 70’s and low 80…

How to Grow Lavender from Seed using the Winter Sowing Method

Learn how to grow lavender from seed easily and simply using the winter sowing method! I have been using the winter sowing method to grow lavender for the last couple of years. It has been really easy to grow a lot of lavender this way. Who doesn’t want to grow more lavender in their garden, right? It’s definitely one of my favorites! Other related articles you may be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing My 2018 Winter Sowing Results Are In! How to Organize your Seed Stash Our favorite Gardening and Homesteading items in our Amazon Shop! Collecting Your Own Lavender Seed When the lavender is in full bloom in the summer time, it is really easy to save some of your own seed from plants you may already have. Trim a couple of branches from just below all the blooms. Use a rubber band wrapped tightly around the stems, and hang them up to dry somewhere dry in your house. After they are good and dry, I place them in a ziplock back for storage until seed planting time. Be absolutely certain they are 100% dry, or they will mold. Then throw them in the freezer until you are ready to plant. Winter Sowing Basics If you are not familiar with Winter Sowing, it is the process of using milk jugs, as little greenhouses. Please see my article Seed Sowing 101: Winter Sowing, for more details about how to do it, with a step by step guide. You plant them, and set them outside in January. Super duper easy! Planting the Lavender Seed You can plant any hardy perennials in January when you use the winter sowing method. This goes for lavender too. So collect all your winter sowing materials, and your lavender seed…