It is finally that time of year in New England – the snow has melted, Tulips and Daffodils are emerging from their winter slumber, and the birds are once again singing. Spring has sprung!
My raised garden beds are free from their winter blanket, which means it is time to start my seedlings! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned on successfully starting my vegetable garden from scratch!
The first thing you need when starting your vegetables from seeds, is trays or pots, and soil. You can use store bought seed trays, however, one of my favorite ways to start my seeds is in recycled egg cartons! The cardboard cartons make transplanting to your garden bed extremely easy, you just cut the bottom of the pod and stick it in the ground. If you have plastic ones with the lid, it acts as it’s own little greenhouse!
When it comes to soil, even though you may want to use last years garden soil, using seed starting potting mix to start your seedlings will ensure that the soil is healthy, nutrient rich, and disease free. I have found many varieties that work great throughout the years, choose whatever works best for you!
When I first started gardening, I went through a lot of trial and error to get my seeds to germinate. My tomatoes would sprout, but my sweet peppers wouldn’t, yet my Lupine was flourishing. They were all in the same place, and watered the same, so what gives? The temperature.
Some seeds, like sweet peppers, require a warmer soil temperature to germinate. My 1920’s farmhouse is kept at a cool 66 degrees, which isn’t warm enough for seeds that prefer a temperature of 80. To combat this, I invested in a heat mat that helps warm the rooting area and promote germination. If you don’t have a heat mat, a warm place, like on top of your refrigerator, will do just fine!
In the event that your seeds do not germinate, there is one tried and true method to germinate your seedlings quickly! Moisten a paper towel and place a few seeds on it, roll it up, put it in a plastic bag or bottle, seal it and put it in a warm place (not in direct sunlight). In 5-7 days, you should have germinated seedlings that you can place in soil!
I hope you have learned something useful today to help you start your garden. From my home to yours, happy planting!
-Guest post by Kerri Richards
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