A lot of people do not think about starting their garden until they feel the warmth of the spring sun. But, if you get started now, in February, you will enjoy good food faster. Now, I know that this is too early for some climate zones, but if you can start seeds indoors, or if you have some form of protection, then you can get started today.
This past week I planted beets in the hoop house and the spinach I planted the week before has sprouted. The lettuce is starting, but I used sand, instead of compost, to cover the seeds and I may have gotten too much cover on them. A few are starting up, so we will see.
It has been very cool some mornings, so the ground inside the hoop house might be a bit unfriendly for sprouting lettuce. I am going to plant a few broccoli and cauliflower this week. You can’t grow anything if you do not get the seed in the ground.
What do you need to start your seeds? Can you start some of your seed inside? Most seeds can be stated in normal house hold temperatures, like on top of the refrigerator. How can you tell what your seeds need to sprout? Look at your seed packet or the seed catalog where you ordered the seed, they should tell you how to get the seed started.
We have already talked about using some type of cover, like row cover or a plastic barrier to cover your new seedlings. If you think that is too complicated let me give you a boost.
The best way to do this is to build a raised bed. That is not as hard as it sounds. All you need is few boards and a handful of screws…and some soil. You can make a raised bed out of most anything that will hold the soil together.
To use wood boards, just get two boards 1 X 6 inches by 12 feet, or any dimensions depending on your circumstance. Cut 4 feet off each board and nail these two boards on the ends of the remaining 8 foot boards and you have a raised bed. Just add soil. You can make a raised be any size to fit your needs.
Now, to make your raised bed into a hoop house get 4 lengths of ½ inch plastic pipe 8 foot long and push one end in the ground at each end of the raised bed, along the side, and the other two space out in the middle, about 3 feet apart. Bend the pipe over the bed and push the other end into the soil on the other side of the bed.
Cover the pipes with a piece of plastic long enough to go to the ground on both sides and both ends. Weight the sides down with heavy objects to hold it in the wind and the ends can be held by a stake in the ground, or a couple of heavy rocks. What you use for weights need to be moveable, so you can raise it during the day to keep it from getting too hot and to care for the plants.
You will want to water carefully, so that the plants do not dry out. I like to cover my seeds with compost to hold down damping off, a disease that attacks new seedlings. All I do is sprinkle enough fine compost to cover the seed to the proper depth and moisten.
Now, start planting. The fun part of gardening is to experiment. See how early you can get started. Every year will be different. Try new varieties and save some of your own seed. Don’t worry about losing a few plants once-in-awhile. If you keep planting, at intervals, you will have some very good plants for your garden. Have fun with your gardening project, instead of just another job to be done.
Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century. Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul. It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.
Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family. Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.