There are few things more magical or rewarding than a seed that you have planted, growing, and then producing food. As plant enthusiasts we have all experienced this but typically chose not to grow our plants this way. Maybe it’s a lack of time, or space, or even those pesky deer that have gotten us away from growing a garden from seed. Either way it’s time to get back to our roots and start growing again.
There are so many benefits to starting with seeds. One of the biggest benefits is that it is less expensive than planting transplants or buying your food at the market. A packet of seeds might only cost you a dollar but can produce food that if purchased at the store would cost so much more.
It is also a great to know where your food comes from and precisely what has been used to treat it. With the cocktail of chemicals that are used on many fruits and vegetables today it’s more important than ever to be paying attention to what we are eating. If you are concerned about pests and diseases there are plenty of natural and organic treatments available and we would be happy to help you find just what you need for your situation.
Personally, I love being able to find the precise variety that I want to grow and having many different choices of seeds that are not offered as transplants in the garden center. This year I plan to try actually saving some of my seeds for replanting next spring. Some of the local garden groups will have seed exchanges that you can bring your labeled unused seeds to and trade for other seeds that you want to try growing. These events are usually held in March and April so watch your local paper for updates.
It’s that time of year where you will want to be starting your garden seeds indoors. Plants like tomatoes and peppers take the longest to grow in our climate so they need to be started before most others. Broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower should also be started soon. Beans, peas and cucumber can be directly sown into your garden but if you want to give them a head start plant them indoors 4-5 weeks before the last average frost date.
It’s important to keep your new seeds warm. Make sure that the temperature of the soil you are startingthem in is above 70 degrees and has proper drainage. You want to keep the seeds moist to germinate but too much water will cause them to rot or dampen off. We have found that covering the tray with plastic wrap helps regulate the temperature and moisture. Soon it will be time to move your young plants to their outdoor home for the summer, just make sure you are watching the weather and are prepared in a case of frost. We wouldn’t want anything to happen after all of your hard work.
If you don’t have a garden space or you don’t think that you have enough sun to properly grow a garden you should consider a community garden plot. Many local communities have community gardens and will rent out plots for a small fee. The Lakeland Community Garden has space in both Minocqua and Woodruff and Northland Pines Community Garden in Eagle River is located near the high school. If you want to know if your community has a garden check with your local gardening groups, at the library or the chamber.
It’s always a fun experience walking through our gardens and tending them as they grow and produce for us. I love going into our home garden after work and deciding what will make it to our table that night for the evening meal. Even though I know the work that has gone into those plants and their care it still seems magical that such a thing can grow from a tiny seed. It’s always inspiring to me and make me want to grow more, and more the following year.