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A Year In the Garden, Part 2

Spring has definitely sprung in NY and it seems the rest of the country too. I don’t have any confidence it will stay this warm (who ever heard of 85° in March in NY?), but it’s made me want to continue with my seeds indoors and plan out the full garden so I can plant outside as soon as it is warm for good.

Last time I talked about garden planning, buying seeds and thinking about what I want to grow. Plans in hand, it’s time to start some plants indoors that need extra growing time, like tomatoes and peppers. We eat a lot of salads and red sauce, so we like a variety of both of these yummy veggies.

Starting seeds indoors can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. I know some that have grow lamps and a mini indoor greenhouse. Those are very handy if you don’t have a lot of light. I am lucky and have French doors in the kitchen that provide lots of light for my seeds and young plants.

In year’s past, I have started seeds in just about every kind of container you can think of. I love the pints that blueberries and cherry tomatoes come in since they have drainage holes in them already and lots of room for roots to develop. Yogurt containers also make great seed starter containers, just make sure to poke some holes in the bottom before planting. This year though I did buy a seed starting planter. It was on sale and I was drawn to its self-watering capabilities. Watering is my weak spot, I tend to forget and with seedlings that can mean easy death to young plants. It even has a handy paper grid for marking what seed is where so I won’t forget what I’ve planted.

Planting in this, or any other container, is easy. Just make sure you have garden soil or peat to start the seeds in, that they have plenty of drainage, and that you mark your seeds as to not forget what you’ve planted (unless you want to surprise yourself later!). Add soil to the container, push the seed into the soil about an inch down and then water from below. If I plant in yogurt containers and the like, I sit those in a larger container or bin and fill that with about an inch of water, giving the planters a chance to draw water up from below, giving the seeds a continuous amount of moisture for germination.

I’ve planted 4 kinds of tomatoes and 3 kinds of peppers and they are coming along very nicely indeed. Makes me excited for the coming weeks when I plant the cool weather crops outdoors, like the spinach and lettuces!

Kristi Ashley is a homeschooling mom of three who spends time in the garden or hiking nearby her Hudson Valley, New York home. She is fabric artist, amateur photographer, scrapbooker and avid reader. Find her work and blog at Tickety Bu.

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