We have a backyard garden, and I love it. Having the ability to go out the back door and get fresh, totally organic strawberries, snow peas, tomatoes, you name it – it’s great.
In planning the garden each spring, I have several considerations: have I grown the plant before? Was it successful? Is it likely to attract troublesome pests (Japanese Beetles have always overtaken green beans for me)?
A big consideration is whether the crop is worth it economically. For instance, I would not use my valuable garden space to plant potatoes. Potatoes are pretty labor-intensive with digging them up, plus potatoes are cheap to buy. Not worth my time. On the other hand, strawberries are easy to grow (my patch is now over 5 years old and yields a lot), and they’re relatively expensive to buy in the store.
Another consideration is how to plant. Should I buy seeds, or plants? During the past few years I’ve tried getting my tomatoes and peppers started from seeds. I’ve had some make it and others not, but I think it’s worth a try. Consider that a pack of seeds is probably under a dollar and can yield about 30 tomato plants. Around here, 4 tomato plants costs about $1.79. So, clearly I’m ahead financially to grow them from seed if I can.
Growing Vegetables from Seeds
Here in northern Indiana, it’s ideal to start tomatoes and peppers from seed 7 weeks before the last probable frost – which is now.
This week, I put potting mix in a nifty tray I got for a dollar at Menard’s. I put 2 seeds (either tomato or pepper) in each cell, watered, and put the lid on to create a warm, moist environment. They are now on top of the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks until they germinate.
Then, put them in a south window and let them grow. One important tip is not to transplant them directly from the kitchen to the garden – I’ve tried this, and they usually don’t make it. They’re just not used to the bright light, wind, etc. Instead, a couple of weeks before I’m ready to plant them, I will take the tray outside and let it sit for a few hours each day so the plants can acclimate to the outdoors.
What plants have you had success growing from seed?