Wait until the soil temperature has warmed to at least 65° F to 70° F (usually two weeks after the last frost date; I use a soil thermometer like this to measure when my garden is ready) and nighttime temperatures are constantly above 45° F. There are certain seeds (such as peas and lettuce) that germinate at much lower temperatures, but their growth will be slower at first. Fast-growing lettuce is a spring staple, as leafy greens thrive in cold climates. Varieties include iceberg (the most robust and durable lettuce, but also the softest), romaine lettuce, butterhead lettuce, and leaf lettuce.
Butterhead lettuces are classified as Boston or Bibb types, and their soft, flexible leaves are ideal for lettuce cup recipes. Leaf lettuce comes in red, green, and oak types, and young leaves are often found in bagged baby salad greens (usually labeled as mesclum or spring mixes). Lettuce ripens about a month after germination, but can be harvested earlier in the baby's stage. With the wide variety of lettuce available, it can be overwhelming trying to choose what to grow.
Small, delicate lettuce seeds require light to germinate, so they should be spread lightly on the ground and watered (without being covered by soil). Sometimes I rake them with a hand cultivator (like this one) to make sure they are embedded in the soil and don't fly or wash off. The best practice for growing lettuce and maintaining a consistent harvest throughout the season is to sow one or two pinches of lettuce seeds every two weeks. In fact, you can eat the leaves of all brassicas, including kohlrabi, cauliflower, and cabbage (those big outer leaves, not just the well-shaped heads).
Brassicas are crops that are cut and returned, which means you can harvest a few leaves at a time from each plant, every few days, and it will continue to grow. Spring radishes are the babies of the group, and what we commonly know as salad radishes. They are usually eaten raw and are known for having a spicy touch, but they can also be grilled, braised, or sautéed, which softens their spicy flavor. As one of my best options for a foolproof beginner crop (and my favorite crop for interplanting among slow-growing vegetables), spring radishes sprout in a couple of days and ripen in as little as three weeks.
I put chard and beets in the same heading because although they are different varieties of plants, they come from the same plant family (Beta vulgaris) and share a similar flavor profile. Chard and beet seeds germinate in less than a week and plants mature in 50 to 65 days, although either can be harvested early. Once the seedlings are at least 4 inches tall, root them on one plant every 6 to 12 inches (and save the thinning for salads). Legume seeds germinate in a couple of days and plants mature in 60 to 70 days.
Ripening, in these cases, is the point at which the pods are ready for harvest. This is a variety where you can even start planting before the last frost date, when the soil is at least 45°F, but I don't normally recommend it, as excessive moisture from melting snow or spring rains can cause seeds to settle in soggy soil and rot. Even if you choose to grow beans, it's always worth planting a small row of shrub beans because they ripen a little faster (in about 50 to 55 days). Sow the seeds one inch deep and cover them with soil.
Peas and beans will need a trellis to climb, since vines can reach more than 6 feet in length. Fragrant basil is one of the easiest herbs to start from seed (see my previous post on the challenges of germinating parsley seeds) and, once planted, self-seeds freely if allowed. It's also very easy to take cuttings and re-grow basil from the stems, so you can divide a single plant into several plants without having to start with more seeds. When left to bloom, basil is very attractive to pollinators, making it an excellent choice as a complementary crop between cucumbers, pumpkins and fruit trees.
I usually keep one of each type of basil plant in my garden (sweet, spicy, citrus, a special variety like cinnamon and my perennial African blue basil), and I spread a few more around the yard on my ornamental beds, just because of their flowers. Basil planted in the aisles will release an intoxicating scent when you rub them. This same scent also helps repel flies, gnats and mosquitoes, so plant some basil near your windows. If you don't know which variety to grow, try a “basil mix” package that includes a mix of seed varieties and foliage colors.
To sow, spread the seeds and cover lightly with soil. In my experience, they take 5 to 10 days to germinate (the warmer the soil, the faster they will germinate). Plant maturity is reached in 60 to 80 days, and although basil seedlings develop slowly and steadily in the cooler spring weather, they really go wild once daytime temperatures soar to 80°F. With the exception of certain varieties that can be left on vines longer for healing and storage such as winter squash (such as the Climbing Zucchino), summer pumpkins are compact shrub varieties that do not produce vines that stand upright and only occupy an area of 3 feet by 3 feet.
Summer squash takes 60 days to harvest, although baby squash can be harvested as soon as a week after flowering. If you find that your pumpkins are rotting or falling off before they start growing, try transplanting flowers to improve pumpkin pollination. Sow seeds approximately 1 inch deep and lightly cover them with soil. As a warm-climate crop, summer squash germinates best when the soil is nice and toasted.
You'll get decent germination in our initial target seed range of 65° F to 70° F, but the fastest (and close to 100 percent) germination at soil temperatures of 80° F or higher, with seeds sprouting in just a few days at that time. Cucumbers belong to the same family as squash, so their growth needs are similar. They grow best in hot weather, but the seeds germinate in our magic range of 65° F to 70° F. Sow the seeds 1 inch deep and cover them with soil.
