If your weather is anything like mine, one day it's snow flurries and low temperatures and the next, it's sunshine and 70 degrees. The unpredictability of spring weather makes the idea of starting your summer garden a little intimidating. Most people, me included, start their gardens late in the sowing season and miss out on some great months of fresh produce and herbs. My mom is a certified Master Gardener, and so I've had a little extra help in the gardening department, but you can do this with just a few materials and an hour. If only we all had a little greenhouse at home that we could start getting those green babies ready for the ground after frost...
- garden spade
- 5 oz plastic solo cups or paper cups
- selection of seeds (check expiration date)
- large plastic storage container with lid
Step 1: Pick the Right Seeds
Start by organizing which seeds you will be planting and how many of each you would like. Be sure to read the back of the seed packet for sowing season. For example, now is not the time for me to plant corn; enter your zip code for your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. According to the USDA, "Zone maps are tools that show where various permanent landscape plants can adapt." In other words, what will grow best where you live and how. In Georgia, we are in zone 7, and the best things to plant right now are herbs and peppers, but you can expand based on what you feel comfortable with.
Step 2: Label
After selecting how many of each you would like to plant, you should go ahead and label the cups with the seed name. Last summer, I started really labeling hard so that I could try different things with the seeds. By doing that, I learned that cilantro, although it is technically a "full sun" herb, grows best in the shade of Georgia summer heat!
Step 3: Fill with Soil
After the cups are labeled, you can fill each with a high quality topsoil like Miracle Grow Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables. At Home Depot, you can find all kinds of organic and rich garden soils. Once you advance in your gardening, you may want to start composting to create your own.
Step 4: Plant the Seeds
Place all of your soil-filled cups in the large plastic storage container. To plant your seeds, you will need to check the seed packet for the hole depth needed (usually ranging from 1/2 inch to 1/8 inch). To make the hole, just gently use your fingertip and indent the soil, drop the seed in, and very lightly cover...do not press the soil down. Spritz water on your baby garden with a light mist spray bottle and place outside in the sun. You can close the lid to maintain humidity and warmth while still allowing the sunlight to feed and germinate the seeds. Also, close the lid if the temperatures are expected to dip to frosting point.
Step 5: Prepare thier Forever Home
Most seeds will germinate in 7-14 days, so get outside and prepare a little plot if you like or make plans to transplant into containers once they emerge.
Step 6: Transplant
Once the sprouts have pushed through the soil and you have some leaves going, they are ready to move into larger containers. Since they are still fragile babies, you will want to keep the soil damp but not soaking daily and keep them out of full sun (at least if you live in a warm climate). Window or filtered light is great and so is a shady porch that may get a few hours of morning or evening sunlight.
Do you have a rockin' garden? Show us your garden greens on Facebook or Instagram #campmakerygreenhouse #campmakery. xo