I am so excited that the threat of frost is almost past us here in Southern California, and that means, “Seed Starting Time!”
Check your frost dates here: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates
In the past, I would get fanatical and start my seeds a hair too soon, only to have a surprise visit from “Jack Frost,” who proceeded to annihilate my adorable little seedlings. I then would try to outsmart Him by starting indoors, on every available windowsill, hutch and table inside my home. That all went bad as well, considering that my house is small and any available space is, well… not available! To make matters worse, my cats thought that I put the sproutlings there for them. Ugh!!!!
So I set a goal to make a re-purposed greenhouse, out of almost 100% recycled materials. I gathered discarded vinyl fencing, pallets, reclaimed slider door windows, bricks, salvaged 2x4s, screws and some left over 6 mil clear plastic that I had laying around from a cabinet refinishing job. Here is a preview of my greenhouse – I hope you love it!
Now that my greenhouse is in working order, it’s on to choosing my seeds. This is a daunting task, because I am a “Seed Junkie,” not just a “Seed Saver,” a “Seed Junkie!” I see, collect and save seeds wherever I go. My husband laughs at me, because I have seed cups all around my kitchen. I don’t just have 50 or so different types of seeds, I have hundreds of different types. Click the video below if you would like to see my “Seed Prepping for My 2019 Garden” vlog.
Here are some of my favorite seed affiliate companies are:
I can’t forget the Baker Creek catalog (whom I am not an affiliate of).
And Siskiyou Seed Company: Siskiyou Seeds!
Once your last frost date is established, now is time for the fun stuff.
1. What would you like to plant? Pick out what you want to plant. This can be tougher than you think, at least it is for me (remember “Seed Junkie!”)
These are 2 of my most favorite tomatoes – flavor and yield are awesome!
2. What grows well in your area? This is very important and will save you a lot of heartache when the watermelons that you were looking so forward to shrivel up in the 117 degree desert heat. Be realistic. In turn, you may discover some zone appropriate plants that make gardening extra fun – because they thrive in your zone.
Check your zone:
3. How much room do you have for a garden? I have a tendency to over-plant. Check to see how much room your seedling are going to require to yield a beautiful crop. For example: Zucchini needs between 24″- 46″ between plants, and 18″ – 48″ between rows.
On that note, if you are water conscious or live in a drought zone like me, be sure to check how much water your plants require, and consider a watering system like a drip system. Also, if you have a small space, consider growing vertically:
4. How much time do you have to garden? Timing is everything. Be realistic when it comes to setting up your garden. If you work 9 to 5, 5 days a week, don’t over commit, garden within your time ability. To help with time limitations, create a schedule for watering, weeding, feeding and pest management. Not planning can be detrimental. Take it from me, I have forgotten to water before work during the heat of summer and come home to stressed out, sun scorched plants. I have also been so busy with my career that I didn’t pay attention to pest management and ended up with a harvest of tomato horn worms rather than tomatoes… true story.
Closing thoughts – and my final tip: I hope this has inspired you to plant something. Here is the final and most essential tip: HAVE FUN! We have been gardening since the creation of mankind, in fact, it was our first given job (besides “Be fruitful and multiply.”) If you mess up, chock that up for “lessons learned.” I still try new ways to garden and still mess up – trial and error. I keep what works for me and discard what doesn’t. That is how every gardener has learned – even the best of them. Remember, gardening isn’t just good for producing food and flowers, it’s good for our bodies as well. We get Vitamin D from being out in the sun (wear a hat though), gardening is good for our muscles and being outside is a mood lifter, and mind quieter (FREE THERAPY!). When I need to process my thoughts I go out and weed, seed or water.
Blessings and Happy Gardening – Ann