Starting a Garden From Seed (When You Have No Idea What You're Doing)
I'll let you in on a little secret, friend.
When I started planning a garden this year,
I had no idea what I was doing.
Since our move, we have space for a much bigger garden so I thought, "Hey, why don't I save some money and start everything from seed?".
Piece of cake, right? Hah!
Don't get scared away now. It's not really that bad when you know how to do it. Which I didn't.
I made plenty of mistakes. Not all of my seeds sprouted. Some of my seedlings were fine one day and dead the next. I didn't know how much to water. I forgot about them.
I want you to know, friend, that if you want to start a garden from seed but have no idea what you're doing, you're not alone. That's why I'm writing this post. Even though I'm definitely not an expert on the subject, I figured I would share with you how I started my garden from seed so that when the time comes for you to plan your garden, you can give it a go!
Ready? Let's get started.
1. Make a Plan.
This is my favorite part! 3-4 months before you want to get your garden outside in the ground, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, grab a notebook and pen, and take a few hours to do a little brainstorming. I usually start with a list of all the things I'd like to grow and then compare that to how much ground I have available. If you have a small yard, you might have to cross a few things off, but that's ok! Some plants, like tomatoes and herbs, do well in containers, so you can always keep part of your garden on your back porch if need be.
2. Pick Out Your Seeds.
I purchased my seeds from Walmart because it was close to home and they had a large selection of organic and non-GMO, which is what I prefer. You can also find them at Lowe's and Home Depot, a local yard and garden store, online, or in a seed catalogue.
3. Pre-Germinate Your Seeds (optional).
The reason I say this step is optional is because I tried it and it worked well for me, but it is not necessary. It gives your little seeds somewhat of a head start in life and it gives you the ability to weed out any duds. Yes, it is one extra step, but it's not a hard one. If you want to try it, I would recommend this article.
4.Plant Your Seeds.
2 1/2 to 3 months before it is time to put them in the ground, set aside an afternoon to get your seeds started inside. You'll need your seeds, a sunny, south-facing window, potting soil, small containers, a hand shovel, water, and a towel or two (this is a messy process!). For my containers I used cardboard egg cartons, and they worked well. Keep a few larger containers on hand as well so that, later on, you can transplant any seedlings that get too big for their first home.
Quick Tip: Baby seeds love a steady, gentle warmth when they're germinating. I used a few strands of Christmas lights (not LED) we had in the garage and they worked wonderfully. Once all your seedlings have poked through the dirt and are leafing out, you won't need the lights any more.
5. Care For Your Seedlings.
There are two main things that your seedlings need to survive. Sunlight and water. Make sure they are able to get a full day's worth of sun where they are sitting. When they grow bigger, you may need to turn the containers every few days so that your seedlings don't develop a permanent bend in their stems. As far as watering goes, seedlings like extremely moist soil. Water enough that the soil is saturated, but not so much that there are puddles that won't soak in. You should only need to water once a day, but if you happen to have a very warm, sunny day, it's a good idea to check your seedlings several times during the day to make sure they're not drying out.
6. Plant Your Garden!
When the weather has warmed up and there is no danger of frost during the night, you can plant your seedlings outside. Pick a warm, sunny day, keep a glass of iced tea nearby, and get some dirt under your fingernails!
There you have it, friend. If you want to start a garden from seed, I'm here to tell you that if I can do it, you can do it!
I hope this post has given you a few pointers and answered questions you may have had, but if you have more questions, or if you're a seed starting veteran and have a few tips to share, let me know in the comments below!
Happy Growing! :-)