Growing a Garden from Seed



I would like to preface this article by saying: however you want to start a garden is the best way to start a garden! I hope to inspire you, or any one person, to start a garden no matter how grand or how small it may be. The more people we can get growing, the better, in my opinion.

So now that you have gardening on your mind, consider starting your garden from seed! Sure you can go to your local plant nursery and buy fruit or vegetable starts, seedlings or nearly mature plants that you just ‘plug and play’. However, doing so is much more expensive and it REALLY limits the varieties available to your garden.

Flipping through seed catalogues is one of winters great pleasures, daydreaming of warmer days to come and is the perfect time to place your seed order. Starting a garden from seed does take some planning- you’ll want to start your seeds much earlier to get them ready to plant out after your average last frost date for your spring/summer garden. You’ll also want to become familiar with your plant hardiness zone as some plants do better/worse in certain areas, or you just have to be creative on when you start your seeds so that you can maximize your growing season. Here in my part of Northern California, I’m in zone 9a, which means that our average annual minimum temperature is between 20-25 degrees (F). Which means I’ll start my first seeds indoors (like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) in late January. So you can see why right now is a great time to get to planning! You can find your plant hardiness, or also known as your growing zone: here.

So what about planting dates? When to start seeds indoors? When to transfer seedlings outdoors? When to direct sow seeds outdoors? So many questions- don’t get overwhelmed! It’s all a learning process and a great lesson in patience. But if you can trust the process you’ll reap the rewards, I promise! Most counties will have your local university extensions planting guides online. This is written by people who live in your region and know what plants thrive, you can google your county’s planting online guide. Or you can also search your zip code with The Old Farmers Almanac here for specific dates for starting seeds indoors, transferring seedlings outdoors, and when to direct sow seeds outdoors. They even have preferred planting dates if you follow the moon cycles, pretty interesting!

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