Monday, March 1, 2010

Muddy Monday Preppy Gardening Feature

Many thanks to sweet AEOT (of the blog Up North Preppy), for suggesting that I do some posts with gardening tips! I am forever looking for blog ideas so if any of ya'll have suggestions or things you want to know send them my way!

First of all, let me say I am a novice gardener at best. I do love to garden, but because I still have so much to learn it's a lot of trial and error around our yard and garden. This year we will probably be scaling back the gardening, especially when it comes to flowering plants. As much as I like to have a pretty flower bed, I just can't justify spending a bunch of money on a yard in a rental home we'll be leaving in July. 

Okay, so today's Muddy Monday Gardening Tip is on when to start seeds indoors. Last year we did a combination of starting our own seeds, and buying 3 inch plants from the garden store. We bought plants that were common/easy to find (basil, beef tomatoes, jalapenos), and we started from seed others that were harder to find, broccoli, corn, carrots.

So, first of all find out what coldness hardiness zone you are in. If you are in Austin you are zone 8 b.

To find out what the hardiness zone for your state is visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This website will also give you suggestions of plants that will do well in your state.

When considering which seeds to grow, it is important to understand if something will grow outdoors in your area. A simple google search will help answer this question, and most seed packs also tell you what zone the seed is acceptable for.

Find out what your average last frost date is by going to the victory seed website.

Then you use this information to determine when you want to plant your seeds indoors. Lets use a tomato for example. You want the plants to be at least 2 inches tall before transplanting them outside. It is recommended you wait until at least two weeks after your last average frost date to plant your seedlings outside (and also to directly sow seeds outside), so you'll count backwards from the average frost date. In Austin, that date is 3/21, which means I will want to sow my plants outside at around 4/5. It will take a tomato seed about 6 weeks to grow from seed to a 2 inch plant. But keep in mind the warmer the temperature the faster the germination, the colder the temperature the slower the germination. We sow our seeds in the garage where it is warmer than outside, but colder than inside our house, and this does slow down the germination of the seedling.

Living in Austin, if I'm hoping to plant my seedlings outdoors around 4/5 then I should have sown my seeds about two weeks ago. I did not, but we'll also be traveling at the beginning of April, so I'm fine not transplanting my seedlings until around 4/14. I will be sowing my indoor seeds this week!

For those of you up north you still have a few weeks before you need to be ready to sow your seedlings indoors, but take this time to decide what plants you want to grow from seed. And familiarize yourself with your hardiness zone and your last frost date!

Next Week's Muddy Monday will explain how to sow seeds indoors...


Keri said...

Great tips...I wish I had a yard. My family always plants an amazing garden and I usually end up stealing many of their delish vegies. You should take some pics of your garden when it gets going so we can see :)

Bella Michelle said...

I seeing all the gardening posts pop up in blogland and I know I am going to miss gardening this year (as we are transitioning to our new locale). You must post on your adventures!