A tutorial – starting seeds. by a non-expert

This post has been updated, and moved to my new blog. See it here:
Start Some Garden Seeds – a tutorial, Part 1

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13 Responses to A tutorial – starting seeds. by a non-expert

  1. Bebe says:

    that last photo is wonderful! i don’t start my seeds, but this is a great explanation!

  2. Gina says:

    This. Is. Awesome!!! I know nothing about gardening or planting stuff!! Did i ever tell you a couple years ago Chad and I wanted to do a garden and didn’t want to spend a ton of money so we bought seed packets and Chad Just scattered them all over the dirt and we just prayed something would come up! Haha!! We probably used like 10 different seed packs for all sorts of stuff. We harvested one teeny tiny carrot though that we found in the late late summer, LOL!! I love learning about this and hope to do it someday!! Thanks!!

  3. Donalyn says:

    Thanks Bebe – it’s going to be awhile before we see tomatoes that look like that again!

    Gina – we both grew up in families that gardened, but our early efforts we not very impressive either. Start out small and increase it as you figure out the best way to do things. Our garden seems to get bigger every year – it is about 2000 square feet now, with plans to plow up a bit more this spring.

  4. Gina says:

    My dad aways had a garden but he gets plants from my uncle, who is a connoisseur of gardening. His garden is like an acre and he has his own green house, he is a medical doctor, gardening is just his hobby. I wish i wouldve paid more attention as a child. I will probably see if I can get some stuff from him this year and do the double P, plant and pray! :-D. I have a couple questions, When should I start planting things in the ground this year? And if my uncle doesn’t use pesticides does that mean the plants are organic? If he does use pesticides, do they sell organic plants at nurseries?

  5. Gina says:

    And what dies hybrid and heirloom mean? Thanks!!!

  6. Gina says:

    I just am very interested in learning and you know so much & your blog is so resourceful! They should have a dlynz blog app, i’d download it, as I’m sure would many others! Im very lucky also that shirley knows alot and gardened all chads life so im sure she will be very helpful when I start as well! :)

  7. Donalyn says:

    Hi Gina – happy to help if I can.

    You put things in the ground – for the most part anyway – after your last frost date. That varies a lot from one place to another, but you can probably find it by Googling “last frost date” and your zip code. There are exceptions, like peas and onions, for example, but for the majority of your garden, it will die if it gets frosted, so you need to have that info.

    Organic does usually mean grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. We go organic as much as we can, but if we had an emergency situation where we were obviously going to lose something unless we took drastic steps, we would find the least problematic solution. Some nurseries do sell organic plants. The fact is though, even a plant that wasn’t started organically, has little chance of passing anything “chemical” along in it’s eventual fruit, so long as you don’t use any chemicals as it is growing. That is my opinion – I am sure there are plenty of people who would never buy anything but organic plants.

    Heirloom varieties are plants that have come from seeds that have only ever come from a single plant or cultivar. Hybrid plants have been cross-bred, using multiple “parent” plants to produce certain characteristics. The seeds from an heirloom tomato will only ever produce that exact same tomato, whereas the seeds from a hybrid will not produce the same tomato, but instead will produce a plant that has qualities of the parent plants in its ancestry. This is done to breed in a lot of different things – fast growth, fruit a certain size or flavor and resistance to prevalent diseases, and even insects.

    As with the practical considerations of organic husbandry, using heirlooms brings up practical considerations. Do I want to have a better chance of having enough tomatoes to get me through the winter? If so, in our area at least, I’m not willing to gamble on the heirlooms. I might have some – in beds away from my main crop of tomatoes, because not only can they die from various blights, but they can bring those organisms to my other tomatoes too. If I lived in an areas without such a prevalence of these problems, I would likely grow more heirlooms, because they often do taste better. And some heirlooms do better than others – San Marzanos are the paste type tomatoes I grow, and they do well here, producing a very meaty and intensely flavored fruit.

    For a beginning gardener, I would probably suggest a small raised bed in a part of the year where it will get a lot of sunlight, and grow just a few things you really like to get started. You can always expand, but if you struggle with a garden that is too big at the start, you might get discouraged and give up. Gardening is a lot of work, and satisfying though it might be, you want to make sure you are setting reasonable goals for yourself – it gets easier as you learn more. And, the bottom line is that every single year will be a gamble, because SO many things can go wrong. Totally worth it to us though. :)

  8. Gina says:

    Thank you soooo much donalyn!! This is SUPER helpful!!!! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and be such a valuable resource. Starting small is such good advice because I don’t know really all the work it entails and I have three babies that i devote the majority of my time to and Chad works a lot, so maybe just tomatoes and peppers or something like that. Can I ask one other question? Is kale hard to grow? We use a lot of kale and that would be useful to us if we could grow our own. Thank you so very much!

  9. Donalyn says:

    My pleasure Gina – like I said, I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that should keep people from growing their own if they can. Kale is dead easy to grow – it practically grows itself! You direct seed it right into the garden [which mean you don’t have to start the seeds inside] The one caveat to how easy it is to grow is that it is a cool weather crop, growing best in the spring and fall. Our spring crop last year didn’t really slow down all that much, so we let it keep on and ate from it through most of the summer. If you get things going this year, you would want to wait now until probably July to plant it and then you will have right it up until it gets covered with snow. You pick off the larger, outer leaves, letting the middle keep on growing, so a plant can last a long time. This spring, when the snow melted, there were our little kale from last fall, coming up again. I’m going to pick it when we get back from vacation, to see if it is edible still. Kale is a huge favorite of ours too – how do you use it?

  10. Gina says:

    I’m so happy to hear its easy to grow!! And that you know so much about growing it! I can’t wait to attempt it! Kale is like our main leafy green here. We do a lot with it, some ways we use it are in soups, on homemade pizzas to get my one picky eater eat it, juice it, I use it in a recipe that my grandma used to make with green beans and potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and other spices, except I use kale. I would love to hear other ways to use it and your favorite ways to eat it!!

  11. Danny Arch says:

    regardless of your clear skills in the garden you take an amzing phot aswell! do you mind if i use the last image on my blog? of course I will properly referance it back to you and this page.

  12. Pingback: Starting garden seeds, part 2 | dlyn

  13. JK says:

    there is so much good info here – thanks!

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