Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Humble Beginnings of a Year's Supply of Food

I couldn't be more excited! Yesterday marked the real beginning of spring for me.  We began the joyful process of planting our vegetable garden for the year.   There will be many more beds put in before the end of May but somehow the first planting always seems the most important to me.

For our first planting, I am careful to not plant anything that might be damaged by a light frost.   And because I'm planting a little earlier than I probably should for our zone, I never plant all of my seed supply at once.

Beware the Frost!~
 I view this first planting as my "gamble" crop!  We've had such warm weather, it seems unlikely that we'll have a freeze.  But, the possibility exists of a late season hard freeze

What to Plant Now?

So far, we've planted Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Snap Peas, Carrots and Cilantro.  My Tomatoes and Peppers are started inside along with some Winter Squash.  

Misc. Planting Tips ~

~For those of us who haven't started veggies from seed inside before, you will want to "sun" your starter plants outside as often as possible (weather permitting).  Taking them outside not only gives better sunlight, the breeze helps strengthen the stalks.  Just remember to bring them back in for the cold nights!

My strong young man, working very hard to help put the
garden in!
~When direct seeding into your garden, remember to plant your seed at a depth in proportion to it's size.  You wouldn't want to plant a tiny lettuce seed an inch deep.  It wouldn't likely germinate. 
On the other hand, you wouldn't want to plant a green bean seed too shallow or birds might help themselves to your seeds. 

You might also find that a heavy rain has washed away your garden to a different location! 

Don't forget to take your baby plants out each sunny day
to give them a little extra sun and to "harden" them
in preparation for transplanting.  I think the breeze is
good for strengthening them!
 ~When planting, first loosen the soil with a hoe or rake, removing any weeds or grass roots from the area that you intend on planting.  Gently level the soil with your hand or a rake. 

~Place your seeds appropriately spaced and at the proper depth.  I like to leave the holes open until I'm completely done so that I can see where I've planted. 

~Lightly cover your seeds with soil and gently "firm" the soil with your hand by patting the garden bed.   A gentle watering will begin the germination process.  Deep watering at consistent intervals is more appropriate once your plants are established but until they have germinated, it is better to keep the soil moist with a light watering each day.  As always, adjust the frequency of watering based on factors such as wind, rain, temperature, etc. 

My sweet girl "helping" in the garden

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like ~

How Much Seed Should You Buy to Feed Your Family For a Year?


  1. You have nice looking soil! I am still waiting to start our garden, it is still cool at times around the mountains and was 29 this morning. Spring does start with the planting.

    1. Thanks Sunnybrook! The soil is pretty good, although there are spots that still need some work. When we moved in there were so many trees ~ nice for shade but not so great for growing vegetables. My husband removed 5 or 6 so we could let the sun shine in.

      We've had nothing lower than 50's at night and I'm so tempted to plant my tomato seedlings. But, we've had that late season freeze more often than not, so I'm holding off just another week or so.

      I'll bet you're itching to start planting too!

  2. I could almost smell the wonderful aroma of soil being worked right through your pictures! I like your terminology "gamble" crop. I think all of us dyed-in-the-wool gardeners just HAVE to do a little of that each year! We're still far behind you up here in northern MN but as soon as this cold snap (Mother Nature has given us a little return of winter) we're having this week, I'm going to plant some cool weather crops in one of my raised beds and cover it with a cold frame. Come on, salad greens!

    1. Mama Pea, Aren't those first greens precious? Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You know, I think I have some cilantro seeds somewhere. After reading your post, I'm gonna go look for them and plant!

    1. Leigh, You'd think cilantro would grow better in the heat of the summer since it goes so well with tomatoes and peppers but it always seems to thrive in cooler weather, doesn't it? I would like to find a way to preserve the flavor of it better so I can add my own cilantro to my salsa. How do you use cilantro?

  4. Lots of good tips, I think.
    Thank you! :o)

    1. Linda, I hope you can use some of them! I'm not sure if I was giving tips as much as celebrating the beginning of spring :)

  5. Happy sowing! Isn't this just the best time of year?!

  6. Looking good! It's always so exciting to get the garden underway.

    1. Thanks for the visit Linda! I planted some green beans last night. I'll be anxious until the day they pop their little heads through the soil!

  7. As a first time gardener this year, these are really helpful tips. It's still too early for us to begin breaking ground, but we should be able to get our hands dirty in the next couple of weeks.

    1. I'm so happy to hear you are going to grow a garden! I'll be putting together another article soon with practical tips for first time gardeners. I am still learning as I go, finding better, easier ways to garden.

      One book that was so helpful to me in the beginning (that I still refer to) is Back to Basics by Readers Digest. I've included a link to the right to the book. Mine is so worn down, I need to order another one....

      Do let us know how your garden is doing!


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