The best news you are about to hear today is that Spring is on its way!
I can hear all of you jumping for joy and I don’t blame you. Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and bright days. We all need to know that a new season is here, whether you are in the North or the South! Northerners are most eagerly awaiting that seasonal change. They can put away their “SAD” lamps and get on with living normally.
What it means for the home gardener is that all those dreams and plans you have been making in the coldest of months can now become a reality.Just don’t get carried away with planting all kinds of seeds just yet.
When it’s early in the growing season (like February) it’s a great time to dig out your Garden Journal from last year! You did make one, didn’t you? If you didn’t, you really missed a great opportunity to see what worked in your garden and what didn’t work. Maybe you took pictures instead? That works too. Go back through the pictures you took. You can see how the plants that you grew actually ended up looking as the season went on.
Keeping a Journal
If you have never kept a journal or a photo diary of your garden before, I would highly recommend that you do that this year. Start in the spring and keep writing notes until October or November. Gardening is a great hobby, but if you want to take it to the next level, you need to do some work. Journal what you plant, when you plant it, and where you plant it. Then as the spring season continues start taking pictures so that you have a written as well as a visual of how your garden is growing. You think you will remember, but trust me, you won’t! Having the changes in the garden written down is like having a gardener’s Bible. Not only that but when your family wants to buy you a lovely gift (for Easter or Mother’s day), it’s right there for them a new Journal for 2017.
Hold on just a minute, I know you are just itching to get your hands in the ground, but it really is too early to plant a lot of seeds. Unless you have a greenhouse and a lighting system and a heating system in place, I would not start planting seeds just yet.
So when can I start Planting?
That is a great question and the answer may disappoint you, but, I will have to say, it depends! Springtime for sure, but not too early!
Do you have a window sill for growing your seeds or do you have heat mats and grow lights?
One of the best ways to start growing seeds indoors is to invest in some heat mats and grow lights. What are they? Heat mats are exactly what they sound like, usually waterproof they sit underneath your potted seedlings to provide a certain amount of warmth to the soil so that your seedlings will indeed germinate and grow. Our homes are much too cool for most seeds to get a good start, especially if you are starting in March or April. Even the length of daylight hours are not enough to help seeds grow strong and compact. That’s why you will need a grow light or two. Seedlings need a certain amount of bottom heat and a certain amount of light in order to grow well. Oh, you can plant seeds and have them come up through the ground, but they will become very leggy and fall over long before it’s time to plant them outdoors. That would be a disappointment for sure.
Don’t do that to yourself. If you are determined to grow some seeds in early spring, then be prepared with the heat mats and grow lights. Then grow only a few seeds of each kind, in case you need to try again. Follow the instructions with the heat mats and the grow lights for optimum growth of your seedlings and then watch them flourish.
I love being able to plant my own seeds that I have kept from the previous year. Sometimes they are a real nice surprise. I let the bees openly pollinate my flowers, so they may not come true like the year before. So there is always a surprise waiting for me.
New Trends in Gardening always interest me. Hydroponics or Aquafarming were a couple of topics that I was reading about. I have a small pond in my yard, so this year I will try floating pots. They work on the same principles of Aquafarming. They should work very nicely, as the water that the fish swim in gets filtered by the plant’s roots. Natural Fish Fertilizer for the plants should make them grow quite well and because the plants are taking up all the nitrogen in the fish waste, the water for the fish should be clearer too.
I will make notes about how this works in my garden journal so that I will know right away whether to continue this practice or not. Taking pictures will help me visually see what is growing well in those floating pots. Depending on my seed reserves I may try some flowers in some and maybe some herbs in another and vary what is growing in my floaters. It will be one of my experiments this year.
The other experiment I am going to try this year is the growing bags. I have several friends that swear this is the best thing to happen in the garden. It also helps with not having to bend down quite so far. After all my back isn’t as young as it once was. Again I will use these for my tomatoes and maybe some peppers and beans. Lettuce and greens for salads would work well I’m sure, so I will try this and hopefully, these grow bags will work well and save me some added bending and stooping. I could handle that.
So now that you are ready with your must have list let’s get cracking and grow some seeds for our Garden of 2017!