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Welcome to my Seed Starting 101 guide! The most exciting thing to me after the holidays, is getting ready for starting my seeds. Here in this series, Seed Starting 101, I will share the step by step the processes I use for many seeds I start indoors starting in Winter. Please let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification on anything.
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Before deciding on what seeds to grow, you need to start with a garden plan. There are many online tools to help you with this, or if you are like me, just sketch it out with pen and paper.
First and foremost, grow what your family will eat. If they hate Brussel sprouts, then don’t grow them. Really think about the food you currently eat. Do you eat pasta with red sauce once a week, once a month? Pizza sauce? Salsa?
I think about all of these as well as fresh eating, to determine how many tomatoes to grow. Basically I grow as many as I possibly can because I love tomatoes in all forms, and can up any that we don’t eat fresh, in some way shape or form.
If you are new to preserving food, the easiest way is in the freezer. See my article The Benefits of Freezing Your Tomato Harvest. Or dehydrating. Do you buy frozen veggies? Than grow them and freeze your own! And don’t forget to grow some extras for your friends or your family. I sell extra starts, so I can make a little extra money to cover my costs. See how I sell them here: How to Make Money Selling Plants at Home
Ideally, save most of your own seed from year to year. As the plants adapt to your soil and growing conditions, they become stronger plants, so that is the absolute best seed you can use. But if you haven’t saved your own seed, no worries. Something for you to think about later in the season.
Ask your gardening friends if they are up for swapping seeds, that is a great way for you both to save a little money. Or go in on a seed order together and then share! If you need to buy seeds, now is the time if you haven’t done so already. I like to shop for any seeds I am planning to buy, before the years end. Lots of them will sell out quick, so don’t wait too long to get your order in.
Some of the first things you will start by seed indoors, are onions, asparagus, artichokes, celery, peppers and tomatoes. So if you plan to grow any of these, get those seeds first. And don’t worry, you can always plant more if you acquire more seeds. Ask me how I know. My family would say I am a serious seed addict! You may want to also check out my How to Keep Your Seed Stash Organized article.
I actually consider the beginning of the new planting year, when my garlic goes in, in the fall. It is the first thing that I plant for the new year. I usually get it planted around the middle of October. It is one of the easiest thing to grow and keeps very well. If you didn’t get it in in the fall, you can still plant it in the spring. But planting it in the fall allows more time for them to grow which results in larger garlic heads.
Other things that can be planted before the end of the calendar year, are peppers, celery and onions. All of these will do fine if you plant them in December, you just have to be prepared to babysit the plants indoors if you don’t have a heated greenhouse. Not many people have the space in their homes to devote to seed starting to begin with, so starting this early, that is something you really need to think about. Do you have the space and the time to babysit the seedlings?
I prefer to start planting after the craziness of the holidays is over. I usually begin with onions. Other things you can start really early are celery, hot peppers, asparagus and artichokes. A little bit later, tomatoes and bell peppers and cold tolerant veggies. I hope you will follow along with my Seed Starting 101 series, and plant along with me! Home grown food is best!