In less than a week, the first seedlings will emerge. With the exception of Mexican sour pickles (which are often grouped with cucumbers because of their cucumber-like flavor, but which in fact belong to a completely different genus, Melothria), cucumbers (Cucumis) are large plants. Your final garden space should be 6 inches apart for a prolific harvest. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas are good options for saving seeds.
They have flowers that self-pollinate and seeds that require little or no special treatment before storage. Others, such as chicory, tend to grow when transplanted, so direct seeding is still the best planting method. Growing plants from seed is a great way to start growing plants earlier in the season. With the right light and simple equipment, it's easy to grow from seed to harvest.
Most consumers are familiar with The Home Depot as a one-stop shop for home repair, renovation and improvement. They also have a decent garden section. If you're working on multiple projects in your home and just want to place an order, The Home Depot is a great place to do so. In addition, they have physical stores, so returns are generally easier than online-only retailers.
If you are looking for a large selection of flower seeds, American Meadows is the choice for you. While they only carry seeds that will produce flowering plants, their sister company, Landreth's Garden Seeds, has what you need for vegetables and herbs. For those looking to plant wildflower varieties that are beneficial to their local ecosystem, American Meadows provides a guide to seeds by region, by benefit, and by growing condition. The company favors the cultivation of flowers that are good for the local ecosystem, such as native plants and those that attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
To take the overall natural aesthetic of your home and garden to new heights, popular retailer Terrain has seed kits, gifts, decor and furniture to make your garden a new oasis. Popular options include seeds to attract pollinators, cut flower seeds, orchard seeds, seed patches, and seed paper. Terrain seed products make a great gift, so many of them are packaged and ready to give to your friends and family. That said, these packaged seeds cost more than many others (and are only available in pre-set kits and products).
Offering seeds for more than 140 years, this experienced company is a staple in the seed world. While you can find Burpee seeds at many other retailers, the largest variety comes directly from the company itself. Seeds are organized by vegetables, flowers, herbs, perennials, herbs, fruits, relics and organic products. You can find multiple varieties of each, as well as the type of growth and conditions they prefer.
If you enter your growing area (don't worry, Burpee can let you know if you're not sure), you can also find out exactly when to plant each seed. For those who must start indoors, that information is also included. Harvest instructions and tips are also provided, along with a helpful tip center that will provide something for both new and experienced gardeners. While the design of the website isn't particularly impressive, your garden is sure to be burpee seed.
Courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange For the gardener who wants to help preserve traditional varieties, Seed Savers Exchange does just that with the help of amateur gardeners, professional farmers, and everyone in between. You can participate in the exchange by providing seeds and obtaining new seeds or placing an order through their catalog for your own garden. There are some limits on orders and quantities, depending on availability. The mission of Seed Savers Exchange is always to preserve plant varieties, which requires some seeds to be saved and stored.
Dig In — Most Seed Packs Describe Depth. The general rule is to plant at a depth equal to three times the diameter of the seed. Some seeds require light to germinate and must rest on top of the soil. Press these seeds firmly against the ground with a board or trowel to ensure moisture cradles the seeds.
Fortunately, there are many, many more types of edible annuals that can be sown directly compared to the amount that should be started as a transplant, so it's quite easy to plant most of your garden directly from seed, especially if you choose to grow a wide variety of vegetables. For the gardener who wants to help preserve heirloom varieties, Seed Savers Exchange does just that with the help of amateur gardeners, professional farmers, and everyone in between. Your purchase will provide you with high-quality seeds and support school gardening programs in the United States. Another powerful seed supplier, Eden Brothers has flower seeds, wildflower seed mixes, vegetable seeds, herb seeds, heirloom seeds, organic seeds, flowering bulbs, and perennials.
You can find seeds available at your local garden center or hardware store, but traditional retailers generally only sell the most popular and well-known varieties. You can learn more about the other farmers and gardeners who use Johnny's Selected Seeds, including what they love about the seeds and the company. Roots, leaves and seed pods are edible, so don't worry if you leave some plants in the ground too long, you can harvest radish seed pods and use them for salads or pickles. Seeds from biennial crops, such as carrots or beets, are more difficult to save, since plants need two growing seasons to produce seeds.
No gardening tools, gifts, or decor offered, making this the company of choice for a seed purist. Hybrid seeds (typically labeled F-1 by seed companies) refer to two plants that are intentionally cross-pollinated by humans to create desired qualities, such as sweet taste, high yield, disease resistance, or heat tolerance. If you plant your garden with hybrids and then save the seeds of those plants, the next generation may or may not have the same traits they started with. While not all open pollinated seeds are relics, all heirloom seeds are classified as open pollinated and are passed down from generation to generation as part of a cultural heritage.
But are you sure you know which seeds can go directly to your garden soil and which ones will work best if you start them indoors?. .