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Start Your Spring Gardens!

With Imbolc season here, we can start to prepare for our upcoming Spring gardens! Starting seeds indoors or in greenhouses prior to planting in their final Spring garden containers/beds can get you a head start for future production. But what does that look like?

Type of Garden

Gardening doesn't require a huge amount of space, but you have to know how much space you have before spending time on planting seeds. Although each type of gardening has its upsides and downsides, you can find the best one for you!

Container Garden

Personally, I have a half-covered patio, so I only truly have room for planting in containers. Container gardening is a great idea for patios or where you don't have the ability to dig into the ground. Plus, they are incredibly portable, so moving them around when the light changes is simpler.

Raised Bed

If you have the appropriate space, a raised bed gives you that "real" garden feel without the need to dig into the ground. For this, you build on top of the ground, fill it in, and plant in the space. Planting this way requires you to keep in mind the sun you'll get (because you can't move these).


If you're lucky enough to have the workable and amendable soil in your yard, and your yard gets the right amount of sun on it... in-ground gardening just feels right. This does require prepping the space, but hey, people have doing this for ages!

What to Plant

Ok, so now you know the space you have, but what about what to put in those spaces? The vegetable/fruit/herb/flower/etc you want to plant depends on the space available and the amount of light you get... as well as the season and planting/transplanting timeframes.

Yeah, it can seem a bit complicated with SO many options out there. So here are some considerations when selecting the garden plants you want to grow:

  • Space requirements: If you look at the seed packet or information online, you'll see how much vertical and horizontal space the adult plant needs to effectively get nutrients/water and room for their roots and leaves. For example, one radish plant won't require as much space as one tomato plant.

  • Sunlight requirements: Most "producing" plants require a ton of light for photosynthesis and veggie/fruit production. This can be upwards of 8 hours of direct sunlight per day! Definitely consider how much light your garden space gets before selecting your seeds to plant.

When to Plant

Different regions are in different "Zones" when it comes to planting schedules. For example, planting a tomato plant in an in-ground garden in Texas in December will ensure the first big freeze will knock that seedling out.

Check out this resource for learning more about hardiness zones and which one you are in (takes you to a different site): USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Once you know your hardiness zone, you can start to look at individual planting schedules for each plant type for your garden.

How to Plant

There are a few ways to plant your seeds. I LOVE starting seedlings indoors before transplanting after the last "freeze" of the year into my main containers... but some plants are difficult to transplant and do better with direct sowing. Keep in mind the type of plant you are looking to start and whether direct sowing or transplanting is best.

Indoor Starts for Seedlings

The term "indoor" can refer to literally in your home, in a greenhouse, in an outdoor area, etc. The main point of this is to begin the seeds and grow them to a "seedling" (a young plant with several leaves) age during colder weather before moving them to their adult containers/beds. Keep in mind the light needs for this, as well as a heat mat that serves as a great way to germinate the seeds.

Many garden centers sell seedlings or more mature plants for transplanting in your gardens, but I love seeing the whole process from start to finish. :P

Depending on your situation, some herbs can stay indoors all year round! Make sure they get enough light, though!

Direct Sowing in Garden

Some plants -- such as radishes, lettuces, carrots, beets, etc -- are more sensitive to transplanting, so waiting until the right time to plant the seeds directly in the garden (containers, raised bed, in-ground, etc) will be best.

Technically, ALL seeds can be directly sown, but starting some of them indoors can give your plants a head start for earlier production!

What's Next?

After starting your seeds, you want to consider the following:

  • Moisture: The soil where your seeds are germinating needs to remain moist, but not soggy. Bottom watering (adding water to the bottom of a tray and letting them soak up water, then dumping out the excess) can help ensure proper watering.

    • Note: With the humidity dome, it's unlikely you'll need to water prior to the seeds sprouting. Take the lid off after sprouting, but make sure to keep the soil conditions moist and not waterlogged.

  • Warmth: Heat mats are fantastic sources of warmth for your germinating seeds. I highly highly recommend it, as it simulates the warmth of Spring that tells seeds to sprout!

  • Light: Once the seeds germinate and sprout, you'll see two little first leaves, called the cotyledons. After those, the "true leaves" will start to grow and will require a lot of light. Keep the light within a few inches of the leaves.

    • Note: You can give the growing seedlings direct sunlight, but be cautious of the strength of it. I recommend grow lights.

  • Ventilation: Air flow is super important for your indoor seedlings to help prevent mold and root rot from overwatering. Small fans work well! Remember, as SOON as the seeds sprout and yearn for light, you can remove the humidity domes.

Transplanting Seedlings

Once the last freeze passes and your garden containers/beds are ready for the babies, you'll want to transplant them! I'll be covering that in the next months! :D

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