A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger asked if I’d started on the spring garden as yet, which given our cold, gray skies, hadn’t even been given a thought. The organic gardening stores hadn’t started hawking their wares yet – normally my cue to get started. Then my neighbor awesomely presented me with a massive amount of seeds for my birthday, which I am now obligated to successfully bring to fruition.
I know a few folks that start their seeds indoors in the late winter but all the information ever shared with me on the subject indicates a rather tedious, involved, and expensive process requiring lots of space. There are discussions about grow lights, essential-nutrients, grow cells, and basements have been remodelled into growing facilities. It’s enough trying to find space to over-winter my non-hardy plants so I just figured, “forget that – leave that to the professionals and just buy the seedlings! There’s no space to house all that and I’m not investing in grow lights!”
So how am I going to successfully bring those gifted seeds to fruition? By applying small scale processes. First, I layed out a plan of what our spring garden and summer garden should provide, re-read my books on Square Foot Gardening (SFG) and adapted my plan to available space based on the plants we’d like to have and how much growing time we’re likely to be blessed with (i.e. the amount of weeks between the last and first frost dates). Some of the plants will be direct sown into their spots (i.e. carrots, radishes, peas) while others will be started indoors and then transplanted based on the last frost date (i.e. leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini); some will be succession planted and others will be fixed.
SFG principles eradicate the need to start dozens of one plant and requiring a huge amount of space to house them until their ready for transfer. I simply look up how much can be planted in a square foot (i.e. 16 carrots, 8 pea plants, 1 tomato plant), determine the amount of plants required based on production level and then I double the amount of seeds I start to allow for choosing the strongest for transplanting. So we’d only need one each of a massive producers like cucumber or zucchini; thus, I’ll plant two seeds of each and only transplant the healthiest later. Also, since I’m staggering the planting dates, all of the seeds aren’t being planted the same time requiring a basement laboratory.
All that having been said – I’m late! Last frost date for my area is March 11 – 20 and my Sweet Chocolate Paprika (sweet pepper) should’ve been started 7 weeks prior as it needs 19 weeks til harvest. Oh well, we’ll do the best we can.
If you’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a garden or getting an allotment, I would love to encourage you to do so – it’s SOOOO much fun and is one of the best parts of my day! Pam (another fellow blogger) posted a great 5 step checklist on the subject; maybe it’ll help in your decision-making process!